Posted By: June 23, 2017

Suzanne Mc Gonagle The Irish News. June 23, 2017

Archbishop John Joseph Hughes

THE first Catholic Archbishop of New York will be honored with a blue plaque tomorrow in his Co Tyrone homeland.

On the 220th anniversary of his birth, the remarkable life of John Joseph Hughes will be celebrated in Augher.

Born in the townland of Annaloghan, he emigrated to the United States in the early 19th century and became one of the most influential Americans of his time.

He lectured to Congress, was praised by Abraham Lincoln for his support of the Union during the American Civil War, founded Fordham University and laid the foundation stone at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

The Ulster History Circle will commemorate his life with a blue plaque at St Macartan’s Church in Augher, to be unveiled by Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland.

Born in June 1797, Hughes was the third of seven children. His father was a tenant farmer and due to circumstances was forced to withdraw his son from school and sent him to Favor Royal Manor to study horticulture.

In 1816 his family emigrated to Pennsylvania and Hughes joined them a year later, spending his early years in America as a gardener.

Ordained to the priesthood in Philadelphia in 1824, Hughes was responsible for the building of St Joseph’s Church in that city. Consecrated as a bishop in 1838, he became the fourth bishop of New York 1842 and the first archbishop of the city in 1850. He died in 1864.

Chris Spurr, chairman of the Ulster History Circle, said: “John Joseph Hughes has the distinction of being the first archbishop of New York, the founder of St Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue and also the founder of the college which became Fordham University.

“On the 220th anniversary of his birth, the Ulster History Circle is delighted to commemorate Archbishop Hughes with a blue plaque at the very place in his native parish where he returned to preach in 1846.”