John W. Shanahan

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John W. Shanahan
Bishop of Harrisburg
In office 1899-1916
Ordination January 2, 1869
by Bishop Jeremiah F. Shanahan
Consecration May 1, 1900
by Archbishop Patrick John Ryan
Personal details
Born (1846-01-03)January 3, 1846
Silver Lake, Pennsylvania
Died February 19, 1916(1916-02-19) (aged 70)
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents John and Margaret (née Donovan) Shanahan
Education St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

John Walter Shanahan (January 3, 1846 – February 19, 1916) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Harrisburg from 1899 until his death in 1916.


John Shanahan was born in Silver Lake, Pennsylvania, to John and Margaret (née Donovan) Shanahan, who came to the United States from County Cork, Ireland.[1] He studied at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, and was ordained to the priesthood by his brother, Bishop Jeremiah F. Shanahan, on January 2, 1869.[2] He served as superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.[3]

On January 2, 1899, Shanahan was appointed the third Bishop of Harrisburg by Pope Leo XIII.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 1 from Archbishop Patrick John Ryan, with Bishops Ignatius Frederick Horstmann and Edmond Francis Prendergast serving as co-consecrators.[2] His brother Jeremiah was the first to hold that office, serving between 1868 and his death in 1886.[3][4]

During his 16-year-long tenure, Shanahan erected 27 new parishes and increased the number of priests from 74 to 120.[5] He opened an orphanage for girls at Sylvan Heights and a protectory for boys at Abbottstown, and completed construction on the Cathedral of St. Patrick in 1907.[5] In 1907 he founded the Sisters of Saint Casimir. He also established the motherhouses of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood and the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and invited to the diocese the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Scranton.[5]

Shanahan later died at age 70.


  1. ^ Clarke, Richard Henry. Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop John Walter Shanahan". [self-published source]
  3. ^ a b "Diocese of Harrisburg". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  4. ^ "Bishop Jeremiah Francis Shanahan". [self-published source]
  5. ^ a b c "Diocesan History". Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas McGovern
Bishop of Harrisburg
Succeeded by
Philip R. McDevitt