Archbishop Edmond F. Prendergast, Philadelphia (1843-1918)

Archbishop Edmond F. Prendergast, Philadelphia (1843-1918) June 18, 2011

Archbishop of Philadelphia Succumbs to Diabetes After Three Months’ Illness.
Former Vicar General Succeeded Archbishop Ryan Upon His Death in 1910.
The New York Times, February 27, 1910

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 26— The Most Rev. Edmond Francis Prendergast, Archbishop of Philadelphia, died at the archiepiscopal residence here tonight of diabetes. He was stricken on Dec. 15 last, and had been confined to his bed virtually ever since. He was in his seventy-fifth year.

Born in Clonmell, Tipperary, Ireland, on May 5, 1843, Edmond Francis Prendergast came to this country in his seventeenth year, and six years later, in the very cathedral in which he later received news of his elevation to an Archbishopric, he was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church upon the completion of his course at the ecclesiastical seminary of St. Charles Borromeo, Philadelphia.

He served in various charges in Eastern Pennsylvania, and in 1874 he was made rector of St. Malachy’s Church, Philadelphia, of which he remained the nominal rector until 1911, when he became Archbishop. In February, 1897, he was consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as an aid to Archbishop Ryan, who, three years later, appointed the new Bishop administrator of the archdiocese to take effect at the death of the Archbishop.

After the death of Archbishop Ryan, during the time Bishop Prendergast was administering the affairs of the archdiocese, news came from Rome that he had been appointed to succeed his superior, who died February 11, 1910. His appointment caused great surprise in Rome, as it was generally understood and expected, both in ecclesiastical and lay circles there, that Mgr. Kennedy, the rector of the American College in Rome, would be chosen Archbishop.

As Metropolitan of Philadelphia, Archbishop Prendergast was superior to five Suffragan Bishops, whose sees were in Pittsburgh, Scranton, Altoona, and Harrisburg. Once seen, Archbishop Prendergast would never be forgotten. He was probably the tallest prelate of the Catholic Church in this country.

Archbishop Prendergast was the third Archbishop of Philadelphia and seventh in the series of prelates who have occupied the See established by Pope Pius VII in 1808. When he was Auxiliary Bishop, Archbishop Prendergast had the title of Bishop of Scillio. He had also held the office of Vicar General.

Archbishop Prendergast was one of seven brothers who became priests.

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