Edmond John Fitzmaurice

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The Most Reverend

Edmond John Fitzmaurice
Archbishop (personal title), Bishop emeritus of Wilmington
See Bishop of Wilmington
Installed November 30, 1925
Term ended March 2, 1960
Predecessor John Monaghan
Successor Michael Hyle
Other posts Titular Archbishop of Constantia in Scythia
Ordination May 28, 1904
Consecration November 30, 1925
Personal details
Born (1881-06-24)June 24, 1881
Tarbert, Ireland
Died July 26, 1962(1962-07-26) (aged 81)
Wilmington, Delaware
Denomination Roman Catholic Church

Edmond John Fitzmaurice (June 24, 1881 – July 26, 1962) was an Irish-born prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Wilmington, Delaware from 1925 to 1960.


Early life and education[edit]

Edmond Fitzmaurice was born in Tarbert, County Kerry, to William and Joan (née Costello) Fitzmaurice.[1] He studied at St. Brendan's College in Killarney and at the College of Sint-Truiden in Belgium.[1] He continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree.[1]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Fitzmaurice was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Pietro Respighi on May 28, 1904.[2]

He came to the United States in 1904, and became a curate at Annunciation Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] He served as professor of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (1906–14) and chancellor of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (1914–20).[1] From 1920 to 1925, he served as rector of St. Charles Seminary.[1] His uncle, John Edmund Fitzmaurice, had also served as rector of St. Charles (1886–97) as well as Bishop of Erie (1899–1920).[3]

Bishop of Wilmington[edit]

On July 24, 1925, Fitzmaurice was appointed the fourth Bishop of Wilmington, Delaware, by Pope Pius XI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 30 from Cardinal Dennis Dougherty, with Bishops John Swint and Andrew Brennan serving as co-consecrators.[2] During his 35-year tenure, he oversaw an increase in the Catholic population from 34,000 to 85,000.[4] To accommodate these numbers, he founded 17 new parishes, 8 missions, and 19 elementary and 9 secondary schools.[4] He donated his personal residence in 1959 to provide a location for the founding of St. Edmond's Academy (which was named in his honor).

Fitzmaurice encouraged participation in Catholic Charities, and founded the Catholic Welfare Guild, Catholic Youth Organization, Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and Knights of Columbus, as well as the Catholic Interracial Council, Catholic Forum of the Air, Catholic Television Guild, Diocesan Book Forum, Catholic Education Guild, and Young Christian Workers.[4] In 1945, he ordered the Catholic parents of public school students to prohibit their children from attending sex education courses, which he described as "offensive to the Catholic conscience."[5]

Later years and death[edit]

In his late years as Bishop of Wilmington, Fitzmaurice was given a coadjutor bishop with right of succession: in 1956, Hubert James Cartwright was consecrated as such, and after Cartwright died in 1958, Michael William Hyle was consecrated as such. Fitzmaurice retired as Bishop of Wilmington on March 2, 1960[2] (succeeded immediately by his coadjutor), and was appointed Titular Archbishop of Constantia in Scythia on the same date. He was the first priest of the Diocese of Wilmington to reach the level of Archbishop.[2] He died at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington in 1962, at age 81.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Cheney, David M. "Archbishop Edmond John Fitzmaurice". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. [self-published source]
  3. ^ "Erie". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  4. ^ a b c "A Brief History of the Diocese of Wilmington". Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. 
  5. ^ "SEX LECTURES ASSAILED". New York Times. 1945-02-12. 
  6. ^ "Edmond J. Fitzmaurice, 81, Ex-Bishop of Wilmington". New York Times. 1962-07-25. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John James Joseph Monaghan
Bishop of Wilmington
Succeeded by
Michael William Hyle