Francis Kenrick

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The Most Reverend
Francis Patrick Kenrick
Archbishop of Baltimore
FrancisKenrick.jpg
See Baltimore
Appointed August 19, 1851
Installed October 9, 1851
Term ended July 8, 1863
Predecessor Samuel Eccleston, P.S.S.
Successor Martin John Spalding
Orders
Ordination April 7, 1821
by Candido Maria Frattini
Consecration June 10, 1831
by Benedict Joseph Flaget P.S.S.
Personal details
Born (1797-12-03)3 December 1797
Dublin, Ireland
Died 8 July 1863(1863-07-08) (aged 65)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Previous post Bishop of Philadelphia (1842-51)

Francis Patrick Kenrick (December 3, 1796 – July 8, 1863) was an Irish-born prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the third Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (1842–1851) and the sixth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (1851–1863).

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Francis Kenrick was born in Dublin to Thomas and Jane (née Eustace) Kenrick.[1] His younger brother, Peter Richard Kenrick, would later become the first Archbishop of St. Louis.[2] His uncle was the pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra Church in Dublin, and took an active role in his education.[2][3] At the age of eighteen, he was selected to study at the Urban College of Propaganda in Rome, where he became a distinguished student.[3] He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Candido Maria Frattini on 7 April 1821.[4]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Shortly after his ordination, Kenrick accepted an invitation from Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget, S.S., to join the Diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky, in the United States.[1] He then held the chair of theology at St. Thomas Seminary for nine years, in addition to teaching Greek and history at St. Joseph's College.[2] Apart from his academic duties, he also engaged in missionary work; he facilitated several conversions and publicly debated with Protestant ministers.[3] He earned a reputation as an eloquent preacher and effective apologist, and was a recognized theologian and scripture scholar.[1]

Kenrick was later made private secretary to Flaget, whom he accompanied to the First Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1829 as his personal theologian.[1] He also served as an assistant secretary of the Council.[3]

Bishop of Philadelphia[edit]

On 25 February 1830, Kenrick was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Philadelphia, and Titular Bishop of Arath by Pope Pius VIII.[4] He received his episcopal consecration on the following 6 June from Flaget, with Bishops Henry Conwell and John Baptist Mary David, S.S., serving as co-consecrators, in Bardstown.[4] Kenrick assumed full administrative powers from the aged Bishop Conwell, whose tenure had been plagued by a public feud with a schismatic priest named William Hogan.[2] Immediately upon his arrival, he also became engaged in the long-running dispute between episcopal authority and the lay trustees of St. Mary's Church.[3] The trustees eventually conceded their struggle for power after Kenrick placed St. Mary's Cathedral under interdict.[3] He also placed all church property in the name of the bishop instead of those of the trustees.[2]

In 1832, Kenrick founded St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, which was originally located at his personal residence.[3] That same year an outbreak of cholera took place in Philadelphia, and Kenrick led the local Catholic clergy and Religious Sisters in ministering to the sick; his efforts were publicly recognized by Mayor John Swift.[2] He successfully petitioned the Holy See to separate Western Pennsylvania into a new diocese, and the Diocese of Pittsburgh was established in 1836; Kenrick was initially considered for the new diocese as well as for coadjutor bishop of New York, but withdrew his candidacy.[3]

Kenrick succeeded Conwell as the third Bishop of Philadelphia upon the latter's death on 22 April 1842.[4] His tenure was particularly marked by the 1844 Philadelphia Nativist Riots, a series of riots resulting from increasing anti-Catholic sentiment at the growing population of Irish Catholic immigrants.[2] Throughout the violence, Kenrick encouraged Catholics "to follow peace and have charity."[3] He also closed all Catholic churches and ordered the suspension of all Masses until the riots were brought to a halt by military force.[2] Between 1830 to 1850, the number of churches in the diocese grew from 22 to 92; priests from 35 to 101; charitable institutions from two to six; and the Catholic population from 35,000 to 170,000.[1] He also began construction on the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.[3]

Influenced by the work of his contemporary, an English priest named John Lingard, Kenrick published his own translation of the four Gospels in 1849; he eventually translated the entire Bible, as a new revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible.[2]

Archbishop of Baltimore[edit]

Following the death of Archbishop Samuel Eccleston, S.S., Kenrick was named the sixth Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland, by Pope Pius IX on 19 August 1851.[4] His installation took place on the following 9 October.[4] He presided over the First Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1852.[1] In 1854, he was invited by Pius IX to attend the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in Rome.[2] In 1858, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, with the approval of Pius IX, conferred a "prerogative of place" on the Archbishop of Baltimore over all archbishops and bishops in the United States, regardless of seniority in promotion or ordination.[3]

Kenrick was greatly troubled by the outbreak of the Civil War, which is believed to have contributed to his sudden death at age 66.[2][3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Parts of Francis Kenrick's Bible Translation
  • Marschall, John P.,Francis Patrick Kenrick, 1851-1863: The Baltimore Years (Ph.D. diss., Catholic University of America, 1965)
  • Spalding, Thomas W. The Premier See: A History of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1789-1989. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Most Rev. Francis Patrick Kenrick". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Francis Patrick and Peter Richard Kenrick". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Clarke, Richard Henry (1888). Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States. New York. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. [self-published source]

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Henry Conwell
Bishop of Philadelphia
1842–1851
Succeeded by
John Nepomucene Neumann, C.Ss.R.
Preceded by
Samuel Eccleston, S.S.
Archbishop of Baltimore
1851–1863
Succeeded by
Martin John Spalding