Ordinaries of the Archdiocese of New York
Archbishop John Carroll (1735–1815)
Born in Upper Marlborough, Maryland, John Carroll joined the Society of Jesus in French Flanders in 1753 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1761. Upon the dissolution of the Society in 1773, Carroll returned to Maryland to serve as a secular priest. He supported the cause of the American Revolution along with his cousins Charles and Daniel Carroll (Catholic signers, respectively, of the Declaration and the Constitution). In 1784, he was named “Superior of the Mission in the Thirteen United States.” With the establishment of the American hierarchy in 1789, Carroll was named first bishop of Baltimore, and was consecrated a bishop in England the following summer. Carroll’s diocese covered the entire United States east of the Mississippi River until 1808, when the Dioceses of New York, Philadelphia, Bardstown, and Boston were erected. It was under his leadership that the first Catholic Church was erected in New York State, Saint Peter’s, on Barclay Street in Manhattan.
Bishop Richard Luke Concanen, O.P. (1747–1810)
Born in Roscommon, Ireland, Richard Luke Concanen joined the Order of Preachers in Europe at age seventeen. He would spend most of his life in Rome, assuming high leadership roles within the Dominican order. In 1808, he was named the first bishop of New York and was ordained to the episcopacy in Rome. Departure for New York was delayed by the Napoleonic Wars. In early 1810, Bishop Concanen prepared for departure from Naples. On June 19, 1810, Concanen died suddenly and was buried in an unmarked tomb in the local Dominican parish in the city. On July 1, 1978, Terence Cardinal Cooke dedicated a plaque at the sight of Concanen’s burial.
Bishop John Connolly, O.P. (1747?–1825)
Born in County Meath, Ireland, John Connolly joined the Dominicans at a young age and was ordained in 1774. For the next forty years, he was a teacher and administrator in the Dominican order before being named to succeed Bishop Concanen. In 1814, he was consecrated bishop of New York in Rome, arriving in New York by the end of 1815. His diocese encompassed all of New York State and northeastern New Jersey. A mere four priests served 15,000 Catholics in the vast diocese. During Connolly’s episcopal tenure, the Sisters of Charity arrived in New York from Emmitsburg, Maryland. The number of parishes grew at this time and an orphanage was established. Connolly died on February 6, 1825, and was buried in the crypt of Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Mott Street.
Bishop John Dubois (1764–1842)
Born in Paris and ordained to the priesthood in Paris in 1787, Father Dubois fled the French Revolution, arriving in the United States in 1791. After laboring in the American South for several years, Dubois helped found Mount Saint Mary’s College and Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1808. During his time at Emmitsburg, Father Dubois served as spiritual director to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. In 1826, Dubois was named third bishop of New York (the only non-Irish ordinary in the history of the Archdiocese). By the end of Dubois’s episcopate the New York Diocese boasted over 200,000 Catholics. Dubois established the first seminary in the New York Diocese, Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Nyack, New York, in 1833. In 1838, a second seminary was opened in Lafargeville, New York, on the Canadian border, but was relocated to modern-day Fordham University in 1840. By 1839, facing declining health, Dubois accepted the appointment of Bishop John Hughes as administrator of the diocese. Dubois died on December 20, 1842, and is buried at Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
Archbishop John Hughes (1797–1864)
Born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, John Hughes came to America at age twenty. After several years as a laborer and gardener at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Hughes entered Mount Saint Mary’s, and was ordained for the Diocese of Philadelphia in 1826. In 1838, Hughes was ordained to the episcopacy as coadjutor to Bishop Dubois in New York. After Dubois’ death in 1842, Hughes assumed leadership in New York. Some of the major challenges faced by Hughes were a rapidly growing Catholic population and a resurgent anti-Catholicism. A champion of the immigrant and a strong defender of the Church, many of the churches, schools, and healthcare institutions now in place have their roots in the Hughes era. In 1850, New York was named an Archdiocese and Hughes an Archbishop. He numbered many of the era’s leading citizens among his friends, including President Abraham Lincoln and Governor (later Secretary of State) William H. Seward. Hughes died on January 3, 1864, and is buried at the new Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.
Cardinal John McCloskey (1810–1885)
Born in Brooklyn, John McCloskey was ordained a priest in 1834—the first native New Yorker to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of New York. After serving as a seminary professor and a pastor, McCloskey was named the first President of Saint John’s College (now Fordham University) in 1841. In 1844, McCloskey was ordained coadjutor bishop of New York, with the right of succession. In 1847, McCloskey was named first bishop of Albany, where he ably oversaw the expansion of the Church in upstate New York. Upon the death of Archbishop Hughes in early 1864, McCloskey was named the second archbishop of New York. In 1875, Pope Pius IX elevated McCloskey to the College of Cardinals—the first American to receive such an honor. As archbishop of New York, McCloskey spurred on the completion of the new Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue and presided over the expansion of a vast network of schools, parishes, hospitals, and orphanages stretching throughout the greater New York area. At the time of McCloskey’s death on October 10, 1885, there were over one million Catholics in the New York Archdiocese. He is buried at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.
Archbishop Michael Augustine Corrigan (1839–1902)
Born in Newark, New Jersey, one of nine children, four of whom entered the priesthood and religious life, Michael Corrigan graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s College, Emmitsburg in 1859. That year, James Roosevelt Bayley, first Bishop of Newark, nominated Corrigan to begin seminary studies at the new North American College in Rome. Corrigan was ordained to the priesthood in Rome in 1863, and served first in parish work in Morris County, New Jersey, then as a professor of theology at Seton Hall College, South Orange, New Jersey, and as vicar general of the Diocese of Newark. Named by Pope Pius IX as second bishop of Newark in 1872, Corrigan was consecrated bishop at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Newark, by Archbishop (later Cardinal) McCloskey. On October 1, 1880, Pope Leo XIII appointed Corrigan titular archbishop of Petra and coadjutor archbishop of New York to Cardinal McCloskey with right of succession. Upon the death of Cardinal McCloskey on October 10, 1885, Corrigan became the third archbishop of New York. During his sixteen years of service to the Church in New York, Archbishop Corrigan moved the major seminary, St. Joseph’s, from Troy to Yonkers, completed the west towers of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and began construction of the Lady Chapel, west of the Cathedral’s apse. In his efforts to implement the decrees of Third Plenary Council of Baltimore of 1884, requiring the establishment of parish schools in every Catholic parish in the United States, Corrigan faced opposition on parochial school implementations from numerous Catholic scholars and political theorists such as the Reverend Edward McGlynn, Pastor of Saint Stephen’s Parish, Manhattan. Archbishop Corrigan died from injuries sustained in a fall while surveying construction of the Lady Chapel on May 5, 1902.
John Cardinal Farley (1842–1918)
Born John Farrelly in County Armagh, Ireland, John Farley attended local schools in County Monaghan and the preparatory seminary in the Diocese of Clogher. In 1864, Farley emigrated to the United States and completed his undergraduate studies at Fordham College, began seminary training at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Troy, and was sent to the North American College in Rome, where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1870. Father Farley served as a parochial vicar at St. Peter’s Church, Staten Island, secretary to Cardinal McCloskey, and vicar general of the Archdiocese of New York. On December 21, 1895, Farley was consecrated bishop by Archbishop Corrigan and on September 25, 1902, became the fourth archbishop of New York. Farley was elevated to the College of Cardinal by Pope Pius X in 1911, During Cardinal Farley’s tenure in New York, the number of Catholic schools doubled. Farley was also an enthusiastic supporter of Catholic higher education for women and promoted the growth of the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. In 1911, Farley bestowed his blessings upon the establishment of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America (Maryknoll) in Ossining, northern Westchester County, New York. Farley shepherded the Church in New York during the First World War, and in November 1917, in response to the growing number of Catholic servicemen and chaplains serving in the United States and Europe, the Military Ordinariate was created by Pope Benedict XV, with administrative offices within the Archdiocese of New York. Cardinal Farley died on September 17, 1918, less than two months before the signing of the armistice, ending hostilities in war-torn Europe.
Patrick Cardinal Hayes (1867–1938)
Born in New York City, Patrick Hayes attended Transfiguration School, De La Salle Institute, and Manhattan College before entering Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Troy, New York, in 1888. Hayes was ordained by Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan on September 8, 1892, and received his licentiate in sacred theology from the Catholic University of America in 1894. Eight years of service as a parochial vicar at St. Gabriel’s in Manhattan was followed by his appointment as chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York in 1902, and as rector of the newly created Cathedral College Preparatory Seminary in 1903. On September 28, 1914, Hayes was ordained to the episcopacy by Cardinal Farley and was named pastor of Saint Stephen’s Parish, Manhattan in 1915. In the wake of the American entry into the war effort in Europe, Bishop Hayes was appointed Military Ordinary by Pope Benedict XV on November 24, 1917, while retaining his role as auxiliary bishop of the New York Archdiocese. On March 10, 1919, Hayes was named fifth archbishop of New York and in March 1924 was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Pius XI. Known as the “Cardinal of Charities,” Hayes founded Catholic Charities—the model employed by all Catholic dioceses in the United States today. A founder and supporter of the National Catholic War Council (predecessor of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), Cardinal Hayes died after a long illness on September 4, 1938.
Francis Cardinal Spellman (1889–1967)
Born in Whitman, Massachusetts, son of a prosperous grocer, Francis Spellman attended Whitman public schools and graduated from Fordham University in 1911. Spellman prepared for the priesthood at the North American College in Rome and was ordained at the Church of Saint Apollinaris on May 14, 1916. In 1925, Spellman was assigned as an attaché to the Vatican Secretariat of State, where he developed a friendship with Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII. Spellman was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Boston in Rome in 1932, and in September 1939, was installed as the sixth archbishop of New York. In 1946, Spellman was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pius XII. A skillful administrator, Spellman was responsible for creating forty-five new parishes and devoted almost $600 million to educational and charitable institutions. As Military Vicar of the United States from 1939 until 1967, Spellman’s attention to the military service brought him to battlefields and military installations world-wide, from World War II to the Vietnam era. In the 1950s, a forward-looking Spellman created the Spanish Apostolate in New York. Cardinal Spellman participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and was instrumental in the appointment of the theologian and political theorist, John Courtney Murray, S.J., as a peritus (expert) at the Ecumenical Council. Cardinal Spellman died on December 2, 1967, as he prepared for his seventeenth Christmas visit to American troops abroad.
Terence Cardinal Cooke (1921–1983)
Born of Irish immigrant parents in Manhattan, Terence Cooke was raised in Throgs Neck, the Bronx, where he attended St. Benedict’s Church and School. Educated at Cathedral College and Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, Cooke was ordained to the priesthood by then-Archbishop Spellman in 1945. Upon his completion of studies in social work at the Catholic University in 1949, Cooke served as archdiocesan director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), procurator and faculty member at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, vice chancellor, chancellor, and vicar general of the Archdiocese of New York. In 1965, Cooke was ordained a bishop by Cardinal Spellman and on April 4, 1968, was installed as the seventh archbishop of New York. In 1969, Cooke was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI. Responsible for the implementation of the initiatives of the Second Vatican Council, Cooke also established the Inner City Scholarship Fund and inaugurated the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York. As Military Vicar, Cooke traveled to numerous military posts as well as Vietnam. Cardinal Cooke died on October 6, 1983, after a long struggle with cancer. In 1984, at the suggestion of his successor, then-Archbishop John O’Connor, inquiries commenced toward the possible canonization of the saintly Cardinal Cooke.
John Cardinal O’Connor (1920–2000)
Born in Philadelphia, the son of a union activist and gold leafer, John O’Connor was educated in Catholic schools in Philadelphia and, upon completion of theological training at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, Philadelphia, was ordained to the priesthood in 1945 by Dennis Cardinal Dougherty of Philadelphia. After seven years of parochial service and work with underprivileged children, O’Connor received a commission in the United States Navy as a chaplain in 1952, and served with distinction in stateside naval assignments and as a Marine Corps chaplain in Vietnam, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral (upper half) and Chief of Chaplains in 1975. In 1979, O’Connor was ordained to the episcopacy by Pope John Paul II and served as a bishop in the New York-based Military Ordinariate. In 1983, Bishop O’Connor was named seventh Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and in March 1984 was installed as the eighth archbishop of New York. In May 1985, Pope John Paul II elevated Cardinal O’Connor to the College of Cardinals. A vocal defender of the rights of the unborn and the dignity of family life, Cardinal O’Connor created the Sisters of Life in June 1991, and labored heroically in defense of the traditional family, the dignity of the Church and liturgy, and priestly vocations. Cardinal O’Connor died on May 3, 2000.
Edward Cardinal Egan (1932–2015)
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Edward Egan was educated in Catholic schools and received his undergraduate degree from Saint Mary of the Lake University and Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. After seminary studies at the North American College, Rome, Father Egan was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1957. Parish work and service as secretary to Albert Cardinal Meyer, Archbishop of Chicago, was followed by doctoral studies in canon law at the Gregorian University. In 1971, after serving as secretary to John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago, Monsignor Egan was appointed to the Roman Rota in 1971 by Pope Paul VI and in May 1985, was ordained to the episcopacy by Pope John Paul II. That same year, Bishop Egan was appointed vicar for education in the Archdiocese of New York by Cardinal O’Connor and in 1988 was named the third bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut. In June 2000, Archbishop Egan was installed as the ninth archbishop of New York and in February 2001 he was created a cardinal. An adept fiscal manager, focused upon priestly vocations on the cusp of the new millennium, Cardinal Egan provided solicitous care for grieving and stunned New Yorkers in the wake of the attacks on the United States and the City of New York on September 11, 2001. Cardinal Egan made New York Catholic history when he became the first Archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of New York—a role the Cardinal continues to maintain as a welcoming and joy-filled presence for the people of the Archdiocese of New York.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan (1950–)
Born in Saint Louis, Missouri, the eldest of five children, Timothy Dolan attended Catholic grade schools, Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary South, and Cardinal Glennon College. Upon completion of theological studies at the North American College, Rome, Dolan was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis in June 1976. Parish ministry was followed by appointment to graduate studies in church history at the Catholic University, where he was awarded a Ph.D in American Church History in 1985. From 1987 to 1992, Father Dolan served on the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. In 1994, Father Dolan was appointed rector of the North American College, where he served until 2001. Pope John Paul II named Monsignor Dolan an auxiliary bishop of St. Louis and he was ordained to the episcopacy on August 15, 2001. On August 28, 2002, Archbishop Dolan was installed as the tenth Archbishop of Milwaukee. On April 15, 2009, Archbishop Dolan assumed his role as the tenth Archbishop of New York. Affable and approachable, this Midwesterner-turned-New Yorker was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 16, 2010. On February 18, 2012, he was elevated by Pope Benedict to the College of Cardinals.