John McGill (bishop)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Right Reverend
John McGill
Bishop of Richmond
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Richmond
In office November 10, 1850–January 14, 1872
Predecessor Richard Vincent Whelan
Successor James Gibbons
Ordination May 1, 1835
Consecration November 10, 1850
Personal details
Born (1809-11-04)November 4, 1809
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died January 14, 1872(1872-01-14) (aged 62)
Richmond, Virginia

John McGill (November 4, 1809 – January 14, 1872) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Richmond from 1850 until his death in 1872.


The oldest of ten children, John McGill was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to James and Lavinia (née Dougherty) McGill, who immigrated to the United States from County Donegal, Ireland, shortly after their marriage.[1] Following the birth of their sixth child, his parents moved the family to Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1819. At age eleven McGill entered St. Joseph's College, where he studied the classics and graduated in 1828 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.[1] After studying law under Charles A. Wickliffe, he practiced in New Orleans for six months before returning to Kentucky to work with Thomas Chilton.[1] He later abandoned his legal career to embrace the ecclesiastical state, completing his theological studies at St. Thomas' Seminary in Bardstown and at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland.

McGill was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John David, P.S.S., on June 13, 1835.[2] He then served as an assistant priest at St. Peter's Church in Lexington and at Assumption Cathedral in Louisville. In 1839 he became editor of the Catholic Advocate, which he used to attack Protestantism. He also served as pastor of St. Louis' Church in Louisville.[1]

On July 23, 1850, McGill was appointed the third Bishop of Richmond, Virginia, by Pope Pius IX.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 10 from Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick, with Bishops Richard Pius Miles, O.P., and Martin John Spalding serving as co-consecrators.[2] At the time of McGill's arrival in Richmond the following December, the diocese had 7,000 Catholics, eight priests, and 10 churches.[1] He went to Rome in 1854 to be present at the definition of the Immaculate Conception, and convened the first diocesan synod in 1855. During his tenure, Virginia was devastated by yellow fever and cholera epidemics, as well as the Civil War. During the war McGill wrote, "The True Church Indicated to the Inquirer" and "Our Faith, the Victory", republished as "The Creed of Catholics".[1] He also attended the First Vatican Council from 1869 to 1870, where he supported papal infallibility.[1]

The Bishop later died at Richmond, aged 62.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Clarke, Richard Henry. Lives of the deceased bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d "Bishop John McGill". 

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Richard Vincent Whelan
Bishop of Richmond
Succeeded by
James Gibbons