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Bacon, David William

BACON, DAVID WILLIAM

First bishop of Portland, Maine; b. Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 15, 1813; d. New York City, Nov. 5, 1874. He was the son of William and Elizabeth (Redmond) Bacon. After study at the Sulpician College, Montreal, Canada, and Mt. St. Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., he was ordained by Archbishop Samuel Eccleston on December 13, 1838. Following parish assignments in northern New York and in New Jersey, he was sent to Brooklyn to organize the new parish of the Assumption of Our Lady, where he was pastor from 1841 to 1855. He was appointed bishop of Portland, and was consecrated by Archbishop John Hughes in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, on April 22, 1855. His diocese, which included Maine and New Hampshire, was aided by Jesuits who served Catholics in central Maine and by priests from Quebec, Canada, who ministered to Franco-Americans in northern Maine. Educational and charitable needs were met by the Sisters of Mercy, who established their first house in Manchester, N.H. (1858), and extended their work in Maine to Bangor (1865), Whitefield (1871), and Portland (1873). Bacon was a notable pulpit orator. He built the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and he attended Vatican Council I. By the time of his death, his diocese possessed 52 priests, and its Catholic population, mainly Irish-Americans and Franco-Americans, had doubled to about 80,000.

Bibliography: w. l. lucey, The Catholic Church in Maine (Francestown, N.H. 1957).

[w. l. lucey]

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