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Francis Patrick McFarland

The Right Reverend

Francis Patrick McFarland
Bishop of Hartford
DioceseHartford, Connecticut
AppointedJanuary 8, 1858
PredecessorBernard O'Reilly
SuccessorThomas Galberry
OrdinationMay 18, 1845
by John Joseph Hughes
ConsecrationMarch 14, 1858
by John Joseph Hughes
Personal details
Born(1819-04-16)April 16, 1819[1]
Franklin, Pennsylvania
DiedOctober 2, 1874(1874-10-02) (aged 55)
Hartford, Connecticut
ParentsJohn McFarland and Mary McKeever
EducationMount St. Mary's College
SignatureFrancis Patrick McFarland's signature

Francis Patrick McFarland (April 16, 1819 – October 2, 1874) was an American Catholic bishop who served as the third Bishop of Hartford.


St. Patrick Old Cathedral

Francis Patrick McFarland was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania on April 16, 1819. His parents, John McFarland and Mary McKeever, emigrated from Armagh, and took up farming near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Francis was employed as teacher in the village school, but soon entered Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he graduated with high honours and was retained as teacher.[2] The following year, 1845, he was ordained, May 18, at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in New York by Archbishop Hughes, who immediately detailed the young priest to a professor's chair at St. John's College, Fordham. McFarland, from his college, made missionary journeys among scattered Catholics, frequently attending sick calls in Stamford, Connecticut.[3]

Preferring pastoral work to teaching, he was assigned as an assistant to the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, before being appointed to the missions based out of St. Mary's Church in Watertown, New York in 1846. The Diocese of Albany was split from New York in 1847. In March 1851, he was transferred by his new ordinary, Bishop John McCloskey of Albany, to St. John's Church, Utica.[4]

McFarland was appointed Vicar-Apostolic of Florida, March 9, 1857 but declined this, only to be elected Bishop of Hartford, to succeed Bishop Bernard O'Reilly who had died at sea, returning from Europe, in the sinking of the SS Pacific.[5] He was consecrated at St. Patrick's Church, Providence, Rhode Island March 14, 1858, by Archbishop Hughes of New York; the sermon was given by Bishop McCloskey of Albany. McFarland resided in Providence, as had his predecessor, until the division of his diocese in 1872 which created a separate Diocese of Providence from that of Hartford.[2]

Failing health prompted him, while attending the First Vatican Council, to resign his see. His colleagues of the American episcopate would not hear of such a step. By dividing the diocese it was hoped that his burden would be sufficiently lightened. He left Providence for Hartford February 28, 1872. After reorganizing his diocese he immediately set about the erection of a cathedral by purchasing the old Morgan estate on Farmington Avenue.[6] He introduced into the diocese the Franciscan Friars, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, who settled at Winsted, Connecticut; the Christian Brothers, The Sisters of Charity, and the Congregation De Notre Dame.[3] He also built a convent near the cathedral for the Sisters of Mercy. The convent's St. Joseph Chapel served as the diocesan pro-cathedral until the Cathedral of St. Joseph was built.

McFarland died in Hartford on the evening of October 2, 1874, aged 55.[2] Initially buried on the grounds of the pro-cathedral, his remains were moved to cathedral crypt in 1892.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Rooney, James A. "Early Times in the Diocese of Hartford, Conn., 1829-1874." The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 1, no. 2, Catholic University of America Press, 1915, pp. 148–63Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b c Duggan, Thomas. "Francis Patrick McFarland", The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. August 19, 2019 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b c O'Donnell, James H., History of the Diocese of Hartford, D. H. Hurd Company, 1900, p. 149Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ New York Daily Tribune, (New York, NY); Tuesday, October 13, 1874; p. 5, col. 1
  5. ^ Shea, John Gilmary. "Rt. Rev. Francis Patrick McFarland", The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States, Office of Catholic Publications, 1886Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ ""The Cathedral of Saint Joseph", Archdiocese of Hartford". Archived from the original on August 19, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2019.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Francis Patrick McFarland". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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Francis Patrick McFarland
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