John Henry Tihen

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
John Henry Tihen
Bishop of Denver
John Henry Tihen.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Denver
In office September 21, 1917—January 6, 1931
Predecessor Nicholas Chrysostom Matz
Successor Urban John Vehr
Ordination April 26, 1886
Consecration July 6, 1911
by John Joseph Hennessy
Personal details
Born (1861-07-14)July 14, 1861
Oldenburg, Indiana
Died January 14, 1940(1940-01-14) (aged 78)
Denver, Colorado, United States

John Henry Tihen (July 14, 1861 – January 14, 1940) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska (1911–1917) and Bishop of Denver, Colorado (1917–1931).


John Tihen was born in Oldenburg, Indiana, to Herman Bernard and Angela (née Bruns) Tihen, who were German immigrants.[1] When he was still a child, he and his family moved to Jefferson City, Missouri, where he attended parochial schools.[2] After graduating from St. Benedict College in Atchison, Kansas, he entered St. Francis Seminary at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1882.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Michael Heiss on April 26, 1886.[3] Returning to Missouri, he then served as a curate at St. John's Church in St. Louis until 1888, when he followed Bishop John Joseph Hennessy to the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas.[1] He there served as rector of the cathedral and chancellor of the diocese.[1] In 1907 he was named vicar general and a Domestic Prelate.[1]

On May 12, 1911, Tihen was appointed the second Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, by Pope Pius X.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following July 6 from Bishop Hennessy, with Bishops Nicholas Chrysostom Matz and Richard Scannell serving as co-consecrators.[3] Following the death of Bishop Matz, Tihen was named the third Bishop of Denver, Colorado, by Pope Benedict XV on September 21, 1917.[3] He was installed on the following December 21.[3] During World War I, Tihen supported Liberty bonds and the National Catholic War Council, and organized students at Catholic schools as the U.S. Boys Working Reserve and the Children's Red Cross Campaign.[2] In recognition of his support for the war effort, he was appointed by Mayor W. F. R. Mills as a delegate to the Mid-Continent Congress of the League of Nations in February 1919.[2] Tihen was forced to defend the church in Colorado from the powerful Ku Klux Klan, which he condemned as "an anti-Catholic and un-American society."[2] He also supported women's suffrage and the labor movement, and founded The Denver Catholic Register in 1905.[2] During his tenure, he organized the diocesan Catholic Charities; increased the number of parochial schools from 31 to 49, and the number of priests from 174 to 229; dedicated 41 churches; and established Loretto Heights College, three hospitals, an orphanage, and a home for the aged.[2]

Tihen resigned as Bishop of Denver on January 6, 1931; he was appointed Titular Bishop of Bosana on the same date.[3] In September that year, he left Denver to take up residence at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita.[2] He became an invalid in March 1938, when he suffered a paralytic stroke.[2] He died at age 78, and was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery (Wheat Ridge) in Colorado.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Sawyer, Andrew J. (1916). Lincoln: The Capital City and Lancaster County, Nebraska. II. Chicago: The S.J. Publishing Company. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Noel, Thomas J. "Tihen: Time of Trial (1917-1931)". Colorado Catholicism. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop John Henry Tihen". [self-published source]
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas Bonacum
Bishop of Lincoln
Succeeded by
Charles Joseph O'Reilly
Preceded by
Nicholas Chrysostom Matz
Bishop of Denver
Succeeded by
Urban John Vehr
Preceded by
Titular Bishop of Bosana
Succeeded by
Vincentas Brizgys