Bishop James A. McFaul, Trenton, New Jersey (1850-1917)

Bishop James A. McFaul, Trenton, New Jersey (1850-1917) September 8, 2011

McFaul, James Augustine, second Roman Catholic Bishop of Trenton, was born in Larne, county Antrim, Ireland, June 6, 1850, son of James and Mary (Heffernan) McFaul. His parents came to America when he was but six months old, settling in New York City, where they remained for about four years. They then moved to Bound Brook, N.J., where their son attended the district school when not assisting his father on the farm. Having acquired a fair knowledge of bookkeeping, at the age of fifteen he acquired employment as a clerk in a store near Bound Brook. In 1867, with the intention of becoming a lawyer, he went to St. Vincent’s College, Westmoreland County, Pa. After remaining there for four years, he entered St. Francis Xavier’s College, New York City, where he completed his classical studies. His theological studies were taken at Seton Hall Seminary, South Orange, N.J., where he was graduated in the class of 1873. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Corrigan, May 26, 1877; was first appointed an assistant at St. Patrick’s Church, Jersey City, and from there he was sent to the cathedral at Newark. In 1878 he was made assistant to Rev. Anthony Smith at Trenton. Upon the division of the diocese, Bishop O’Farrell appointed him his secretary, which position he held in 1882-84, and gave him charge of St. Mary’s Union. He also for three years edited “St. Mary’s Messenger,” an annual paper published in the interest of the union. In May, 1883, Father McFaul was appointed pastor of the Church Star of the Sea in Long Branch, N.J., and while there liquidated the debt on his church and built St. Michael’s Church at Elberon. In 1890 he was recalled to Trenton and was made rector of the cathedral, and chancellor of the diocese. During 1892-1894 he was vicar-general, and in 1894 he was appointed bishop of Trenton to succeed the late Bishop O’Farrell, being consecrated October 18th, at Trenton, by Archbishop Corrigan. Bishop McFaul takes a special interest in young men’s societies, and was one of the principal organizers of the Young Men’s Diocesan Union. He has written some notable articles and addresses on “American Citizenship,” while his name has become familiar in connection with his work of reorganizing the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He is respected and loved by the priests of the diocese, over which he presides with grace and dignity, and he is also distinguished as a pulpit orator.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (Volume XII) (New York: James T. White & Company, 1904), 347.

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