Thomas Arthur Connolly

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The Most Reverend
Thomas Arthur Connolly
Archbishop Emeritus of Seattle
Province Portland in Oregon (1950–1951)
Seattle (1951–1975)
See Seattle
Installed May 18, 1950 (as Bishop of Seattle)
Elevated to Archbishop June 23, 1951
Term ended February 13, 1975
Predecessor Gerald Shaughnessy
Successor Raymond Hunthausen
Other posts Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco (1939–1948)
Coadjutor Bishop of Seattle (1948–1950)
Ordination June 11, 1926
Consecration August 24, 1939
Personal details
Born October 5, 1899
San Francisco, California
Died April 18, 1991(1991-04-18) (aged 91)
Seattle, Washington
Buried Holyrood Catholic Cemetery, Shoreline, Washington
Ordination history of
Thomas Arthur Connolly
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecrator John Joseph Mitty
Date of consecration August 24, 1939
Bishops consecrated by Thomas Arthur Connolly as principal consecrator
Joseph Patrick Dougherty September 26, 1951
Thomas Edward Gill May 31, 1956
Cornelius Michael Power May 1, 1969

Thomas Arthur Connolly (October 5, 1899 – April 18, 1991) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the fifth bishop and first archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle from 1950–1975. Born in San Francisco, California, Connolly was ordained to the priesthood in San Francisco in 1926. As a priest, he held several posts in the San Francisco area before being appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1939. In 1948, Connolly was named coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Seattle with right of succession to Bishop Gerald Shaughnessy, who had been in poor health for several years. Connolly became bishop upon Shaughnessy's death in 1950. The following year, the Diocese of Seattle was elevated to an archdiocese, and Connolly became the first Archbishop of Seattle. In 1960s, Archbishop Thomas Connelly sent Father Michael Cody to psychiatric treatment but then allowed him to return to the church and transferred him to St. Charles Parish, despite knowing he was a danger to children as a pedophile.[1]


Thomas Connolly was born in San Francisco, California, to Thomas and Catherine (née Gilsenan) Connolly.[2] After studying at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1926.[3] He then served as a curate at St. Rose Church in Santa Rosa and St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Sausalito.[2] In 1930 he was sent to further his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from where he obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1932.[2] After his return to California, he became secretary to Archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna in 1934 and chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1935.[2] He was named a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XI in 1936, and pastor of Mission San Francisco de Asís in 1939.[2]

On June 10, 1939, Connolly was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco and Titular Bishop of Sila by Pope Pius XII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following August 24 from Archbishop John Joseph Mitty, with Bishops Robert John Armstrong and Thomas Kiely Gorman serving as co-consecrators.[3] In 1941 he was named vicar delegate to the Catholic chaplains serving the Army and Navy in the Pacific Coast.[2]

Connolly was named Coadjutor Bishop of Seattle, Washington, on February 28, 1948,[3] with immediate right of succession to Bishop Gerald Shaughnessy, who had been in failing health for several years. Upon Shaughnessy's death on May 18, 1950, Connolly became the fifth Bishop of Seattle.[3] When the diocese was elevated to the rank of an archdiocese on June 23, 1951, Connolly became its first Archbishop.[3]

During his tenure, he became known as a "brick and mortar bishop" for his construction of hundreds of Catholic facilities to accommodate the post-World War II population growth in the Archdiocese.[4] He renovated St. James Cathedral; established 43 new parishes; and built over 350 churches, schools, rectories, convents, parish halls and religious education centers.[5] He became an Assistant at the Pontifical Throne in 1959.[2] He attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965.[4] He was also an outspoken supporter of the civil rights movement, ecumenism, and pro-life issues.[4]

Connolly retired as archbishop on February 13, 1975,[3] and died on April 18, 1991.[5] He is interred with past bishops of Seattle at Holyrood Catholic Cemetery in Shoreline, Washington.[6]


  1. ^ [1]- Seattle Times Seattle Archdiocese to pay $1.2M to settle sex-abuse suit
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Archbishop Thomas Arthur Connolly". 
  4. ^ a b c "Archbishop Thomas A. Connolly". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. 
  5. ^ a b "Thomas Connolly, 91, Archbishop in Seattle". The New York Times. 1991-04-20. 
  6. ^ Thomas A. Connolly (1899–1991) – Find A Grave Memorial
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gerald Shaughnessy
Archbishop of Seattle
Succeeded by
Raymond Hunthausen