Roman Catholic Cardinal. Ashland born Dennis Joseph Dougherty was the sixth of ten children born to a coal miner and his wife, who soon found himself working as a breaker boy in coal mines. Receiving his early education in Ashland and Girardville, applying to enter St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, being considered too young, he was sent to Sainte-Marie College in Montréal, Canada, eventually entering St. Charles in 1882. Sent to the North American College in Rome, he furthered his studies at the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum De Propaganda Fide, obtaining a doctorate in theology. Ordained priest there in May 1890, he lectured Latin, English, history and theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, serving in the meantime as fiscal promotor, prosynodal examiner and procurator of the archdiocese of Philadelphia. Appointed bishop of Nueva Segovia, Philippines, he received his episcopal consecration on June 14, 1903 in Rome. During his tenure, he faced various difficulties risen by Gregorio Aglipay, who forming the Philippine Independent Church, along with his followers had by then occupied various Catholic churches, with Dougherty having to reopen and reconsecrate them once obtaining them back. Traveling through jungles and canoeing to his flock, Dougherty visited leper colonies and brought Aglipay's rebellion to an end. Transferred to the diocese of Jaro again in the Philippines, in 1915 he returned to the United States as bishop of Buffalo, New York. Promoted to the metropolitan see of Philadelphia on May 1, 1918, during his term in office one hundred and six new parishes were established, seventy five new churches built, twenty two others renovated, twenty new ecclesiastical buildings mostly for the wide-flung social services constructed, one hundred forty six schools and academies launched, seven homes for the aged opened along with seven orphanages, three retreat houses for women, one for men, and a magnificent new seminary erected, being called "God's Bricklayer" or "The Great Builder". Pope Benedict XV created him cardinal priest in the consistory of March 7, 1921 with the title of Ss. Nereo ed Achilleo, becoming thus Philadelphia's first Cardinal. Raising nearly $100,000 in order to support the Irish in their war for independence, he ordained over two thousand candidates to the priesthood during his episcopacy. The Cardinal died suddenly of a stroke while removing the liturgical vestments shortly after celebrating a mass marking the sixty-first anniversary of his priestly ordination at the archiepiscopal residence in Philadelphia. Following the celebration of a funeral mass which saw the participation of some one thousand two hundred people at the cathedral basilica of Philadelphia, Dougherty was laid to rest in the latter's crypt beneath the main altar.
Bio by: Eman Bonnici
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