His Excellency The Most Reverend Bishop Patrick Barry, D.D.
Bishop of St. Augustine (Fifth)
The present worthy occupant of the See of St. Augustine is the Most Reverend Patrick Barry, D.D., the fifth Bishop of Florida, and successor in it of the Most Reverend Michael Curley, D.D., Archbishop of Baltimore, whose vicar general he was. Bishop Barry is a native of Ireland, and was born in the Parish of Inagh, West Clare. He received his education at the famous Mungret Apostolic College, which he entered in 1887, completing his collegiate work in the Royal University of Ireland. In 1890 he entered St. Patrick's College at Carlow, where he studied philosophy and theology; he was ordained June 9, 1895. Immediately after his ordination, the then Father Barry sailed for his chosen field of labor, the Diocese of St. Augustine, and was assigned to Jacksonville. At the outbreak of the war with Spain, he volunteered as a chaplain, and served through the war with General Fitzhugh Lee's army corps, ministering with great devotion and self-sacrifice to the spiritual wants and physical needs of the men. Returning to his duties in Jacksonville after the war, the future Bishop went through terrible days of the Jacksonville fire, meeting the situation with his customary spirit of sacrifice for the welfare of others. In 1903 he was appointed pastor of Palatka, a mission which included a number of stations. During his pastorate there, he did remarkable work in organizing and extending the influence of the mission in his care. In 1913 the late Bishop Kenny established the new parish of Assumption in South Jacksonville, and appointed Father Barry its first pastor. Within a few months he had erected a fine church, rectory and parish hall; in four years he had them paid for, and in 1917 Bishop Curley called him to St. Augustine as rector of the Cathedral and Vicar General. When Bishop Curley left St. Augustine to assume his duties as Archbishop of Baltimore, Father Barry was named Administrator; he was named Bishop by Pope Pius XI, on February 22, 1922, and the diocese of St. Augustine, which once held the distinction of having the youngest bishop in the United States, now received the distinction of having at its head the first American bishop to be appointed by the new Pope.
Twenty-seven years of constant labors in quest of souls in a missionary vineyard eminently fitted him to shoulder the burdens of the Episcopate in Florida for he knew every man, woman and child within the confines of his jurisdiction. On May 3rd 1922, the Most Reverend Patrick Barry was consecrated Bishop of St. Augustine by his predecessor, the Most Reverend Michael Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore, in the Cathedral of St. Augustine, this city.
God, who never abandons His own, came to the rescue of the Orphans at St. Mary's Home through the magnanimity and Christian Charity of Bishop Barry, who, seeing and understanding the necessity of recreation grounds, more open space and fresh air, and relief from the congested condition of their quarters in Jacksonville through his extreme generosity and a heart full of love of God and his little children, presented a beautiful country estate of thirty-nine acres at Orange Park facing the St. Johns River, for their summer home, thus affording the children every opportunity for their play, fresh air and sunshine during the hot summer months.
The orphan and homeless boy now has a home in the Industrial School at Ybor City, under the care of the Salesian Fathers of Don Bosco. This work is very dear to the heart of the Bishop, and on many an occasion he has given generously out of his own pocket, means to carry on the work. The great charity of our beloved Bishop knows no bounds.
His tireless energy, his great concern for the spiritual welfare of his flock and his encouraging attitude in all things that concern the temporal and spiritual progress of the Diocese in every parish makes the Bishop of St. Augustine beloved by his priests and people.
The story under his regime is the tale of nearly fifteen years of phenomenal spiritual and physical growth and development unparalleled anywhere in the United States. During Bishop Barry's tenure the churches have been multiplied, congregations increased, institutions founded and organizations strengthened, so that at last in the history of the Church in Florida of several centuries of devoted effort in bearing abundant and lasting fruit.