Jeremiah F. Shanahan

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Right Rev. Jeremiah Francis Shanahan
Bishop of Harrisburg
Bishop Jeremiah Francis Shanahan.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Harrisburg
In office July 12, 1868 – September 24, 1886
Predecessor none
Successor Thomas McGovern
Ordination July 3, 1859
Consecration July 12, 1868
Personal details
Born (1834-07-17)July 17, 1834
Silver Lake, Pennsylvania
Died September 24, 1886(1886-09-24) (aged 52)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Jeremiah Francis Shanahan (July 17, 1834 – September 24, 1886) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the first Bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1868–1886).


Jeremiah Shanahan was born in Silver Lake, Pennsylvania, to John and Margaret (née Donovan) Shanahan, who came to the United States from County Cork, Ireland.[1] After graduating from St. Joseph's Academy near Binghamton, New York in 1852, he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, on the outskirts of Philadelphia.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John Neumann, C.SS.R., on July 3, 1859.[2] He then served as curate at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul and rector of the preparatory seminary in Glen Riddle.[1]

On March 3, 1868, Shanahan was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Harrisburg by Pope Pius IX.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following July 12 from Bishop James Frederick Wood, with Bishops John McGill and Michael Domenec, C.M., serving as co-consecrators, at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.[2] Located in South Central Pennsylvania, the new diocese comprised Adams, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Union, and York counties.[3] There were 25,000 Catholics, 22 priests, 40 churches and missions, and seven parochial schools.[3]

Upon arriving in the episcopal see of Harrisburg, Shanahan became pastor of St. Patrick's Church, which he designated as the cathedral.[1] He opened Sylvan Heights Seminary at Harrisburg in October 1883, and introduced into the diocese the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Christian Charity, Sisters of the Holy Cross, and Sisters of Charity.[3] He presided over a period of greath growth, and by the time of his death there were 51 priests, 51 churches, 75 chapels and missions, three orphanages, 29 parochial schools, and over 35,000 Catholics.[1]

Shanahan later died in Harrisburg, aged 52.[1] His younger brother John W. Shanahan also served as Bishop of Harrisburg (1899–1916).[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Clarke, Richard Henry. Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop Jeremiah Francis Shanahan". [self-published source]
  3. ^ a b c "Diocesan History". Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg. 
  4. ^ "Bishop John Walter Shanahan". [self-published source]
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Harrisburg
Succeeded by
Thomas McGovern