Francis Patrick McFarland

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Francis Patrick McFarland (Franklin, Pennsylvania, 16 April 1819 – Hartford, Connecticut, 2 October 1874) was an American Catholic bishop, the third Bishop of Hartford.


His parents, John McFarland and Mary McKeever, emigrated from Armagh. He was employed as teacher in the village school, but soon entered Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he graduated with high honours and was retained as teacher.

The following year, 1845, he was ordained, 18 May, at New York by Archbishop Hughes, who immediately detailed the young priest to a professor's chair at St. John's College, Fordham. Father McFarland from his college made frequent missionary journeys among scattered Catholics.

After a year at Fordham he was appointed pastor of Watertown, New York. In March 1851, he was transferred by his new ordinary, Bishop McCloskey of Albany, to St. John's Church, Utica. He was appointed Vicar-Apostolic of Florida, 9 March 1857. He declined this, only to be elected Bishop of Hartford. He was consecrated at Providence, Rhode Island 14 March 1858, and resided in that city until the division of his diocese in 1872 which created a separate Diocese of Providence.

Failing health prompted him, while attending the First Vatican Council, to resign his see. His colleagues of the American episcopate would not hear of such a step. By dividing the diocese it was hoped that his burden would be sufficiently lightened. He left Providence for Hartford 28 February 1872. After reorganizing his diocese he immediately set about the erection of a cathedral. He died aged 55.

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 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.