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GIBBONS, James, cardinal, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 23 July, 1834. At an early age he was taken by his parents to their former home in Ireland, where his education began. When he was seventeen years old he returned to his native City, and after a brief experience as a clerk entered St. Charles's College, Maryland. In September, 1857, he was transferred to St. Mary's seminary, Baltimore, and on 30 June, 1861, he was ordained priest in St. Mary's chapel. His first mission was that of assistant priest at St. Patrick's Church, Baltimore, but, in the course of a few months, he was made pastor of St. Bridget's Church at Canton. an eastern suburb of the City. While he was performing the duties of parish priest in that obscure place, Archbishop Spalding transferred him to the cathedral, made him his private secretary, and appointed him to the important office of chancellor of the archdiocese. When the second plenary council of the American Roman Catholic Church assembled at Baltimore in October, 1866, he was assigned to the office of assistant chancellor of that body, which represented the entire hierarchy of the United States. In 1868 he was made vicar apostolic of North Carolina, with the rank and title of bishop, being consecrated in the cathedral of Baltimore by his friend Archbishop Spalding on 16 August North Carolina then contained a population of one million, of whom only one thousand were Roman Catholics. But Bishop Gibbons was equal to the duties of the office, and in a few years schools were opened, asylums built, Churches erected, and the number of priests increased from five to fifteen. In 1872 he was translated to the vacant see of Richmond, Virginia, where his zeal and administrative ability were soon made manifest by the establishment of numerous institutions, such as the St. Sophia home for aged persons, in charge of the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Peter's cathedral male academy and parochial school, the enlargement of St. Joseph's female orphan asylum, the founding of parish schools in Petersburg and Norfolk, and the erection of new Churches in various parts of the diocese. When, in 1877, the health of Archbishop Bailey, of Baltimore, began to decline he asked Pope Plus IX. to give him a coadjutor, at the same time suggesting Bishop Gibbons for the office. His request was granted, and on 20 May, 1877, Dr. Gibbons was appointed coadjutor with the right of succession to the see of Baltimore. On 3 October of the same year, on the death of Archbishop Bailey, he succeeded to the vacant see, and thus at the early age of forty-three attained to the highest ecclesiastical dignity of his Church in the United States, for Baltimore, being the oldest, is therefore the primary American see. One of the most important works accomplished by him in his new see was the St. James home for boys, the foundation of which was placed in the hands of Reverend Edmund Didier, pastor of St. Vincent's Church, Baltimore. In 1883 Archbishop Gibbons was summoned to Rome, with other American archbishops, to confer upon the affairs of the Church in the United States. During this visit he was the recipient of several marked favors from Pope Leo XIII. He was appointed to preside over the third plenary council of Baltimore, which assembled in that City in November, 1884. The success of the council was due in a great measure to the zeal, energy, and executive ability of Archbishop Gibbons. When the acts and decrees of the council were transmitted to Rome, they were after mature deliberation approved by the ecclesiastical authorities. Leo XIII. at the same time expressed his appreciation of Archbishop Gibbons's services, and, shortly afterward, at a special consistory, nominated him for promotion to the high dignity of cardinal, and he was immediately confirmed. Upon this occasion the pope said : "The flourishing state of Catholicity in the United States, which develops daily more and more, and the condition and form according to which the ecclesiastical canons of that country are formulated, advise us, or rather demand, that some of their prelates be received into the sacred College." When the bearers of the official insignia called at the Vatican to take leave of the pope before departing on their mission, he charged them to present his affectionate paternal benediction to Archbishop Gibbons, adding, "We remember him with sentiments of the most cordial esteem, and believe we could not confer the hat upon a more worthy prelate." Archbishop Gibbons selected 30 June, 1886, the day of his "silver jubilee" as a priest, as the occasion on which he would be invested with the insignia of his rank as a prince of the Church. The ceremony was surrounded by all the pomp and magnificence prescribed for such occasions in the Catholic ritual. Cardinal Gibbons has endeared himself to all, Protestants as well as Catholics, the poor as well as the rich, by his simple and unostentatious life. He visited Rome in 1887, and asked the pope to give him a coadjutor on the ground of impaired health. He has published" The Faith of Our Fathers," which has been translated into many modern languages (Baltimore, 1871).
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