Bishop Robert J. McManus was born in Providence on July 5, 1951. The son of Edward W. and Helen F. (King) McManus of Narragansett, he is a graduate of Blessed Sacrament School in Providence and Our Lady of Providence Seminary High School.
He studied for the priesthood at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick, The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (bachelor and master of arts degrees), and the Toronto School of Theology (master of divinity degree). He has also earned licentiate and doctoral degrees in sacred theology from The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
After performing a year’s diaconal service at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in East Greenwich, Bishop McManus was ordained to the priesthood there by Bishop Kenneth A. Angell on May 27, 1978. Following ordination, he served as temporary assistant chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital (1978), associate pastor at St. Matthew Parish in Cranston (1978-81) and associate pastor at St. Anthony Parish in Providence (1981-82). From 1982 to 1984 he was the Catholic chaplain at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) in Warwick while continuing in residence at St. Anthony. He pursued advanced studies in theology in Rome from 1984 to 1987. While still in doctoral studies in Rome, he was named director of the diocesan Office of Ministerial Formation on July 1, 1986, and in July 1987 he returned to the diocese and took up residence at St. Luke Parish in Barrington.
Bishop McManus became diocesan Vicar for Education on November 9, 1987 while continuing as director of the Office of Ministerial Formation and in-residence at St. Luke. On October 4, 1990, he assumed the additional duty as theological consultant and editorial writer for The Providence Visitor newspaper. He was appointed a Prelate of Honor to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor on February 28, 1997. He was named rector of Our Lady of Providence Seminary on June 26, 1998 while continuing his duties as Vicar for Education and Director of Ministerial Formation. At the same time he left St. Luke for residence at the seminary and assumed responsibility for weekend assistance at St. Margaret Parish in Rumford. Bishop McManus was ordained as Titular Bishop of Allegheny and Auxiliary Bishop of Providence on February 22, 1999 and he continued to serve as Secretary for Ministerial Formation and Rector of Our Lady of Providence Seminary for some time.
Pope John Paul II named Bishop McManus as the Fifth Bishop of Worcester and he was installed on May 14, 2004. In 2008, he completed his term as the Chairperson of the Committee on Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.