REV. DEAN M. M. A. HARTNEDY, who, for more than ten years has been pastor of St. Peter's church, of Steubenville, Ohio, was born in Loughkile, on the banks of the river Shannon, in the southwest of Ireland, November 25, 1846. He comes of old Milesian stock, his ancestry on his father's and mother's side, being residents of the locality from time immemorial. He distinguished himself amongst his companions from a very early age, and many were the glowing predictions made by the old cronies of the village, of the bright future of usefullness of the young levite. He was marked out for the priesthood from infancy, and consequently, all his talent and training was turned in this direction. Coming to this country with his family whilst yet a lad, with the best education that his village school affordable, he entered upon his classical studies at the Dominican convent of St. Rose, near Barsdtown, in Washington county, Ky. Here he remained until the completion of his classical and philosophical course. Being convinced that the secular priesthood was the great field of usefulness to which the Lord had called him, he entered the diocesan seminary of St. Aloysius, in Columbus, Ohio, in October, 1872. Here for the next three years he pursued his theological studies, together with the kindred branches of sacred learning requisite for ordination. At the completion of the course, on the 17th of April, 1875, he was ordained by Bishop Rosecrans, at the cathedral in Columbus, and went to reside at the bishop's house, awaiting a pastoral charge. The active energy of the young priest soon found a large field of usefulness. In a couple of months after his ordination he was appointed pastor at Athens, Ohio, with a missionary district extending over the borders of three neighboring counties. It was a common thing for the young missionary to travel over 500 miles a month within the limits of his own parish, so scattered were the few hundred Catholic families within its borders. Making Athens his headquarters, he rebuilt St. Paul's Catholic church in the first year of his pastorate, and purchased the pastoral residence adjoining the church. His scattered flock was attended monthly in every direction. Sunday-schools were organized wherever a dozen families were found, and a great deal of the missionary work required travel on horseback. A sick call of fifteen or twenty miles on horseback was of frequent occurrence. This hard missionary labor at length told severely upon the young priest, and to the regret from the mission in 1878, just as he was finishing the beautiful little church of St. Mary's of the River, on the banks of the Ohio at Little Hocking. Skillfull medical treatment and a few months' rest soon put him in the field again. After the death of Bishop Rosecrans, in October, 1878, Father Hartnedy was appointed to the temporary charge of the cathedral in Columbus. Here he remained till the spring of 1879, when he was sent to Steubenville as pastor of St. Peter's congregation. His church here was embarrassed with debt since before the war, and Father Hartnedy's first energies were directed toward putting his church in good financial standing. When he succeeded in extinguishing the last of the church debt in 1881, his people were so enthusiastic over the matter that they made him a present of a horse and carriage. He rebuilt St. Peter's church in 1884 and established the Holy Name parish in the lower end of the city in 1885. He also purchased property for church purposes in Mingo and Toronto and putting the building of the Toronto church under contract, he sailed for Europe in the fall of 1886 for a few months' rest and recreation, as well as for the long cherished purpose of making a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land. He has the satisfaction of seeing again the home of his childhood, and mingling again with the few that yet remained of those who knew him when a child. From Ireland he went to London, where parliament was in session, where he made the acquaintance of the leading home rule members; for though an enthusiastic American citizen, Father Hartnedy is one of those Irishmen who never forgot their duty to their native land. His next sojourn was in Paris, and from thence to Marseilles, where he sailed for Egypt, and after seeing the sights of that country, proceeded on his way to Jerusalem. Here he was received with distinguished honor by the United States consul, who raised the stars and stripes on the legation as a special compliment. Visiting Bethlehem and other points of interest in the Holy Land, he came home by way of Italy, and visiting Rome, he had the homoe of being received in audience by the Pope, who blessed him and sent the apostolic benediction by him to his congregation as a special mark of his grace and favor. This compliment Dean Hartnedy gracefully returned the following year by writing an ode for the Pope's golden jubilee, an illuminated copy of which was sent to the Holy Father, who received it with pleasure and returned his thanks through the rector of the American college at Rome. On Father Hartnedy's arrival home from his pilgrimage abroad he was accorded a public reception at which the leading citizens of the city, irrespective of creed, vied with each other to bid him welcome. From the start in Steubenville Father Hartnedy took a particular interest in education. In 1879 he graded the Catholic schools here and established St. Peter's high school, which still flourishes, having turned out more than fifty graduates. At the diocesan synod of Columbus, in 1887, Father Hartnedy became, by appointment, the Very Reverand Dean of Steubenville, the deanery being composed of the eight proximate counties in eastern Ohio. As a churchman and an educator, as well as a man of business qualifications in church matters, Dean Hartnedy has been pre-eminently successful. As a public-spirited citizen he has always taken a prominent part in every public enterprise, combining the happy faculty of being his own architect in whatever he undertakes; with a knowledge of business amongst people of the world, the elements of success eminently predominate in his character. The deanery, which is the finest residence of Steubenville, will long remain as a monument of his architectural ability, for the design was an original conception of his own, and he carefully superintended every particular in its construction. The new and beautiful Mount Calvary cemetery of twenty acres, wers of the city, is also one of the things for which Dean Hartnedy will be remembered. The beautiful site is of his own selection, and the planting and laying out of the grounds, done by himself, is so artistic and commodious that it would do credit to an experienced civil engineer. Very Reverand Dean Hartnedy is yet in the prime of life, busy as usual with his hands full of affairs, and we doubt not with the large field of usefulness before him, that as an ecclesiastic and prominent citizen his name will be long remembered in connection with the progress and developement of the Catholic church in the upper Ohio valley.
Copyright © 2006 Danice Ryan. All rights reserved.