“He Has Seen Much Service.”

They really do go in threes. Today also marks the death of John Loughlin, Brooklyn’s first Bishop, in 1891 at age 74. Known as the “Good Old Man” among his priests, until his final illness he preferred to do all his work himself, without even a secretary. Some said he carried the Chancery around in his hatband throughout his 38 years as Bishop. In his later years, the Brooklyn Eagle described him as “a stout, middle sized man with ruddy face and snow white hair, whose clerical garb indicates he is a member of the priesthood; and yet would not indicate that he is one of the best known pillars of the Catholic Church in America; for like its owner it has seen much service.” By the time of his silver jubilee, a local paper said that Brooklyn “might well be called a Catholic city. The Roman Church here has more houses of worship than any other… Most of these Brooklyn Churches are large and costly, and many of them are magnificent in architecture and decorations.” When he arrived, he found a handful of churches and schools. By 1891, there were 131 parishes, 66 parochial schools, 20 high schools, 5 hospitals, 24 orphanages, two colleges, and a seminary. A local paper reported that Loughlin had made Brooklyn “the envy of every other diocese throughout the land.”

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