Brann, Henry Athanasius

views updated


Writer, pastor; b. Parkstown, County Muth, Ireland, Aug. 15, 1837; d. New York City, Dec. 28, 1921. His parents brought him to the United States in 1849, settling in Jersey City, N.J., where Brann attended public and parochial schools. He graduated from St. Francis Xavier College, New York City, in 1857; studied at St. Mary's Seminary, Wilmington, Del., and at Issy, France; and entered the North American College in Rome in October of 1860. On June 14, 1862, he was ordained for the Diocese of Newark, N.J., and he became vice president and professor of metaphysics (186264) at Seton Hall College (now University), South Orange, N.J. Following pastorates in Jersey City and Fort Lee, N.J., he became director (1868) of the diocesan seminary in Wheeling, W.Va. In 1870 he went to New York, where Abp. John McCloskey assigned him to form St. Elizabeth's parish in the Fort Washington area. He built a church there in 1871 and one at Kingsbridge in 1877. From January of 1890 until his death he was pastor of St. Agnes Church, New York City, where he built a school, church, and rectory; bought a convent; and raised funds to endow a boys' high school. In 1910, he was made a domestic prelate by Leo XIII. Brann was a popular speaker and an ardent controversialist. He contributed regularly to leading Catholic newspapers and periodicals, and was noted for the articles against the faribault plan that he wrote in support of Abp. Michael A. Corrigan's position during the school controversy in 1897. Among his published works are Age of Unreason (1880), a reply to Robert Ingersoll and other rationalists; Life of Archbishop Hughes (1892); and History of the American College, Rome (1912).

[f. d. cohalan]