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Byrne, Andrew


Bishop; b. Navan, County Meath, Ireland, Dec. 3?, 1802; d. Helena, Ark., June 10, 1862. In 1820 he arrived in the U.S. from the diocesan seminary at Navan as a volunteer to work in the newly created Diocese of Charleston, S.C. After finishing his studies under the tutelage of Bp. John England, he was ordained at Charleston Nov. 11, 1827. He worked as a missionary until 1830, when he was made pastor of St. Mary's Church, Charleston. For several years he was vicar-general of Charleston, and he served as England's theologian at the Second Provincial Council of Baltimore (1833). Because of a disagreement with England, Byrne moved in 1836 to New York, where he held, successively, pastorates in several parishes. When the Diocese of little rock, comprising the state of Arkansas and the Indian Territory, was created in 1843, Byrne was named its first bishop. He was consecrated on March 10, 1844, in New York by Bp. John Hughes. With fewer than 1,000 Catholics in Arkansas, Byrne became active in promoting immigration to the Southwest. Twice he went to Ireland to seek co-workers for his diocese, and in 1851 he welcomed the Sisters of Mercy from Dublin. He took part in both the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1846) and the First Provincial Council of New Orleans (1856).

Bibliography: The History of Catholicity in Arkansas (Little Rock 1925). r. h. clarke, Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the U.S., 4 v. (New York 187289) v.2. j. d. hackett, Bishops of the United States of Irish Birth or Descent (New York 1936).

[a. a. micek]

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