John J. Chanche
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|The Right Reverend
John Joseph Chanche, S.S.
|Bishop of Natchez|
Daguerreotype of Bishop Chanche
|See||Diocese of Natchez|
|In office||March 14, 1841—July 22, 1852|
|Successor||James Oliver Van de Velde, S.J.|
|Ordination||June 5, 1819|
|Consecration||March 14, 1841
by Samuel Eccleston, S.S.
|Born||October 4, 1795
|Died||July 22, 1852
Early Life and Family
Chanche was born October 4, 1795, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was born to parents who had fled to Baltimore from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), during the Haitian Revolution (which itself occurred at about the same time as the French Revolution).
Chanche entered St. Mary's Seminary, where he joined the Sulpicians, and was ordained a priest on June 5, 1819. He was then appointed a professor at the school. In 1833, he was chosen as Master of Ceremonies for the Second Provincial Council of Baltimore, a major step by the bishops of the nation in organizing its structure. Chanche was named Vice President of the seminary, and in 1834 succeeded Samuel Eccleston, S.S., as its President.
Chanche was offered the post of coadjutor first to the Archbishop of Baltimore and then to the Bishop of Boston successively, but declined both. He was still President of St. Mary's when he was appointed Bishop of Natchez in 1841.
Bishop of Natchez
John Joseph Chanche, S.S.
|Reference style||The Right Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
|Religious style||His Excellency|
The Diocese of Natchez was created on July 28, 1837, and although it encompassed the entire state of Mississippi, a large geographic region, nearly three years passed before Chanche was appointed as its first bishop on December 15, 1840.
Chanche was consecrated March 14, 1841 by Archbishop Eccleston at the Baltimore Basilica. Arriving at Natchez in May 1841, he met there the only priest in the state, Father Brogard, who was only there temporarily. Taking up the role of a simple missionary, Bishop Chanche began to collect the Catholics and organize a diocese. Chanche set to work building a diocesan infrastructure.
At the First Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1852, Chanche served the role of "chief promoter." He died in Baltimore shortly after the sessions of the Council, at Frederick, Maryland, leaving his diocese with 11 priests, 11 churches erected, and 13 attendant missions. He was buried in the Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore.
In 2007 the body of Bishop Chanche was exhumed and returned Natchez to be reinterred in a special garden near the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the grounds of the original cathedral of his diocese at Natchez, now the Basilica of St. Mary.
- Gandy, Joan. "St. Mary exhibit tells history of first bishop". The Natchez Democrat. Retrieved 2007-09-04. alternate URL
- Muth, Chaz. "Body of first bishop of Mississippi exhumed in Baltimore". The Catholic Review. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
- Bishop John Joseph Chanche, S.S.
- Photographs of a painting of Bishop Chanche
- St. Mary Basilica Archives Natchez, Mississippi
- St. Mary Basilica Natchez, Mississippi
|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Natchez
James Oliver Van de Velde