R. Luke Concanen

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Richard Luke Concanen

Bishop of New York
Bishop Richard Luke Concanen.jpg
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
DioceseNew York
AppointedApril 8, 1808
Term endedJune 19, 1810
SuccessorJohn Connolly, O.P.
OrdinationDecember 20, 1770
ConsecrationApril 24, 1808
by Cardinal Michele di Pietro
Personal details
BornDecember 27, 1747
Kilbegnet, County Galway,
Kingdom of Ireland
DiedJune 19, 1810 (aged 62)
Naples, Kingdom of Naples
BuriedChurch of San Domenico Maggiore, Naples
DenominationRoman Catholic

Richard Luke Concanen, O.P. (December 27, 1747 – June 19, 1810), was an Irish prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, who served as the first bishop of the Diocese of New York (1808–1810).


Richard Concanen was born in Kilbegnet, County Galway, then in the Kingdom of Ireland, a descendant of the Uí Díarmata dynasty. He completed his theological studies in Italy at age 17.[1][2] (note, V.F. O'Daniel says he likely studied at the Dominican College in Louvain before joining the order at the age of eighteen or nineteen, and taking the name of "Luke").[3] He was ordained a Dominican priest on December 22, 1770, at the Lateran Basilica.[4] He then served as a professor (and later prior) at the Dominican convent of St. Clement's in Rome, librarian of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, and secretary of the Dominican province of Great Britain, while also serving as the agent of the Irish bishops.[1][2] Concanen was fluent in Italian, and also knew Irish, English, Latin, French, and German.[3]

Pope Pius VI nominated Concanen as Bishop of Kilfenora and Apostolic Administrator of Kilmacduagh in 1798,[5] but the latter declined due to his delicate health.[1]

Concanen was a friend of Baltimore Archbishop John Carroll. Deeply interested in the missions of the United States, Concanen was instrumental in procuring permission for Father Edward Fenwick OP to leave England to set up a Dominican province in America. He made large contributions to St. Rose Priory in Kentucky, and bequeathed the Priory his library.[6]

On April 8, 1808, Concanen was appointed the first bishop of the newly erected Diocese of New York by Pope Pius VII.[4] He received his episcopal consecration on the following April 24 from Cardinal Michele di Pietro, with Archbishops Tommaso Arezzo and Benedetto Sinibaldi serving as co-consecrators.[4] However, Concanen never stepped on American soil. Due to the embargoes enacted during the Napoleonic Wars, he was unable to sail from the Port of Naples and even detained as a British subject by the French forces in possession of the city.[6] He administered his diocese by correspondence with the missionary priests working in New York City.[7]

Concanen later died in Naples, aged 62,[1] and his body rests in the Church of San Domenico Maggiore.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Clarke, Richard Henry. "Right Rev. Luke Concanen, D.D.". Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States.
  2. ^ a b Egan, Edward. "Our History: Humble Beginnings". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
  3. ^ a b O'Daniel OP, V.F., "The Right Reverend Luke Concanen O.P., the First Bishop of New York (1747-1819)", The Catholic Historical Review, vol.1, January 1916
  4. ^ a b c "Bishop Richard Luke Concanen, O.P." Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  5. ^ Episcopal Succession Archived September 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Archdiocese of New York". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  7. ^ "Bishop Richard Luke Concanen, O.P. (1808–1810)". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Archived from the original on June 13, 2012.
  8. ^ "Church of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples". turismoanapoli.it. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012.
Catholic Church titles
New title Bishop of New York
1808 – 1810
Succeeded by
John Connolly