James Louis Connolly

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James Louis Connolly (November 15, 1894 – September 12, 1986) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Fall River from 1951 to 1970.


James Connolly was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, to Francis and Agnes (née McBride) Connolly.[1] After graduating from B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, he studied at St. Charles College in Catonsville, Maryland, and at the Sulpician Seminary in Washington, D.C.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 1923.[2] He then served as a curate at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Wellfleet until 1924, when he was sent to further his studies at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.[3] He earned a doctorate in historical science summa cum laude in 1928 and then returned to the United States, where he was assigned to the Archdiocese of St. Paul, Minnesota.[1] He there served as a professor and afterwards rector of St. Paul Seminary.[4]

On April 7, 1945, Connolly was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Fall River and Titular Bishop of Mylasa by Pope Pius XII.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 24 from Archbishop John Murray, with Bishops William O. Brady and Leo Binz serving as co-consecrators.[2] In addition to his episcopal duties, he served as pastor of Sacred Heart Church from 1945 to 1951.[1] Upon the death of Bishop James Edwin Cassidy, Connolly succeeded him as the fourth Bishop of Fall River on May 17, 1951.[2]

During his tenure, he oversaw a major program of building and expansion within the diocese. He erected 15 new parishes, 17 schools, and 33 churches.[1] He also established Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth, Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Bishop Cassidy High School in Taunton, and Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River.[4] He encouraged vocations, ordaining a total of 230 priests (130 for the diocese and 100 for religious communities) during his administration.[1] He founded the diocesan newspaper, The Anchor, in 1957.[4] He attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965.[4]

After 19 years as bishop of Fall River, Connolly retired on October 30, 1970; he was appointed Titular Bishop of Thibuzabetum on the same date.[2] He later resigned his titular see on the following December 31.[2] He died at St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River, aged 91.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "RETIRED BISHOP JAMES L. CONNOLLY, AT 91; HEADED FALL RIVER DIOCESE FOR 2 DECADES". The Boston Globe. 1986-09-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop James Louis Connolly". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. 
  3. ^ Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Our History". Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
James Edwin Cassidy
Bishop of Fall River
1951 – 1970
Succeeded by
Daniel Anthony Cronin