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Francis Xavier Gartland

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Title: Francis Xavier Gartland  
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Subject: Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah
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Francis Xavier Gartland

Right Rev. Francis Xavier Gartland
Bishop of Savannah
File:Bishop Francis Xavier Gartland.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Savannah
In office November 10, 1850—September 20, 1854
Predecessor none
Successor John Barry
Ordination August 5, 1832
Consecration November 10, 1850
Personal details
Born (1805-01-13)January 13, 1805
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Died September 20, 1854(1854-09-20) (aged 49)
Savannah, Georgia, United States

Francis Xavier Gartland (January 13, 1805 – September 20, 1854) was an Irish American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the first Bishop of Savannah, Georgia, serving between 1850 and his death in 1854.

One of ten children, Gartland was born in Know Nothing riots, and became "the most popular priest in the city among all classes."[5]

On July 23, 1850, Gartland was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Savannah by Pope Pius IX.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 10 from Archbishop Samuel Eccleston, P.S.S., with Bishops Francis Kenrick and Michael O'Connor, S.J., serving as co-consecrators, in Philadelphia.[3] The new diocese (which comprised the state of Georgia and East Florida) contained 15 churches, eight priests, and around 5,000 Catholics.[4][6] During his tenure, he doubled the Catholic population in his diocese; greatly increased the number of priests, many of whom he recruited from his native Ireland; erected three new churches; and enlarged the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which he dedicated in June 1853. He also established an orphanage and several Catholic schools, and attended the Eighth Provincial Council of Baltimore.[4] As a bishop in the South, he considered "the freedom of the slave population" to be "untimely," saying, "All we have to do is mite their souls [so that] whether bond of free they may be saved."[7]

In 1854 Gartland made the nearer rounds of the city of Savannah, visiting victims of a raging yellow fever epidemic.[2] He died, a victim of the disease himself, at age 49.[2]


Preceded by
Bishop of Savannah
Succeeded by
John Barry
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