Parish Of Birth
Pontifical Irish College Rome, Italy.
Details Of Ordination
South Parish CC : 3/9/1855 – 11/1869
Bandon CC : 1853 – 3/9/1855
Kinsale CC : 1850 – 1853
Innishannon CC : 1848 – 1850
He was born on 17 November 1825 at Rathard, Aherla, County Cork, Ireland. He was educated for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome with his cousins James and Matthew Quinn. Ordained 24 March 1849, he returned to Cork next year. Fr. O’Mahony served in various rural parishes in the Diocese of Cork before being appointed to the Cathedral parish in Cork. He was appointed first Bishop of Armidale, Australia, He was consecrated bishop of Armidale on 30 November 1869 in the Cathedral by Bishop William Delany. Bishop O’Mahony arrived at Sydney in 1871 and took possession of his see on 23 March. Friendly, hospitable and a bright conversationalist, he was preferred by Archbishop Roger William Bede Vaughan to the other bishops. Finding a shortage of amenities, he started to provide suitable buildings in Armidale and made a visitation of his vast diocese. Involved in colonial church politics, he signed with his fellow Irish suffragans in 1873 a post-factum objection to Vaughan as Archbishop John Bede Polding’s co-adjutor. Next year Vaughan referred to Propaganda serious charges against O’Mahony that had become widespread among the clergy and laity in the north. His jovial habits were interpreted as intemperance and a claim against him by a young woman about the paternity of her child became public knowledge. Later this charge was withdrawn and the author of the blackmail, a priest whom O’Mahony had trusted, was named.
Archbishop Vaughan was told by Rome to investigate the charges and was accused of bias in his selection of witnesses by Bishop James Quinn of Brisbane. Afraid for the prestige of the Irish bishops and scenting a conspiracy against them, Bishop Quinn sent Father George Dillon to Armidale to get evidence to clear O’Mahony from the charge and he mounted a violent counter-attack in Australia and the Irish College. Bishop Quinn argued that the credibility of the anti-O’Mahony witnesses could be destroyed and that a conspiracy had been formed to get the bishop to compromise himself, but Rome accepted Archbishop Vaughan’s 1875 report in which he found the main charge unproven but recommended that O’Mahony resign and go to Rome.
Once such serious charges, whether true or false, had been made, O’Mahony had no choice but to resign with the burden of proving his own innocence. He submitted his resignation in August 1878, and he returned to Rome.
In 1879 on Archbishop John J. Lynch’s ad limina visit to Rome, Bishop O’Mahony became acquainted with him. In a Papal Brief dated November 14, 1879 he was appointed Titular Bishop of Eudocia and Auxiliary to Archbishop Lynch. Upon his arrival in Toronto Bishop O’Mahony took charge of St. Paul’s Parish. Realizing that the church was inadequate for the congregation he started a weekly collection for a new building. This was completed in 1889 and dedicated on December 22 of that same year.
After a long and painful illness, Bishop O’Mahony died on September 8, 1892. He was interred in a brick vault at the south-east corner of St. Paul’s Baslica, where he had been pastor.
Date Of Death
Place Of Death
Place Of Burial
St. Paul’s Basilica, 83 Power Street, Toronto, Canada