|Rt. Rev. Michael Domenec, C.M.|
|Bishop of Allegheny|
A stained-glass depiction of Bishop Domenec located in Saint Patrick Church in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
|Church||Roman Catholic Church|
|In office||March 19, 1876–
July 29, 1877
|Ordination||June 30, 1839|
December 27, 1816|
|Died||January 7, 1878
|Previous post||Bishop of Pittsburgh (December 9, 1860–
January 11, 1876)
Michael Domenec, DD, C.M. (December 27, 1816 – January 7, 1878) was the second Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the only bishop of the short-lived Diocese of Allegheny.
Domenec was born in the city of Reus,[a] near Tarragona, Spain, to a wealthy family of high social standing. At the age of fifteen, his family left Spain for political reasons. They moved to France, where Domenec studied at the College of Montolieu in Aude, where he joined the Congregation of the Mission, also known as the Vincentians or Lazarites. He lived at the their motherhouse in Paris until in 1838. It was at that time that he met Father John Timon, the visitor general of the Vincentians in the United States. At Timon's invitation, Domenec joined the American mission, arriving at St. Mary's of the Barrens, a seminary in Missouri. By 1838, young Domenec had become fluent in English, and acquired some reputation as an orator. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 30, 1839.
Missionary bishop to Pittsburgh
In 1845, Domenec was sent to Philadelphia to take charge of St. Vincent's Seminary. He was first made pastor of St. Stephen's church in Nicetown and later of St. Vincent de Paul in Germantown. When Pittsburgh's Bishop O'Connor resigned his episcopal office in 1860, Father Domenec was recommended as his successor. When he was consecrated in Saint Paul's Cathedral on December 9, 1860, the new Bishop Domenec found the diocese in good order: "well-supplied with priests and churches, and finely equipped institutions". However, even though Domenec was opposed to debt, he was unable to deal successfully with financial involvements—the panic of 1873 was a fiscal disaster for the Pittsburgh diocese. In the period after the American Civil War, when debts should have been paid off instead of more incurred, improvements upon the cathedral and the building of churches, convents, and schools had rolled up heavy obligations which the diocese could no longer meet.
Ordinary of the See of Allegheny
The Diocese of Pittsburgh had increased to such an extent that in 1875, it was deemed appropriate by the Holy See to erect another diocese to support the Catholic population. Bishop Domenec was transferred to the newly created Diocese of Allegheny, and Father Tuigg of Altoona was appointed the bishop of Pittsburgh. This division was an unpopular decision in the diocese of Pittsburgh, as it greatly complicated the financial situation by leaving the institutions most heavily in debt to the Pittsburgh diocese. When it became clear that no satisfactory arrangement could be made from across the Atlantic, Bishop Domenec traveled to Rome in 1877 to represent his own side of the question. Upon the judgment of the Holy See, the diocese of Allegheny was reunited to that of Pittsburgh, and Bishop Domenec resigned, leaving Bishop Tuigg both the Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Allegheny. The see of Allegheny was finally suppressed in 1889.
Thus Bishop Domenec was left a bishop without a diocese; it was rumored at the time that he had been offered an influential position in the American Church. Having argued his cause in Rome, Domenec went to Barcelona in the fall of 1877. He made a tour of preaching in the churches of that city, and attracted large crowds. He became very ill with pneumonia at Tarragona, however, and died there on January 7, 1878.
Bishop Domenec had visited Rome several times—he was present at the invitation of Pius IX at the canonization of the Japanese martyrs in 1862, and was a Council Father the First Vatican Council. He is entombed in the Cathedral of Tarragona.
- The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography VI. New York: James T. White & Company. 1896. pp. 336–337.
- Glenn, Francis A. (1993). Shepherds of the Faith, 1843–1993: A Brief History of the Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh: Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.
- "History of Bishops". Diocese of Pittsburgh. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
- Brown, John Howard (1900). Lamb's biographical dictionary of the United States II. Boston: James H. Lamb. p. 485.
- Glenn, Francis A. (1993). Shepherds of the Faith, 1843–1993: A Brief History of the Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh: Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. ISBN none.
|Bishop of Pittsburgh