Michael J. O'Doherty

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The Most Reverend
Michael J. O'Doherty
Archbishop of Manila
Archbishop Michael J. O'Dogerty.jpg
The Most Reverend Michael J. O'Doherty
Church Manila Cathedral
Archdiocese Manila
Appointed September 6, 1916
Term ended October 13, 1949
Predecessor Jeremiah James Harty
Successor Gabriel M. Reyes
Ordination October 18, 1897
Personal details
Born (1874-07-30)July 30, 1874
Charlestown, County Mayo, Ireland
Died October 13, 1949(1949-10-13) (aged 75)
Manila, Philippines
Buried Manila Cathedral
Nationality Irish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Michael J. and Julie E. O'Doherty née O'Kelly
Previous post Bishop of Zamboanga
Education Philosophy and Theology
Alma mater St. Patrick's College, Maynooth

Michael James O'Doherty (July 30, 1874 – October 13, 1949) was the 26th Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines. Born in Ireland, the archbishop served for 33 years from 1916 up to his death in 1949, making him the longest to hold the post, serving through the difficult years of World War II.[1]


Michael James O'Doherty was born in Charlestown, County Mayo, Ireland on the 30th of July 1874, to Michael J. and Julie E. O'Doherty née O'Kelly. He received his early education at St. Nathy's College, in Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon, before going to Maynooth. The brilliant scholar graduated in Philosophy and Theology from St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. At the age of 24, he was ordained on October 18, 1897 and became a priest of the Diocese of Achonry.[2][3]

His first assignment was a professorship at the St. Nathy's College, where he earlier studied. Through his efforts, he elevated the college into one of Ireland's prominent educational institutions. On June 22, 1904, Michael was appointed by the Council of Irish Bishops, as Rector of the Irish College in Salamanca, Spain, which he directed for seven years; his brother Denis O'Doherty would later succeed him. Under his leadership, he restored the ancient glory of the school after which he received a knighthood from King Alfonso XIII of Spain, who became his close friend. His reputation as a prominent educator and administrator elevated him in the Catholic hierarchy.[2]


When the Diocese of Zamboanga was created in 1911, Pope Pius X appointed O'Doherty as the Diocesan bishop of southern city of the Philippines. He was then translated to the Archdiocese of Manila succeeding Jeremiah James Harty in September 1916 who returned to the United States to become the Archbishop of Omaha. Michael O'Dohery was consecrated as the archbishop on December 14, 1916.[4]

As the leader of the Roman Catholics in the Philippines, he established the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP), and introduced the Legion of Mary to the Philippines. He was appointed as the head of preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress when it was held in Manila in 1937.[4]

During World War II, he led the Archdiocese during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines through prayers and even secretly helped the people in need, an act that almost cost him his life. He was under constant Japanese monitoring as a result.[citation needed] After the liberation of Manila, he led the parishioners of Manila through its reconstructions and keeping the morale high through prayers.


The Archbishop died on October 13, 1949. He is buried at the crypts underneath the Manila Cathedral together with the other former Archbishops of Manila. He was the last foreigner to be the ordinary of the Archdiocese, ending the long lineage of Spanish and American prelates who led the Archdiocese.


  • Articles on Spanish Catholicism and Society, Irish Ecclesiastical Record (1911).
Preceded by
none (official created
Bishop of Zamboanga
Succeeded by
James Paul McCloskey
Preceded by
Jeremiah James Harty
Archbishop of Manila
Succeeded by
Gabriel M. Reyes


  1. ^ "Archbishops of Manila". The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Retrieved on 2013-02-16.
  2. ^ a b "Dueling with General Pershing - Bishop Michael J. O'Doherty". Ancestry.com
  3. ^ "Irish Colleges on the Continent". New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2013-02-16.
  4. ^ a b "The Archbishops of Manila (First—Present)". Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica Philippines Official Website. Retrieved on 2013-02-16.