His Eminence 
Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle
Archbishop of Washington
See Washington
Enthroned January 21, 1948
Reign ended March 3, 1973
Predecessor Michael Joseph Curley
Successor William Wakefield Baum
Ordination May 21, 1921
Consecration January 14, 1948
Created Cardinal June 26, 1967
Personal details
Born July 18, 1896(1896-07-18)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Died August 10, 1987 (aged 91)
Washington, D.C.
Denomination Roman Catholic Church

Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle (July 18, 1896—August 10, 1987) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Washington from 1948 to 1973, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1967.

Early life and education

Patrick O'Boyle was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Michael and Mary (née Muldoon) O'Boyle, who were Irish immigrants.[1] His father was originally from County Sligo, and in 1889 came to the United States, where he settled at Bedford, New York.[2] His mother moved to New York City from County Mayo in 1879, and later married O'Boyle in December 1893.[2] Shortly afterwards they moved to Scranton, where Michael became a steelworker; they had a daughter who died during infancy in 1895.[2]

Patrick was baptized two days after his birth at St. Paul's Church in Scranton.[2] Following his father's death in January 1907, he helped support his mother by becoming a paperboy.[3] He dropped out of school in 1910 to purse a full-time career with the Bradstreet Company, but entered St. Thomas College in 1911 upon the orders of a local priest.[2] In addition to his studies, he there served as class librarian and editor of the monthly magazine The Aquinas.[2]


O'Boyle graduated from St. Thomas' as valedictorian in 1916, and then began his studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York.[3] During his time at St. Joseph's, he developed a close friendship with James Francis McIntyre, later Archbishop of Los Angeles and a cardinal as well, who tutored him in Latin and invited him to spend holidays with his family.[2] One of his professors was Rev. Francis P. Duffy, a famed chaplain of World War I.

O'Boyle was ordained a priest by Archbishop Patrick Joseph Hayes on May 21, 1921.[4] The next day he celebrated his first Mass at St. Paul's Church in his native Scranton.[2] He returned to New York the following June, when he became a curate at St. Columba's Church in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. He there organized St. Joseph's Society for teenaged boys, beginning with about 300 members, and instituted parish dances.[2] From 1926 to 1933, O'Boyle was director of the Catholic Guardian Society, a division of Catholic Charities dedicated to orphans and foster children; during this time, he also resided and did pastoral work at Holy Innocents Church.[1]

He furthered his studies at the New York School of Social Work from 1927 to 1932.[1] He also taught child welfare at Fordham Graduate School of Social Service from 1930 to 1934.[3] In 1933 he organized the National Conference of Catholic Charities.[2] O'Boyle worked closely with the New Deal agency Works Progress Administration to find employment for young people as well.[2] He then served as director of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, also known as Mount Loretto, on Staten Island from 1936 to 1943.[1]

He was raised to the rank of a Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness in 1941 and a Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on 1944.[1] He was director of the War Relief Services of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (1943-1947), before being named director of the Catholic Charities in New York on August 1, 1947.[1]


On November 27, 1947, he was appointed Archbishop of Washington by Pope Pius XII. O'Boyle received his episcopal consecration on January 14, 1948 from Cardinal Francis Spellman, with Bishops John McNamara and Henry Klonowski serving as co-consecrators, in St. Patrick's Cathedral. From 1962 to 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council. He was made Metropolitan Archbishop on October 12, 1965, upon Washington's promotion to that ecclesiastical status.


He was created Cardinal Priest of San Nicola in Carcere by Pope Paul VI in the consistory of June 26, 1967. At the same ceremony, Archbishop Karol Wojtyła of Kraków (the future Pope John Paul II) was also elevated to the College of Cardinals. O'Boyle resigned as Washington's archbishop on March 3, 1973, after twenty-five years of service.


O'Boyle was socially progressive but theologically conservative. Known for his opposition to racism[5], he led the way to desegregation of the American school system by racially-integrating the Catholic schools of Washington years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation unconstitutional. O'Boyle was also an ardent supporter of Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, and placed ecclesiastical censures on priests who dissented from its teachings[6]. During his younger days, he supported Robert M. La Follette, Sr. and Al Smith.[2]


He died in Washington, D.C., at age 91. He was the first person to be interred in a burial chamber constructed inside the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle for the Archbishops of Washington. It is also the final resting place of Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey.

Episcopal Succession

Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Francis Spellman
Date of consecration: January 14, 1948
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Edward John Herrmann April 26, 1966


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Miranda, Salvador. "O'BOYLE, Patrick Aloysius (1896-1987)". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.'Boyle. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 MacGregor, Morris J. (January 2006). Steadfast in the Faith: The Life of Patrick Cardinal O'Boyle. Catholic University of America Press. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Saxon, Wolfgang (1987-08-11). "CARDINAL O'BOYLE OF WASHINGTON, LIBERAL WHO ESPOUSED ORTHODOXY". The New York Times. 
  4. "Patrick Aloysius Cardinal O'Boyle". 
  5. TIME Magazine. The Fine Papal Art of Creating New Cardinals June 9, 1967
  6. TIME Magazine. Conscience and the Encyclical September 13, 1968

External links

Preceded by
Michael Joseph Curley
(Archbishop of Baltimore-Washington)
Archbishop of Washington
Succeeded by
William Wakefield Baum
no:Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle

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