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Rt. Rev. John Patrick Farrelly, D. D.
To offer in a work of this province an adequate résume of the honored career of the subject of this sketch would be impossible, but, as one who has conserved and stimulated and furthered the moral and spiritual life of his section of the State, he may well find consideration in the noting of the more salient points that have marked his life and labors. He has long been a prominent and influential figure in the great mother church which he so ably represents, and his record is too familiar to require any fulsome encomium here, his life speaking for itself in stronger terms than his biographer could employ in polished periods. Broad-minded, scholarly, eloquent, he has long been noted as a pulpit speaker of more than ordinary force and power; possessing executive and administrative ability of high order, he has so conducted the affairs of his diocese as to win the hearty approval of his ecclesiastical superiors, while, in private life, his generosity, charity, and kindliness of heart have endeared him to all with whom he has come in contact.
John Patrick Farrelly, fourth bishop of Cleveland, is a Southerner by birth, having been ushered into this world at Memphis, Tennessee, on March 15, 1856. However, in his veins there also flows Northern blood, for, on the paternal line, his forbears resided in Pennsylvania, his grandfather, Col. Terrence Farrelly, having resided in Pittsburgh, while his grand-uncle, Patrick Farrelly, who lived in Meadville, Pennsylvania, married a daughter of General Mead, the founder of that city. Col. Terrence Farrelly, who was distinguished as a lawyer and jurist, moved from Pittsburgh to Arkansas and there wrote the first constitution of the State of Arkansas. His son and the father of the bishop was John P. Farrelly, who also gained high standing in the legal profession, and locating in Tennessee, represented the city of Memphis in the State Legislature, being a member of the historic "Long Legislature" (so called on account of the length of the session, 1859-1861), in which the question of separation from the Union was discussed. Mr. Farrelly was among those who opposed separation. John P. Farrelly married Martha Clay Moore, whose ancestors came to this country in the early part of the eighteenth century, settling in North Carolina and Virginia. Of these two families, the Clays and the Moores, there are still representatives of the former in Kentucky and of the latter in North Carolina.
John Patrick Farrelly, the immediate subject of this review, spent his boyhood days in his native city, and at the out break of the Civil War he was taken to his grandfather's home, known as the "Mound Grove Plantation," on the Arkansas River. After the close of the hostilities he attended school two years in Tennessee and Kentucky, and then for a time was again in Arkansas, later attending school again in Kentucky. Being ambitious for his future career, he then entered seriously upon his educational training, studying classics for three years at Georgetown College. His classical education was completed at the College of Notre Dame de la Paix, Namur, Belgium, where he was graduated in 1875. He then entered the American College at Rome, where he studied philosophy and theology, and, at the conclusion of a brilliant course, received the Doctorate in Sacred Theology. On May 22, 1880, in Lateran, Basilica, he was ordained priest by Cardinal Monaco Lavalletta, and after some time spent in study and travel in the Holy Land, he returned to his native country and was assigned to the work of assistant at the cathedral in the city of Nashville, October 5, 1882. In the following June, Bishop Rademacher was consecrated Bishop of Nashville, and made Doctor Farrelly his chancellor, and later, rector of the cathedral. On September 25, 1887, Doctor Farrelly was called to Rome, where he was engaged as secretary to the American bishops until the position was abolished. From 1894 until his appointment to the see of Cleveland, he was spiritual director of the American College of Rome, where he enjoyed the love of the students and the confidence of his superiors. He was honored with the dignity of Private Chamberlain, with the title of Monsignor by Leo XIII., and enjoyed the same distinction under Pius X.
On March 16, 1909, Doctor Farrelly was notified of his appointment to the see of Cleveland and on the first of the following May his consecration took place in the chapel of the American College, Rome, by Cardinal Gotti, Prefect of the Propaganda, assisted by Bishop Morris, of Little Rock, and Bishop Kennedy, Titular of Adrianople and rector of the American College. On June 13, Bishop Farrelly was formally installed at Cleveland and took official possession of the cathedral, the ceremony being attended by distinguished prelates and clergy from this and the other dioceses, as well as a large congregation of the laity and religious orders, the scene being one of befitting splendor. Following this formal service, in the afternoon there was an immense parade of Catholic men form all parts of the diocese, as a tribute of welcome to the Bishop, while in the evening the clergy of the diocese, with many distinguished visitors, met the Bishop at a dinner given in his honor. On June 14, a public reception was held at the Colonial Club, where an immense outpouring of Catholics met to greet their Bishop. On June 21, the Feast of St Aloysius, a reception for the children was held, at which they were addressed by the Bishop, who gave to them his blessing and to each child a souvenir.
Though not old in years, Bishop Farrelly has evidenced the possession of ripe judgement and wise discrimination in his conduct of affairs of the diocese, and, by his energy, ability, and zeal, has brought to the diocese an unequalled degree of prosperity and success. He has himself been an example for zeal and earnestness and clergy and laity alike are warm in their words of praise for the splendid work being accomplished by Bishop Farrelly.
Personally, Bishop Farrelly is genial and approachable, a splendid conversationalist and pleasing companion, and socially he enjoys a large circle of warm and loyal friends in the diocese. Aside from the particular diocesan interests, the Bishop also takes a commendable interest in everything that affects the civic welfare of the community, standing always for the highest standard of living and withholding his support from no movement which promises to promote the welfare of his fellow men. Not only has the Catholic church honored Bishop Farrelly, but he has honored his church by a life of consecration and devotion to his sacred mission, and because of his attainments and accomplishments, he is eminently entitled to representation among the leaders of thought and action in his State.
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