Byrne, William

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Educator, author; b. Kilmessan, County Meath, Ireland, Sept. 8, 1833; d. Boston, Mass. Jan. 9, 1912. After immigrating to the United States in 1853, he attended St. Mary's College, Wilmington, Del., and Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Md., where he received his M.A.(1861) and taught mathematics and Greek. He was ordained on Dec. 31, 1864, for the Diocese of Boston, and was named diocesan chancellor (1866) and rector (1874) of St. Mary's Church, Charlestown, Mass. During this period, he began his lifelong activity on behalf of penal reforms, founded the Boston Temperance Missions, and edited the Young Crusader. At the request of Cardinal John McCloskey and Abp. (later Cardinal) James Gibbons, Byrne was elected in 1881 as the 12th president of Mt. St. Mary's College. As president and treasurer, he successfully rescued the institution from the financial difficulties that had threatened to close its doors. In 1884 he returned to Boston as rector of St. Joseph's Church, but he continued until his death as a member of the college's governing council. Byrne contributed frequently to both the secular and Catholic press, and he wrote several religious manuals in addition to a History of the Catholic Church in the New England States (1899). Georgetown College (now University), Washington, D.C., awarded him a doctor of divinity degree in 1881, and the library of Mt. St. Mary's College is named in his honor.

Bibliography: m. m. meline and e. f. x. mcsweeney, The Story of the Mountain: Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary, 2v. (Emmitsburg, Md. 1911).

[h. j. phillips]

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Byrne, William

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