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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Right Rev. Mgr. Daniel Doody

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 160-163 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Right Rev. Mgr. Daniel Doody

Portrait: Right Rev. Mgr. Daniel Doody

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Right Rev. Mgr. Daniel Doody, vicar general of the Catholic diocese of Syracuse and perhaps the most generally beloved man in Utica, has for the past twenty-one years filled the pastorate of St. Francis de Sales church, the second largest church in the city. By papal decree he has been elevated to the dignified position of monsignor. He was born in Oswego county, New York, on the 2d of February, 1862, his parents being Daniel and Bridget (O'Day) Doody, both of whom were natives of Ireland. The father was a farmer by occupation. In his family were four children: Daniel, Jr., of this review; Jeremiah, Margaret and Mary.

The early education of Monsignor Doody was secured in the high school of Baldwinsville, Onondaga county, New York, and in St. Michael's College of Toronto, Canada, where he was graduated in 1882. His theological studies were taken at St. Joseph's Seminary of Troy, Rensselaer county, New York, and on the 17th of December, 1887, he was ordained by Bishop McNierney. His first appointment was assistant at St. Mary's church of Oswego, where he served two and one-half years. He was next honored with appointment to St. Leo's church at Tully, Onondaga county, where he continued as pastor for four years. Subsequently he spent eight years in charge of St. James church at Cazenovia, Madison county, this state, and in January, 1903, was made pastor of St. Francis de Sales church in Utica, which he has served zealously to the present time. It was established in 1877 and its first priest was Rev. Luke G. O'Reilly, who died December 22, 1902. The parish has since grown to such an extent that during the years 1922 and 1923 the church building was extended from street to street, now covering the length of an entire block. Monsignor Doody also established a parish school which has an attendance of nine hundred scholars under the supervision of twenty Sisters. On the 19th of February, 1923, the interior of the church was gutted by a disastrous fire which entailed a loss of more than seventeen thousand dollars. The edifice has since been rebuilt and now has a seating capacity of twelve hundred.

In November, 1923, the high rank of monsignor was conferred upon Rev. Daniel Doody by Pope Pius XI, at the request of the Right Rev. Daniel J. Curley, bishop of the diocese. When this was formally announced the Utica Observer-Dispatch commented in part as follows:

"That the pastor of St. Francis de Sales parish well deserves the ecclesiastical promotion is well known, as Monsignor Doody has not only won the respect and devotion of Catholics wherever he has gone, but has made a fine impression and many friends among non-Catholic sects. On the property adjoining the church he caused to be erected one of the largest and best parochial schools in the diocese, which has taken care of the religious and secular education of nearly one thousand students at one time. Later he purchased a convent for the many nuns who teach in the school, and in 1922 houses adjoining the church on Summit place were purchased and an addition built to the church. Even now the parish has so outgrown its bounds as to make necessary preparations for the splitting up of the parish and the construction of Utica's seventeenth Catholic church in the southeastern section of the city. As Monsignor Doody dons the robe of his high office, he carries it into a record of work well done — work which like the disastrous fire of last year, presented many difficulties and problems. But he overcame these with typical zeal."

The translation of the papal decree elevating the Rev. Daniel Doody to the high rank of monsignor, which was read at the investiture ceremony in St. Francis de Sales church, with Bishop Curley officiating, is as follows:

"Dearly Beloved Son — Health and apostolic benediction:

"Nothing is more in keeping with our custom and pleasure than to crown with splendid gifts and special honors consecrated ministers of God who by unsparing and strenuous labor in the vineyard of the Lord, merit such gifts and honors as a reward of virtue and a token of our benevolence. Since you, beloved son, are rightly and meritoriously considered as one of such priests, and since we know from the testimony of your bishop, of the laudable manner in which you discharge the duties of vicar general, of your preeminence in character and learning, your zeal for souls as rector of a parish in Utica, New York, and the high esteem in which you are held by everyone, it hath seemed good to us that you be decorated with a title of honor as a reward of merit.

"Consequently by the present letters, and by our authority, we choose, appoint and declare you a Roman prelate, that is, one of our domestic prelates.

"In consequence, we grant you, beloved son, the privilege of wearing a violet costume and also of wearing, even in the roman court, the long sleeved linen garment known as a rochet; and also of using and enjoying all the honors, privileges, prerogatives, and indults, which other ecclesiastics honored with this dignity use and enjoy or may in the future be allowed to use and enjoy.

"Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, under the Ring of the Fisherman, the seventh day of February, in the year 1924, the second of our pontificate. To our beloved son, Daniel Doody, vicar general of the diocese of Syracuse.

"Peter Cardinal Gasparri, Secretary of State."

Bishop Curley said:

"In this document, the holy father pays a personal tribute to the mental and priestly attainments of your right reverend pastor, and declares these, in unison with the exalted office to which some time ago he was raised, were the incentives that prompted him to appoint Father Doody as a member of the papal household, carrying with it, therefore, the title of domestic prelate. It was the eminent qualities of great virtue and priestliness, as well as his ability and tact, that earned for him the distinguished office that he now holds as the personal representative of the bishop of this diocese. Therefore, this is an occasion of gratification and rejoicing for you, his beloved parishioners, and it is truly a momentous one in his own life. I assure you it gives me just as much pleasure as it does you and him, to be with you at this time. These are the real joys of life, because they are so intimately associated with the advancement of God's kingdom on earth, and are, I hope, the harbingers of everlasting peace and happiness that we may all enjoy. I pray that each man continue to bless the mutual good will and respect that have existed here between the pastor and his people, and that he may be granted many more years of efficient and fruitful service in his own church."

Rev. Patrick Donohue, pastor of St. Mary's church of Cortland, said:

"The history of the priesthood shows the glory and grandeur that your honored pastor has won today, after thirty-seven years of service. After such a period of time, when we review the life of this man and find not even malice can point to a single act, or suspicion dim the slightest bit of the glory of his priesthood, then we may indulge in a word of well merited praise. With an unbroken friendship of forty years, begun when we were students together in Troy Seminary, I have watched with admiration the scholar and the priest, an efficient and earnest student and a modest and unassuming man. In the early years of his missionary work it might be said that he was gifted with the gift of tongues. Not the tongues of Babel — but of truth and virtue. In his work at Tully, Otisco and Cazenovia, he spoke the language of the plain people and he was admired and loved by his parishioners. When the higher fields were opened and he spoke the language of the doctor, the lawyer, the merchant, the statesman, the professional man, were equally charmed with his priestly character. Do you wonder the all-seeing, august power at Rome has sent him honors through the bishop and has taken Monsignor Doody into the personal friendship of the holy father? He is a beautiful example that merit will get its reward and that the path of duty is the path to glory."

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