Msgr. J. S. O’Connor

My grandfather’s oldest brother was Jeremiah Stephen O’Connor, who for most of his life went by “J. S.” He was the first child of Matthew Patrick O’Connor and Mary Doyle. He was born 2 Dec 1868 in Osgoode, Ontario and baptized on 6 Dec at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa.
The details of his youth and travels are not known in any great detail .. for example, how did he end up in Dallas TX in the USA?

Update: with records from the seminary, I discovered the answer! J.S. was a fine student, but he developed the family affliction (which seems genetic, as I developed it at the same age, late 30s) — deafness in the left ear ..

This meant that without a special “dispensation” for this defect, he couldn’t be ordained. He was unable to find a bishop willing to ordain him .. so he stayed on at the seminary in Sherbrooke, teaching Latin and Greek, hoping to find a receptive bishop ..

Finally, the new, young bishop of a recently created diocese in Texas — it was the diocese of Dallas but also encompassed Fort Worth, both rural boom towns — came to the seminary looking for seminarians who might be interesting in joining him in his work in establishing new parishes and creating the diocese ..

He agreed to have J.S. ordained .. first deacon, right there in Sherbrooke .. and then to head down to Dallas for ordination to priesthood ..

The bishop chose J.S. as his secretary, and in a year also made him rector of the Cathedral Church ..

Family members haveitems from his life as a Catholic priest that indicate he was ordained at age 35, on 10 July 1904, by Dallas TX Bishop Edward Joseph Dunne, in the recently completed Cathedral church in Dallas.

His first assignment as a priest, in 1905, was to serve as an assistant in the Cathedral. In a few years, the Bishop appointed him (in 1909) as the Administrator and Rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was also the bishop’s secretary and the Chancellor (1909-1912).

When Bishop Dunne died unexpectedly in 1911, it was another priest in the Chancery offices, Joseph Patrick Lynch, the Vicar General, who was chosen as the next bishop of Dallas … and J.S. disappeared from the Chancery and Dallas.

The new bishop named J.S. pastor of Holy Name of Jesus parish, in Fort Worth, TX. He served there as pastor from 1912 to his death in 1942.

Eventually, Bishop Lynch named him to the Board of Diocesan Consultors, a sort of privy council, and he served as a member for 20 years — 1922-1942.

In 1929, age 61, on the 25th anniversary of his ordination, he was named a monsignor.
Throughout his priesthood, J.S. returned home often to Ottawa and performed family baptisms and weddings. In fact, he performed the marriage of my grandfather and grandmother, Daniel Patrick O’Connor and Gertrude Pearl Dolan.

J.S. died at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Ft. Worth, TX on 4 Nov 1942, succumbing to cancer of the intestine. He is buried in the plot reserved for priests of the Dallas diocese at Fort Worth, TX.

One Comment

  1. Js oconnor my great uncle was in line for a posting to Rome at the Vatican and a promotion to Cardinal, unfortunately he passed away before that happened.


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