The One and Only

Today marks the birth of Michael Domenec, the one and only Bishop of the Diocese of Allegheny. Born in Spain, he joined the Vincentians and was ordained in 1839. He spent most of the next twenty years in America teaching seminarians, until he was named Pittsburgh’s second bishop. The first, Michael O’Connor, gave up his mitre to become a Jesuit. Father Francis Xavier Seelos, the German Redemptorist recently beatified, turned it down. A bit on the authoritarian side, Domenec had difficulties with clergy who considered him an unwelcome imposition. In 1876, at his request, Allegheny was broken off from Pittsburgh, which he argued was too large for one man to administer. Father John Tuigg took Pittsburgh, and Domenec (gladly, it seems) took the smaller diocese. A year later Domenec retired from his new diocese to Spain, where he died in early 1878. Bishop Tuigg administered the new diocese until it was reunited with Pittsburgh in 1889. Allegheny is now a titular see, the current holder being Newark Auxiliary Bishop John J. Flesey. The only other American diocese to be suppressed was Walla Walla (1846-1853).
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