Lavelle, Michael Joseph
LAVELLE, MICHAEL JOSEPH
Vicar-general, educator; b. New York City, May 30, 1856; d. there, Oct. 17, 1939. He was the eldest of four children of Patrick and Rose (Fitzsimons) Lavelle, both Irish-born. After study at Manhattan College, New York City (A.B., 1873; M.A., 1875), he was ordained at St. Joseph's Seminary, Troy, NY, June 7, 1879, by Bp. EdgarP. Wadhams of Ogdensburg, NY. Lavelle was assigned to St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, where he spent all his priestly life and was appointed rector in May of 1887. Under his rectorship the cathedral, opened for public worship a month before his ordination, was gradually completed. Lavelle was a close friend of Abp. Michael A. Corrigan, and vicar-general (1902–18) of New York under Cardinal John Farley, and again (1934–39) under Cardinals Patrick Hayes and Francis Spellman. For half a century Lavelle was the best-known priest in the diocese, much in demand as a public speaker, and chairman of innumerable committees.
Lavelle founded Cathedral High School, the first free Catholic high school in the city, in 1905 (chartered 1910). He was one of the founders of the Catholic Summer School at Plattsburg, NY, its president (1896–1903), and chairman (1924–39) of its Board of Trustees. He founded the Catholic Institute for the Blind (now the Lavelle School for the Blind), and was one of the three organizers of the Federation of Catholic Societies, which later merged into the National Catholic Welfare Conference. He was honored as domestic prelate in 1904 and as prothonotary apostolic in 1929.
[f. d. cohalan]