R. Luke Concanen

Richard Luke Concanen OP ( * December 27 1747 in Kilbegnet, Ireland, † June 19, 1810 in Naples, Italy ) was the first Roman Catholic bishop of New York.


About his childhood in Ireland, little is known. At the age of 17, he entered 1764 in a Dominican monastery. In 1765 he left his monastery in Louvain to Rome, where he was ordained priest on 22 December 1770 and then almost spent his whole life there and worked for the Irish Church. Twice (1789 and 1802) refused Concanen even to accept an Irish diocese. In the " veto question " at the time of the emancipation of Irish and English Catholics Concanen stood on the side of those who sought to prevent the British government should be given a right to veto the appointment of bishops in exchange for the full emancipation. He also fought against the aspiration of national circles in the English and Irish Catholicism, to allow the British government to pay the salaries of the Catholic clergy. As in New York, a diocese should be established Concanen was proposed by Rome. On April 24, 1808, he received episcopal ordination of Michele Di Pietro, Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda Fide. Co-consecrators were Cardinal Tommaso Arezzo and Archbishop Benedetto Sinibaldi.

Because at that time raged the Napoleonic wars in Europe, it was impossible to reach him his bishopric. Only in June 1810, an opportunity for the crossing seemed to offer, why Concanen traveled to Naples, in order to secure there a cruise to the United States. On June 19, 1810, he died, however, completely surprising in Naples and was buried in the sacristy of the Dominican Church of San Domenico Maggiore. Thus, the first Roman Catholic bishop of New York was never in his diocese, which was vacant after his death four years. Only in 1814 were the New York Catholics again a bishop.