Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
October 24, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 24, 1998

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Increasing clergy and building educational institutions were pri- orities of Bishop Fitzgerald. Mount Saint Mary Academy for girls was among the first of these projects. le C- Lh le ot ot ~V .iS a el Vt 1C 0 Part, from outside the diocese. I'Iis abilities as financier were all the more impressive given the downward economic trend. July 3, 1882 marked the silver Jt bilee of Bishop Fitzgerald's epis- COpal consecration. A fitting Celebration was held in St. hndrew Cathedral, with digni- taries from around the country Present. Shortly thereafter, the bishop appointed to assume ecclesi- aStical duties for the Diocese of 0allas upon the resignation of l ishop Brennan in November 1882. For more than a year, the bishop took on this added weight 0f administration. The bishop %rltinued to work on his Vrl diocese in the following Years, not letting up his visita- OCtOber 24, 1998 tions of rural areas to confirm and encourage the faithful in these places. In early 1900, Bishop Fitzgerald suffered a stroke of paralysis. Realizing the limita- tions this imposed on him and the necessity for active gover- nance of the diocese, Bishop Fitzgerald appointed Father Kraemer, OSB, as vicar general of the diocese. While Bishop Fitzgerald re- mained in confinement in Hot Springs at St. Joseph Infirmary, his able vicar carried on the task of administration and building up the number of clergy by recruit- ment. Then in 1906, Bishop Fitzgerald asked for a coadjutor bishop. Msgr. John Baptist Morris, vicar general of the Diocese of Nashville, was appointed to be coadjutor to Bishop Fitzgerald, whose condition was one of dim- inishment rather than recovery. His 41-year tenure as bishop drew to a close on Feb. 21, 1907. J Bishop Fitzgerald died in Hot Springs, with Bishop Morris, Fathers Kraemer, Horan and McGill assisting him in his last hours. Five thousand people were on hand at the main station in Little Rock to welcome the bishop's body. His funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 27, 1907, at St. Andrew Cathedral. His remains were laid to rest in a vault under the atrium of the Cathedral. Ireland's native son distin- guished himself as a servant of the Church in Arkansas. He weathered trials with equanimity and spent himself for the souls entrusted to his care, and those who would come after him. A Catholic reporter who visit- ed the bishop while he was in Rome for the Vatican Council remarked how astonished he was at the simplicity, austerity even, of the bishop's quarters. The bishop died as he had lived, a detached and faithful steward. !1