Joshua Maria Young

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Right Rev. Joshua Maria Young
Bishop of Erie
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Erie
In office April 23, 1854 – September 18, 1866
Predecessor Michael O'Connor
Successor Tobias Mullen
Ordination April 1, 1838
Consecration April 23, 1854
Personal details
Born (1808-10-29)October 29, 1808
Acton, Maine
Died September 18, 1866(1866-09-18) (aged 57)
Erie, Pennsylvania

Joshua Maria Young (October 29, 1808 – September 18, 1866) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Erie, Pennsylvania from 1854 until his death.

Life and church[edit]

He was born in Acton, Maine, to Jonathan and Mehetable (née Moody) Young.[1] One of ten children, he had three brothers and six sisters.[2] Raised as a Congregationalist, he belonged to a prominent New England family of Harvard graduates and Protestant ministers.[3][4] At age eight Young was sent to live with his uncle in Saco, and later became a printer's apprentice for the Portland-based Eastern Argus newspaper in 1823.[1] He was editor of The Maine Democrat for about a year after his apprenticeship.[1] After a co-worker lent him Catholic books, Young decided to convert to Catholicism and received a conditional baptism in October 1828.[1] Following his conversion, he changed his name to Joshua Maria in honor of the Virgin Mary.[3]

In 1830 he went to study for the priesthood at Cincinnati, Ohio, where he hoped the climate would be more congenial with his health.[1] He briefly continued to work in publishing, and was employed with The Catholic Telegraph.[1] After completing his theological studies at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Young was ordained a priest by Bishop John Baptist Purcell on April 1, 1838.[5] He then labored as a missionary in the West before becoming pastor of St. Mary's Church at Lancaster, Ohio.[1] He also attended the First Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1852 as a theologian to Bishop Purcell.

On July 29, 1853, Young was appointed the second Bishop of Erie, Pennsylvania by Pope Pius IX.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on April 23, 1854 from Bishop Purcell, with Bishops Martin John Spalding and Louis Amadeus Rappe serving as co-consecrators.[5] He was an opponent of slavery during the Civil War (1861–1865),[4] and witnessed the 1859 discovery of oil in Titusville, which forced him to erect numerous churches to accommodate the settlers along Oil Creek and the Allegheny River.[3] At the beginning of Young's tenure, the diocese contained 28 churches and 14 priests; by the time of his death, the number of churches and priests were both over 50.[3] He established several Catholic schools and orphanages, and a hospital.[3] He also introduced into the diocese the Sisters of St. Joseph from Buffalo, New York.[4]

Young died suddenly at his residence in Erie, at age 57.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Clarke, Richard Henry. "RIGHT REV. JOSUE MARIA YOUNG, D.D.". Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States. 
  2. ^ "Jonathan Young , III". The Schliesser-Hicks Family Tree. Archived from the original on 2009-10-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Erie". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  4. ^ a b c "About the Diocese: Early History (1853–1900)". Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie. 
  5. ^ a b c "Bishop Joshua Maria (Moody) Young". [self-published source]
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michael O'Connor
Bishop of Erie
Succeeded by
Tobias Mullen