Thomas John McDonnell

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Bishop Thomas J. McDonnell
Styles of
Thomas John McDonnell
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor

Thomas John McDonnell, D.D., (August 18, 1894–February 25, 1961) was the Roman Catholic coadjutor bishop, cum jure successionis, of what is now the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.

Education and pastoral assignment[edit]

Thomas John McDonnell was born in New York City. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York on September 20, 1919. McDonnell was admitted as an affiliated member, number 87, to Marist College in 1944.[1]


On July 2, 1947, Pope Pius XII appointed McDonnell auxiliary bishop of the New York Archdiocese. He was ordained on September 15, 1947, by Cardinal Francis Spellman who was his principal consecrator.[2] His principal co-consecrators were Cardinals Richard James Cushing and James Francis Aloysius McIntyre.[2] On March 15, 1951, Pope Pius XII, appointed McDonnell to the Wheeling Diocese with the right to succeed Bishop John Joseph Swint.

Later years and death[edit]

Tridentine Masses[edit]

On March 17, 1948, McDonnell celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in honor of St. Patrick with Spellman presiding.[3] This high mass was said for St. Patrick's Cathedral's patron saint with 3,000 parishioners in attendance and was covered in the New York Times' sports section.[3]

On June 6, 1948, McDonnell presided at a solemn Pontifical Mass celebrating the golden jubilee of Monsignor John J. E. O'Brien who was the pastor of St. Agnes Church in New York, New York.[4]

Consecrations and dedications[edit]

On October 24, 1953, McDonnell consecrated Marist College's altar with the relics of two martyrs, Saints Urban and Felician, in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel.[5]

On May 16, 1954, All Saints Catholic Church was dedicated by McDonnell in Bridgeport, West Virginia.[6]

On December 15, 1957, McDonnell dedicated Sacred Heart Catholic Church's school after saying the 11:00 a.m. mass.[7] He had previously dedicated its church on May 27, 1951.[7]

McDonnell was the principal consecrator of Bishop Patrick Joseph Byrne.[2] He was the principal co-consecrator of Bishops Stephen Anthony Appelhans, John Joseph Boardman, Richard Henry Ackerman and Archbishop Leo Clement Andrew Arkfeld.[2]


McDonnell died on February 25, 1961,[2] before he was able to succeed Swint to become bishop of Wheeling. He had been a priest for 41 years and a bishop for 13 years.[2] Swint died on November 23, 1962, one year later.[8][9]


On February 25, 2010, McDonnell was remembered during a mass celebrating the 49th anniversary of his death at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph of Wheeling.[10]