Famous Irish American Clergy

During the 19th century, Ireland had such an abundance of priests that Irish bishops directed thousands of seminary graduates to go into mission work, primarily to the United States.  Starting in the 1830s, a wave of Irish priests descended upon the Northeastern United States, and immigration of Irish priests continued through the great waves of Irish immigration over the next several decades.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Irish priests were the most common foreign-born priests in the U.S., with about 4,000 coming in the decades after 1840. By the mid-1800s, 59% of priests in the diocese of New York were Irish-born.  At the start of the twentieth century, 62% of American bishops were Irish-American, more than half of whom were Irish-born. By the 1940s and 1950s, 80% of the priests in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles were Irish-born.

The following is a list of famous Irish American priests, Irish American ministers, Irish American bishops and Irish American cardinals.

Also See:
Bernard F. Casey
Andrew M. Greeley (1928–) | Roman Catholic priest, journalist, fiction writer and Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona who writes for the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Times, National Catholic Reporter, America, and Commonweal

Bernard Francis Casey (1870–1957) | Capuchin priest who was the first United States-born man formally to be declared "Venerable" by the Roman Catholic church and is now a candidate for beatification

Charles Cardwell McCabe (1836–1906) | Methodist pastor and Army chaplain during the American Civil War who became Chancellor of American University and Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church

Daniel P. Coughlin (1934–) | 59th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives and the first Roman Catholic priest to serve in that position

Dennis Joseph Dougherty (1865–1951) | Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1918 until his death in 1951 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Edmond Francis Prendergast (1843–1918) | Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1911 until his death in 1918

Edward Aloysius Mooney (1882–1958) | Archbishop of Detroit from 1937 until his death in 1958 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Edward Joseph Flanagan (1886–1948) | Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Boys Town orphanage and center for troubled youth

Edward M. Egan
Edward Michael Egan (1932–) | Archbishop of New York from 2000 to 2009 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Francis Joseph Spellman (1889–1967) | Sixth Archbishop of New York from 1939 to 1967 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Francis Makemie (1658–1708) | Considered to be the founder of Presbyterianism in the United States

Francis Murphy (1836–1907) | American temperance evangelist who served in the Federal army during the Civil War and was a chaplain in the Spanish-American War

Francis Patrick Duffy (1871–1932) | Catholic priest, Lieutenant Colonel and chaplain of the 69th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army who became the most highly decorated cleric in the history of the U.S. Army and is honored with Duffy Square in New York City

Francis Patrick Keough (1890–1961) | Archbishop of Baltimore from 1947 to 1961

Francis Xavier Ford (1892–1952) | Roman Catholic bishop and Maryknoll missionary in China who is considered a martyr due to his torture and murder by the Communist Chinese in 1952 and whose cause for canonization is pending

Fulton J. Sheen
Fulton John Sheen (1895–1979) | Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church who won an Emmy for his work on television for such shows as Life Is Worth Living (1951–1957) and The Fulton Sheen Program (1961–1968)

Harry Joseph Flynn (1933–) | Archbishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

James Augustine Healy (1830–1900) | Mixed-race prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who became the first African American Roman Catholic priest and the first African American Roman Catholic bishop in the United States

James Edward Quigley (1854—1915) | Archbishop of Chicago from 1903 to 1915

James Francis Aloysius McIntyre (1886–1979) | Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1948 to 1970 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

James Francis Stafford (1932–) | Archbishop of Denver from 1986 to 1996 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

James Gibbons (1834–1921) | Archbishop of Baltimore who became the second American to be elected Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

James Hugh Ryan (1886–1947) | Rector of the Catholic University of America and Archbishop of Omaha from 1935 to 1947

James Joseph Byrne (1908–1996) | Archbishop of Dubuque from 1962 to 1983

John A. Ryan
John Augustine Ryan (1865–1945) | Moral theologian, priest, and professor who supported a number of social reforms that were eventually incorporated into the New Deal and the modern welfare state, including his advocacy of a minimum wage

John Baptist Purcell (1800–1883) | Archbishop of Cincinnati from 1850 to his death in 1883

John Bernard Fitzpatrick (1812–1866) | Bishop of Boston from 1846 until his death in 1866

John Carroll (1735–1815) | Founder of Georgetown University and the first Roman Catholic bishop and archbishop in the United States

John Courtney Murray (1904–1967) | Jesuit priest and theologian who played a key role during the Second Vatican Council in persuading the assembly of the Catholic bishops to adopt the Council's ground-breaking Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae

John Francis Cronin | Roman Catholic priest who opposed Communism during the McCarthy era and advocated increased civil rights for all Americans

John Gregory Murray (1877–1956) | Archbishop of Saint Paul from 1931 until his death in 1956

John Hennessy (1825–1900) | Bishop of Dubuque from 1866–1893 who was elevated to Archbishop of Dubuque in 1893

John Ireland (1838–1918) | Archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota from 1888 to 1918

John J. Cavanaugh (1899–1979) | Priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross and 14th president of the University of Notre Dame who was the personal priest of the Kennedy family and one of the three priests serving at J.F.K.'s funeral

John Joseph Cantwell (1874–1947) | Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles

John Joseph Glennon (1862–1946) | Archbishop of St. Louis from 1903 until his death in 1946 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

John Joseph Hogan (1829–1913) | Roman Catholic priest and missionary in Missouri during the American Civil War era who became the first Bishop of the Dioceses of Saint Joseph, Missouri and Kansas City, Missouri

John Joseph Hughes (1797–1864) | Archbishop of New York from 1842 until his death in 1864

John M. Corridan
John M. Corridan (1911–1984) | Jesuit priest who fought against corruption and organized crime on the New York City waterfront and became the inspiration for the character of "Father Barry" in the classic film, On the Waterfront (1954)

John McCloskey (1810–1885) | Archbishop of New York from 1864 until his death in 1885 who became the first American cardinal in 1875

John Murphy Farley (1842–1918) | Archbishop of New York from 1902 until his death in 1918 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

John Patrick Cody (1907–1982) | Archbishop of New Orleans from 1964 to 1965, Archbishop of Chicago from 1965 to 1982, and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

John Patrick Foley (1935–) | Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem who provided commentary for American television viewers of the Christmas Midnight Mass from St Peter's Basilica, Rome

John Samuel Foley (1833–1918) | Bishop of Detroit from 1888 until his death in 1918, the longest tenure in the history of the Archdiocese of Detroit

John Timothy McNicholas (1877–1950) | Dominican who served as Archbishop of Cincinnati from 1925 to 1950

Joseph Thomas McGucken (1902–1983) | Archbishop of San Francisco from 1962 to 1977

Joseph O'Callahan
Joseph Timothy O'Callahan (1905–1964) | Jesuit priest and World War II United States Navy chaplain who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during an attack on his aircraft carrier, the USS Franklin

Lawrence Joseph Shehan (1898–1984) | Archbishop of Baltimore from 1961 to 1974 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Michael Francis Egan (1761–1814) | First Bishop of Philadelphia, serving from 1808 until his death in 1814

Michael J. McGivney (1852–1890) | Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Knights of Columbus.

Michael Joseph Curley (1879–1947) | Tenth Archbishop of Baltimore from 1921 to 1947 and First Archbishop of Washington from 1939 to 1947

Mychal F. Judge
Mychal F. Judge (1933–2001) | Catholic priest and Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York who became the first certified fatality of the September 11, 2001 attacks

Norman James O'Connor (1921–2003) | Roman Catholic priest known as "The Jazz Priest" because of his involvement in jazz music; hosted a syndicated radio show and local TV show "Dial M for Music" on WCBS-TV in New York

Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle (1896–1987) | Archbishop of Washington from 1948 to 1973 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Patrick Augustine Feehan (1829–1902) | Archbishop of Chicago between 1880 and 1902, when the church in Chicago was elevated to an archdiocese

Patrick Francis Healy (1830–1910) | First American with African ancestry to earn a PhD, the first to become a Jesuit priest; and the first to be president of a predominantly white college when he became the 29th President of Georgetown following the American Civil War

Patrick John Ryan (1831–1911) | Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1884 until his death in 1911

Patrick Peyton (1909–1992) | Roman Catholic priest, devout promoter of the works & inspirations of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the founder of the post-World War II prayer movement "Family Rosary Crusade”

Patrick William Riordan (1841–1914) | Archbishop of San Francisco from 1884 until his death in 1914

Paul John Hallinan (1911–1968) | Archbishop of Atlanta from 1962 to 1968 who was known as a champion of racial equality and liturgical reform

Raymond Leo Burke (1948–) | Archbishop of St. Louis from 2003 to 2008 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Richard J. Cushing
Richard James Cushing (1895–1970) | Archbishop of Boston from 1944 to 1970 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Roger Michael Mahony (1936–) | Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Samuel Alphonsius Stritch (1887–1958) | Archbishop of Chicago from 1940 to 1958 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Samuel Finley (1715–1766) | Evangelical Presbyterian preacher and academic who founded the West Nottingham Academy and was the fifth president and an original trustee of the College of New Jersey (later known as Princeton University)

Se├ín Patrick O'Malley (1944–) | Archbishop of Boston and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Terence James Cooke (1921–1983) | Archbishop of New York from 1968 until his death in 1983 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930–) | Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Thomas Joseph Walsh (1873–1952) | Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey from 1937 until his death in 1952

Timothy Manning (1909–1989) | Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1970 to 1985 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Timothy Dolan
Timothy Michael Dolan (1950–) | Archbishop of New York from 2009 and Archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009

William Corby (1833–1897) | Priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross best known for his giving general absolution to the Irish Brigade on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and later became President of the University of Notre Dame

William Henry Keeler (1931–) | Archbishop of Baltimore from 1989 to 2007 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

William Henry O'Connell (1859–1944) | Archbishop of Boston from 1907 until his death in 1944 and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

William Joseph Levada (1936–) | Archbishop of Portland from 1986 to 1995, Archbishop of San Francisco from 1995 to 2005, and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, becoming the highest ranking American in the Roman Curia

William O'Malley (1931–) | Jesuit priest, author, and actor best known for his portrayal of Father Dyer in film, The Exorcist (1973)