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Bernard John McQuaid (born in New York City, 15 December 1823; died at Rochester, New York, 18 January 1909) was an American Catholic priest, the first Bishop of Rochester, U.S.A. and the first president of Seton Hall University. McQuaid Jesuit High School is named in his honor.


His father, Bernard McQuaid, from Tyrone, Ireland, settled in Powel's Hook (now Jersey City), New Jersey. It was in the McQuaid home that Mass was first said in Powel's Hook, by Father John Conron, on the first Sunday in Advent, November, 1829.

After his college course at Chambly, Quebec, young McQuaid entered St. John's Seminary, Fordham, and was ordained in old St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, 16 January 1848. Most of the State of New Jersey was at that time included in the Diocese of New York, so Father McQuaid was sent as assistant to the pastor at Madison, New Jersey.

When the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark was created in 1853, Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley made Father McQuaid rector of his cathedral church, and later, in 1866, his vicar-general. With the bishop he founded Seton Hall College, and, without giving up his parochial charge or his diocesan office, was its president for ten years. He helped to establish the Madison, New Jersey, foundation of the Seton Sisters of Charity.

When the American Civil War broke out he was the first clergyman at Newark to espouse publicly the cause of the Union; he also volunteered as a chaplain and accompanied the New Jersey Brigade to the seat of war, during which service he was captured by the Confederates.

On the creation of the Diocese of Rochester in 1868, Father McQuaid was appointed its first bishop and was consecrated in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, 12 July 1868. He was installed in Rochester, on July 16.

He especially devoted himself to the cause of Catholic education. In Rochester within ten years he organized a parochial school system, taught by nuns, and affiliated it with the State university. Two years after he took charge of the diocese he opened St. Andrew's Preparatory Seminary, the promising students of which he sent to European seminaries. Meantime he was constantly extending the parishes throughout the diocese; founding new works of charity, or strengthening those already established; securing freedom of worship and their constitutional rights for the inmates of the state institutions, of which there are four in the diocese. The crowning event of his career was the opening, in 1893, of St. Bernard's Seminary.

Bishop McQuaid attended the First Vatican Council in 1870. In 1905 he asked for a coadjutor, and Bishop Thomas F. Hickey was consecrated, 24 May 1905.


  • The Republic (Boston, 23 January 1909);
  • Catholic Sun (Syracuse, 22 January 1909);
  • Catholic News (New York, 23 January 1909);
  • Joseph M. Flynn, Catholic Church in New Jersey (Morristown, 1904);
  • Francis X. Reuss, Biog. Cyclo. Cath. Hierarchy of U. S. (Milwaukee, 1879);
  • Catholic Directory (1849–1909).

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