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Dennis Joseph Dougherty (August 16, 1865May 31, 1951) was an Americanmarker prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1918 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1921.

Early life and ministry

The fourth of ten children, Dennis Dougherty was born in Ashlandmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, to Patrick (a coal miner) and Bridget (née Henry) Dougherty. His parents, both of whom hailed from County Mayomarker, Irelandmarker, referred to him as "Dinny". He was baptized by Fr. Michael Sheridan at St. Joseph Church in Ashland, and received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Archbishop James Frederick Wood. Dougherty spent his summer vacations joining his father in the coal mines, as a breaker boy. In 1879, he passed the entrance examinations for St. Charles Borromeo Seminarymarker in Wynnewoodmarker but was denied enrollment due to his young age. He then studied at the Sainte-Marie College, run by the Jesuits, in Montrealmarker, Canadamarker, for two years before returning to Pennsylvania and finally entering St. Charles. He was sent by Archbishop Patrick John Ryan to Romemarker in 1885 to study at the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum De Propaganda Fide, from where he obtained his doctorate in theology.

Dougherty was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Lucido Parocchi on May 31, 1890, in the Lateran Basilicamarker. Upon his return to the United Statesmarker, he taught Latin, English, history, and theology at St. Charles Seminary until 1903. He was an archdiocesan official of Philadelphiamarker during this time as well, serving as fiscal promoter, prosynodal examiner, and procurator.

Episcopal career

Bishop of Nueva Segovia, Jaro, and Buffalo

On June 12, 1903, Dougherty was appointed the thirtieth Bishop of Nueva Segovia, in the Philippinesmarker, by Pope Leo XIII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 14 from Cardinal Francesco Satolli, with Cardinal Pietro Gasparri and Archbishop Enrico Grazioli serving as co-consecrators, in Rome. Dougherty faced heavy opposition from Gregorio Aglipay and his followers, known as the Philippine Independent Church, upon arriving in the Philippines. He returned the cathedral in Vigan Citymarker, which had hitherto been occupied by the Aglipayans, to the Diocese of Nueva Segovia, and reopened and reconsecrated many churches that had been taken by the Aglipayans as well. Dougherty would also ride on horseback and in canoe to carry out his ministry, which including confirming children, visiting a leper colony, and opening schools and missions. He was named the fifth Bishop of Jaro on April 19, 1908. After twelve years in the Philippines, he returned to his native country upon being made the fifth Bishop of Buffalo, New Yorkmarker, on December 6, 1915. In Buffalomarker, the Bishop liquidated its $1,100,000 debt on a new cathedral, reorganized Catholic schools and charities, and established fifteen new parishes.

Archbishop of Philadelphia

Dougherty was promoted to the fourth Archbishop of Philadelphia on May 1, 1918. Succeeding the late Edmond Francis Prendergast, he was installed as Archbishop on July 10 of that year. Pope Benedict XV created him Cardinal Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleomarker in the consistory of March 7, 1921, thus making him Philadelphia's first Archbishop to be made a cardinal. Dougherty was delayed by weather as he sailed to Rome to attend the papal conclave of 1922, and arrived after Pope Pius XI had already been elected. He raised nearly $100,000 to support the Irish in their war for independence.

The Cardinal convinced President Manuel L. Quezon to renounce Freemasonry for Catholicism in 1934, served as papal legate to the thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress in Manilamarker on January 1, 1937, and participated in the conclave of 1939, which selected Pope Pius XII. On behalf of American Catholics during World War II, he once stated, "Like our fellow American citizens we will do our utmost to protect our country by winning the war, that end we place at the disposal of our government everything in our possession". Dougherty later served as papal legate again to the National Eucharistic Congress in St. Paulmarker, Minnesotamarker, on June 8, 1941. During his thirty-three-year-long tenure as Archbishop, he oversaw the establishment of 106 parishes, 75 churches, 146 schools, seven nursing homes, and seven orphanages; he became known as "The Great Builder" for these efforts.

He also held membership in the Congregations for the Sacraments, for Sacred Rites, for the Oriental Church, and for the Propagation of Faith in the Roman Curia, and was once director of the Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America.

Dougherty died from a stroke in Philadelphia, at age 85, shortly after celebrating a Mass marking the sixty-first anniversary of his priestly ordination. He is buried in the Cathedral-Basilica of Ss.marker Peter and Paulmarker.


  1. Cardinal Dougherty High School. Biography of Cardinal Dougherty
  2. TIME Magazine. On the Luneta February 15, 1937
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. TIME Magazine. The Churches and the War December 22, 1941.
  6. TIME Magazine. Catholic Drys August 30, 1943
  7. TIME Magazine. Milestones June 11, 1951

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