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McFarland, Francis Patrick


Third bishop of Hartford, Connecticut; b. Franklin, Pennsylvania, April 16, 1819; d. Hartford, Oct. 2, 1874. After attending Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, he was ordained on May 18, 1845, by bishop John Hughes of New York in old St. Patrick's Cathedral there. He became an instructor at St. John's College, Fordham, New York, and then did pastoral work in Watertown (St. Patrick's) and Utica (St. John's), New York. In 1858, after declining the appointment as vicar apostolic of Florida (1857), he was named bishop of Hartford and consecrated on March 14 in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Providence, Rhode Island (then part of the Hartford Diocese and the city of Episcopal residence). Despite poor health (because of which he sought permission to resign or to be given a coadjutor) and primitive traveling conditions, he visited parishes throughout the diocese and attended Vatican Council I (186970). Under the missionary conditions of his diocese he had to function primarily as a pioneer and consolidator; he was successful in obtaining the services of several religious communities expert in education and social service and was instrumental in securing the enactment of a useful state statute concerning the incorporation of Church property. When Providence was made an independent see (Feb. 16, 1872), McFarland returned the episcopal seat to Hartford. Almost immediately he set out to build a convent for the Sisters of Mercy; the convent chapel, dedicated on Nov. 29, 1873, less than a year before his death, became the procathedral for the diocese's approximately 120,000 Catholics.

Bibliography: r. h. lord et al., History of the Archdiocese of Boston in the Various Stages of Its Development, 16041943, 3 v. (New York 1944). j. h. o'donnell, History of the Diocese of Hartford (Boston 1900).

[d. q. liptak]

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