Denis J. O'Connell
Denis Joseph O'Connell
|Bishop Emeritus of Richmond|
A photograph of O'Connell taken during his tenure as rector of the American College (1885–1895)
|Installed||March 19, 1912|
|Term ended||January 15, 1926|
|Predecessor||Augustine Van de Vyver|
|Successor||Andrew James Louis Brennan|
|Other posts||Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco (1907–12)|
|Ordination||May 26, 1877|
by Bishop James Gibbons
|Consecration||May 3, 1908|
by Cardinal James Gibbons
|Born||January 28, 1849|
Donoughmore, County Cork, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
|Died||January 1, 1927 (aged 77)|
|Buried||Sacred Heart Cathedral, Richmond, Virginia,|
|Nationality||British until c. 1860, then American|
|Parents||Michael O'Connell & Bridget O'Connell|
|Alma mater||Pontifical North American College|
Denis Joseph O'Connell (January 28, 1849 – January 1, 1927) was an Irish-born Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. Before becoming Bishop of Richmond, he served as rector of the North American College, and later, of The Catholic University of America.
O'Connell was born in Donoughmore, County Cork, then part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the son of Michael O'Connell and his wife Bridget, née O'Connell. His family soon emigrated to the United States and settled in Columbia, South Carolina, where his father's two brothers, Jeremiah and Joseph, were serving as missionary priests.
As a young man, O'Connell felt called to be a priest and entered St. Charles College, Ellicott City, Maryland in 1868. He came to the attention of James Gibbons, who was then Apostolic Vicar for the State of North Carolina. In part due to the influence of his uncles, in 1871 he was sent to Rome to study at the North American College. "So brilliant was the young man that at his examination for the degree of Doctor of Divinity the cardinal prefect and examining professors accorded it to him by acclamation instead of by the usual method of balloting." O'Connell was ordained in Rome on May 26, 1877 by Cardinal Raffaele Monaco La Valletta.
When Gibbons was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore, he sent Father O'Connell back to Rome in November as his procurator to accept the bishop's pallium. In the two months he was there O'Connell closely observed how the Curia functioned. In 1884 he became secretary to Gibbons, and was sent to Rome with the decrees of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore. In 1885 O'Connell was appointed rector of his alma mater in Rome, a position he held until 1895. As rector of the North American College, O'Connell was the unofficial Roman contact for the American bishops. In 1887, he was chosen a Domestic Prelate, giving him the title of Monsignor.
In December 1907, O'Connell was named as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, for which office he was consecrated as the titular bishop of Sebaste in Cilicia. The consecration occurred at the Baltimore Cathedral on May 3, 1908. Gibbons, by then a cardinal, was principal consecrator.
On January 19, 1912 O'Connell was appointed seventh Bishop of Richmond, Virginia
O'Connell was named as the Bishop of Richmond by Pope Pius X in January 1912, taking office that following March. He served in that office until his resignation in 1926, at which time he was named the Titular Bishop of Mariamme.
O'Connell died January 1, 1927, at the age of 77. He had been a priest for over 49 years and a bishop for over 18.
- Barry, C.J. "O'Connell, Denis Joseph". New Catholic Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
- Fogarty, Gerald; Fogarty, Gerald P. (1974). The Vatican and the Americanist Crisis. Rome: Gregorian Biblical Book Shop. ISBN 9788876524578.
- Arline Boucher and John Tehan (1962), Prince of Democracy: James Cardinal Gibbons, 1966 reprint, New York: Doubleday Image, Ch. 5, "The Road to Baltimore", p. 93.
- Portier, William L. (2013). Divided Friends. Washington, D.C.: CUA Press. ISBN 9780813221649.
- “Most Rev. Denis Joseph O'Connell, D. D.” The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 13, no. 1, 1927, pp. 100–104. JSTOR
- Catholic Virginian Vol93, No6 Jan 15, 2018
Rector of the Pontifical North American College
William H. O'Connell
Thomas J. Conaty
Rector of CUA
Thomas J. Shahan