John Connolly (bishop)

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His Excellency
John Connolly, O.P.
Bishop of New York
Bishop John Connolly.jpg
Province Baltimore
See New York
Appointed October 4, 1814
Installed November 1815
Term ended February 6, 1825
Predecessor Richard Luke Concanen, O.P.
Successor John Dubois, S.S.
Ordination September 24, 1774
Consecration November 6, 1814
by Cardinal Cesare Brancadoro
Personal details
Born 1750
County Meath,
Kingdom of Ireland
Died February 6, 1825
New York, New York,
United States
Buried St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, New York, New York,
United States
Nationality British
Denomination Roman Catholic

John Connolly, O.P. (1750 – February 6, 1825), was an Irish-born prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. A Dominican friar, he served as the second Bishop of New York from 1814 until his death in 1825.


Early life[edit]

John Connolly was born in County Meath, Ireland; according to various sources, he was born in either Slane[1] or Drogheda.[2][3] Dominican historian Victor O'Daniel reports that Connolly's family had a tenant farm on the Hill of Slane.[4] After receiving his early education in his native country, he continued his studies in Belgium, and entered the Order of Friars Preachers, more commonly known as the Dominican friars, at an early age.[2] He was subsequently sent to Rome, where he was ordained to the priesthood on September 24, 1774.[5] Among the various capacities he filled in Rome, Connolly served as a professor at the Dominican convent of St. Clement, of which institution he later became prior.[1] He was also an agent of the Irish bishops, and saved the English and Irish colleges—as well as his own convent, church, and library—from being plundered by the French invaders.[1]

Bishop of New York[edit]

On October 4, 1814, Connolly was appointed the second Bishop of New York in the United States by Pope Pius VII.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 6 from Cardinal Cesare Brancadoro, with Archbishops Giovanni Francesco Guerrieri and Giovanni Marchetti serving as co-consecrators, in Rome.[5] However, Connolly did not reach New York until November 24, 1815.[1] He arrived on board the Sally from a transatlantic trip that took all of sixty-seven days, and Connolly had been presumed lost at sea.[4]

Since the first Bishop of New York, R. Luke Concanen, O.P., had been impeded from sailing for New York due to the embargo of Europe then in place, Connolly was the first bishop of the diocese to minister personally to his flock.[6] He is described as a "small-sized man" and a person of more than ordinary mildness and gentleness of character, who would travel the city on foot to attend to the poor and sick.[4]

At the time of Connolly's arrival, the diocese covered all of New York and part of New Jersey, with four priests, three churches, and approximately 15,000 Catholics,[2] most of them Irish, along with some English, French and Germans. There were three churches: St. Peter's on Barclay Street, St. Patrick's on Mulberry St., and St. Mary's in Albany.[4] During his tenure, he erected churches in Utica and Rochester, founded an orphanage, and introduced the Sisters of Charity.[3] He later died at age 74, and was interred at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d O'Daniel, Victor. "John Connolly." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 6 Oct. 2014
  2. ^ a b c Clarke, Richard Henry (1888). Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States. I. New York. 
  3. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Thomas W. H., ed. (1910). Ireland and Her People: A Library of Irish Biography. III. Chicago: Fitzgerald Book Company. 
  4. ^ a b c d O'Daniel, Victor F., "Profile: John Connolly, Bishop of New York (1814-1825)", Dominican Province of St. Joseph
  5. ^ a b c "Bishop John Connolly, O.P.". 
  6. ^ a b "Bishop John Connolly, O.P. (1814–1825)". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
R. Luke Concanen
Bishop of New York
1814 – 1825
Succeeded by
John Dubois