First bishop of Brooklyn, N.Y., diocese; b. County Down, Northern Ireland, Dec. 20, 1817; d. Brooklyn,N.Y., Dec. 29, 1891. His parents, John, a tenant farmer, and Mary (McNulty) Loughlin, immigrated to the United States around 1830 and settled in Albany, N.Y. Loughlin attended Albany Academy, conducted by the classicist Dr. Peter Bullion, and St. Peter's College, Chambly, Montreal, Canada. In February of 1834 he entered the Nyack Seminary, and in October enrolled as a seminarian-tutor at Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Md. After a year at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, he was ordained by Bishop John Hughes in old St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, on Oct. 18, 1840. He served as curate at St. John's Parish, Utica, until January of 1841, when he was transferred to St. Patrick's Cathedral, where he became rector in 1844 and vicar-general of the diocese in 1849.
On July 29, 1853, Pius IX erected Long Island as the Diocese of Brooklyn and appointed John Loughlin its ordinary. He was consecrated on October 30 in St. Patrick's Cathedral and installed at St. James, Brooklyn, the mother church of the new diocese, on November 9. Loughlin's pioneer work laid a strong foundation for the future importance of his see. He was under constant pressure from immigration, the unceasing demand for churches, schools, and charitable agencies, and a shortage of priests, religious, and financial resources. Although he planned a cathedral with the architect Patrick keely, his parishioner, and laid its cornerstone in 1868, the need for orphanages and hospitals prevented its completion.
Loughlin was the second oldest bishop at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884) and one of very few who had attended the First and Second Councils in 1852 and 1866 respectively. In 1864, 1873, and again in 1880, he was among the candidates proposed by his fellow suffragans for the archiepiscopal See of New York, but each time he declined the honor.
Bibliography: j. k. sharp, Priests and Parishes of the Diocese of Brooklyn, 1820–1944 (New York 1944); History of the Diocese of Brooklyn, 1853–1953, 2 v. (New York 1954).
[j. k. sharp]