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John Patrick Carroll

John Patrick Carroll
Bishop of Helena
Bishop Carroll in the Mount Saint Charles Scholastic quarterly (1912)
ChurchCatholic Church
DioceseDiocese of Helena
AppointedSeptember 12, 1904
Term endedNovember 4, 1925 (his death)
PredecessorJean-Baptiste Brondel
SuccessorGeorge Joseph Finnigan
OrdinationJuly 7, 1889
by Édouard-Charles Fabre
ConsecrationDecember 21, 1904
by John Joseph Keane
Personal details
Born(1864-02-22)February 22, 1864
DiedNovember 4, 1925(1925-11-04) (aged 61)
Fribourg, Switzerland
EducationSt. Joseph's College

John Patrick Carroll (February 22, 1864 – November 4, 1925) was an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as bishop of the Diocese of Helena in Montana from 1904 until his death in 1925.


Early life

Carroll was born on February 22, 1864, in Dubuque, Iowa, to Martin and Catherine (née O'Farrell) Carroll, both Irish natives.[1] He received his early education at the parochial school of St. Raphael's Cathedral. Carroll then entered St. Joseph's College at age 13, graduating in 1883.[2] He studied for the priesthood at the Grand Seminary of Montreal in Montreal, Quebec, where he earned his Doctor of Divinity degree.[1]


While in Montreal, Carroll was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dubuque on July 7, 1889, by Archbishop Édouard-Charles Fabre.[3] Upon his return to Dubuque, he performed his first Mass at St. Raphael's Cathedral on July 11, 1889.[2] He was appointed to the faculty of his alma mater, St. Joseph's College, assuming the role of professor of philosophy on September 12, 1889.[1] On September 12, 1894, Carroll was promoted to president of St. Joseph's, a position he held for the next decade.[1]

Bishop of Helena

On September 12, 1904, Carroll was appointed the second bishop of the Diocese of Helena by Pope Pius X.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on December 21, 1904, from Archbishop John Keane, with Bishops Richard Scannell and Charles O'Reilly serving as co-consecrators, at St. Raphael's Cathedral.[3] He was installed on January 31, 1905..[4]

In 1904, the Diocese of Helena contained 53 priests, 65 churches, and nine parochial schools to serve 50,000 Catholics.[5] By the time of Carroll's death 21 years later, there were 104 priests, 101 churches, 24 parochial schools, and a Catholic population of 64,000.[6] During his tenure, he laid the cornerstone for the new Cathedral of Saint Helena in 1908 and established Mount St. Charles College the following year.[7][8]

Carroll was a vocal opponent of socialism, which he believed made "no allowance for the development of man's talents, intellectual gifts, his spirit of economy or his ability...Should this policy be pursued it would mean the ruin of a nation."[9] He also condemned alcohol as "the most prolific source of poverty and misery"[10] and successfully lobbied the Helena City Council to require bars to close by midnight.[11] The son of Irish immigrants, he supported the Irish Home Rule movement and served as national chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.[1]

Death and legacy

While traveling for his ad limina visit to Rome, Carroll died from a cerebral hemorrhage on November 4, 1925, while in Fribourg, Switzerland.[2] His body was shipped back to the United States and buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Helena.[12] The diocesan college, Carroll College, is named for Carroll.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e Sanders, Helen Fitzgerald (1913). A History of Montana. Vol. III. Lewis Publishing Company.
  2. ^ a b c "LOVED PRELATE TAKEN WHEN ON TRIP TO ROME". The Anaconda Standard. November 4, 1925.
  3. ^ a b c "Bishop John Patrick Carroll".
  4. ^ "BISHOP CARROLL WARMLY GREETED". The Anaconda Standard. January 31, 1905.
  5. ^ Catholic Directory, Almanac and Clergy List. M.H. Wiltzius. 1904.
  6. ^ The Official Catholic Directory. P.J. Kenedy. 1925.
  7. ^ "1905-1925 Bishop Carroll". Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena.
  8. ^ "1905-1925 Bishop Carroll |". Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  9. ^ "SOUNDS A WARNING ON SOCIALISM". The Butte Daily Post. May 6, 1907.
  11. ^ "THEY FAVOR EARLY CLOSING". The Butte Daily Post. November 30, 1907.
  12. ^ "FUNERAL RITES FOR BISHOP CARROLL TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY". The Butter Miner. November 30, 1925.
  13. ^ "History". Carroll College. August 8, 2016.
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John Patrick Carroll
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