Maguire, Charles Bonaventure

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Missionary; b. Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland, December 16, 1768; d. Pittsburgh, Pa., July 17, 1833. Maguire, a priest of the Order of Friars Minor, studied at the Catholic University, Louvain, Belgium, and taught theology at the College of St. Isidore, Rome. For eight years he ministered to the Germans in the Netherlands, narrowly escaping death at the hands of French Revolutionists and Napoleon's troops. In 1817 he arrived in the U.S. as a missionary apostolic with faculties from Cardinal Lorenzo Litta, Prefect of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide. These faculties were endorsed by Ambrose Maréchal, Archbishop of Baltimore, whereupon the missionary was sent to Ebensburg in western pennsylvania. He was soon appointed to succeed the German Capuchin, Rev. Peter Helbron, as pastor of Sportsman's Hall. In 1820 Maguire's name was recommended by the hierarchy of Ireland as a suitable candidate for a bishopric in the U.S, but he was instead chosen to replace Rev. William F. X. O'Brien as pastor of St. Patrick's Church, Pittsburgh. Under Maguire's guidance the Catholic population of Pittsburgh increased in the 1820s to about 4,000 and baptisms for the decade numbered 1,214. With the influx of German Catholic immigrants into the area, Maguire decided on a second church for the Catholics of Pittsburgh. He bought property at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Grant Street and on June 29, 1829, he laid the cornerstone of what the newspapers called "the cathedral." He did not live to see the completion of the church. The church, dedicated under the patronage of St. Paul the Apostle on May 4, 1834, became the cathedral of the newly erected Diocese of pittsburgh on August 11, 1843. Maguire's zeal won the admiration of the Catholics and non-Catholics of Pittsburgh, as his learning won him a professorship at the academy that became the University of Pittsburgh. In 1825, he published a representative apologetic: A Defense of the Divinity of Jesus Christ and of the Mystery of the Real Presence.

Bibliography: a. a. lambing, A History of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Allegheny (New York 1880).

[d. f. sweeney]