Thomas Francis Hendricken

Thomas Francis Hendricken

Thomas Francis Hendricken

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Bishop Thomas Francis Hendricken (May 5, 1827 - June 11, 1886) was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. He studied in St. Kiernan's College and Maynooth where he met Bishop Bernard O'Reilly who ordained him for Hartford in 1853.

In 1872 he was appointed the first Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, USA. At that time, the diocese included all of Rhode Island, as well as the present Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts with some 125,000 parishioners, 43 churches, 9 parish schools and 1 orphan asylum.

He created 13 English- and two French-speaking parishes for growing congregations composed mainly of French-Canadians and Irish. By 1873, the immigration into the diocese slowed and the post-war boom ended with many of his flock unemployed or on reduced wages. As with many of his fellow prelates, he urged a response of patience and social conservatism.

He was primarily responsible for the construction of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence, although he died before its completion. His funeral was the first Mass to be celebrated in the cathedral, and he was entombed in a crypt beneath the high altar. During renovations in 2006, the basement crypt was removed, and the bishops buried there were re-interred in a mausoleum at a nearby diocesan cemetery. Bishop Hendricken, however, was re-entombed on December 8, 2006, in a sarcophagus located on the cathedral's main floor, in the West Transept. Eight seniors from the high school that bears his name carried his remains to a more...
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