Jeremiah James Harty

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Jeremiah James Harty (November 5, 1853 – October 29, 1927) was an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as the 26th Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines from 1903 to 1916 before returning to the United States, where he served as Archbishop (personal title) of Omaha from 1916 to 1927.


Jeremiah Harty was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Andrew and Julia (née Murphy) Harty, who were Irish immigrants. He was educated by the Christian Brothers in grade school and by the Jesuits in high school. He attended St. Louis University, from where he graduated in 1872. He studied theology at St. Vincent's College in Cape Girardeau.

Harty was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Patrick Ryan on April 28, 1878. His first assignment was as assistant pastor of St. Lawrence O'Toole Church in St. Louis. He then served at St. Bridget Church, where he remained until he became founding pastor of St. Leo Church in 1888.

On June 6, 1903, Harty was appointed Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines by Pope Leo XIII. He was the first American to be named to that position. He received his episcopal consecration on the following August 15 from Cardinal Francesco Satolli, with Archbishops Diomede Panici and Amilcare Tonietti serving as co-consecrators, in Rome. After his term in Manila he was appointed as the Bishop of Omaha, in Nebraska.

During his term, Archbishop Harty was increasingly troubled by the propagation of the Protestant faith in the Philippines, which was being introduced by the Thomasites, and which was gaining a foothold among Filipinos because of the strong anti-friar sentiments that existed at that time. Due to the lack of Catholic educational institutions in the country, Archbishop Harty, himself an alumnus of a Christian Brother school in St. Louis, Missouri, would appeal to the Superior-General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1905 for the establishment of a De La Salle school in the Philippines. While the pressing need for a De La Salle school in the Islands was recognized, Harty's request was denied because of the Christian Brothers' lack of funds. Nonetheless, Harty continued to appeal for the establishment of additional Catholic schools in the country to Pope Pius X including, among others, St. Theresa's College Manila. On March 10, 1911, upon instructions from the Vatican to the La Salle Generalate, Brothers Blimond Pierre, Aloysius Gonzaga, and Augusto Correge arrived in the Philippines from Europe and established De La Salle College in Paco, the first Christian Brother school in the country.

On May 16, 1916, after 13 years in the Philippines, Harty was appointed Bishop of Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska filling the vacancy caused by the death of Richard Scannell, who died on January 8, 1916. Harty was succeeded in Manila by Michael J. O'Doherty. In 1917, Bishop Harty was skeptical of Father Edward J. Flanagan and Boys Town, but would later endorse the goals of Boys Town. Minor Watson portrayed (Harty) the Bishop of Omaha in the 1938 motion picture Boys Town.


On October 29, 1927, Harty died as Bishop of Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska, at the age of 74. He was a priest for 50 years, 24 years as a bishop.