Cardinal Patrick Joseph Hayes

Cardinal Patrick Joseph Hayes (1867-1938) was a leader of the Catholic hierarchy, best known for his work in expanding and organizing the outstanding program of Catholic charities in his diocese.

Patrick Joseph Hayes was born in New York City on Nov. 20, 1867, the son of Irish immigrants. Five years later his mother died, and he went to live with relatives. He attended parochial schools conducted by the Christian Brothers and graduated in 1888 from Manhattan College. To study for the priesthood he attended the diocesan seminary at Troy, N.Y., and was ordained in 1892. Two years later he earned a licentiate of sacred theology at the Catholic University of America.

Father Hayes's first assignment was in New York's St. Gabriel's parish, serving under John M. Farley. When his pastor became auxiliary bishop of New York in 1895, Hayes became his secretary. After Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan died, Farley succeeded to his post with Hayes continuing as his secretary. Later Hayes served also as diocesan chancellor and president of the new preparatory seminary.

In 1914 Hayes was consecrated auxiliary bishop of New York, and in 1919 he succeeded Farley as head of the diocese. During World War I Hayes was named bishop of the American Armed Forces and mobilized a group of 900 Catholic chaplains. He also served on the administrative board of the National Catholic War Council, which coordinated Catholic war work at home and abroad. Hayes was a signatory of the Bishops' Program of Social Reconstruction, a series of proposals for postwar social reforms issued in the name of the Catholic hierarchy in 1919.

In his 20 years as New York's archbishop, Hayes devoted himself to local matters, avoiding the spotlight and shunning national controversies. With the assistance of the Reverend Robert J. Keegan, he completed the centralization and incorporation of diocesan charities, including over 200 agencies, providing a model for other prelates and dioceses. Named to the College of Cardinals in 1924, he was frequently referred to as the "Cardinal of Charities."

Occasionally Cardinal Hayes did speak out on public issues which he felt involved moral principles or the welfare of the Church. He opposed prohibition, backed legislation to limit indecency on the stage, and, in a rare step, denounced the work of the American Birth Control League in 1935. Widely respected by prominent citizens, he joined in efforts to combat bigotry and endorsed unemployment relief during the Depression. He died on Sept. 4, 1938.

Further Reading on Cardinal Patrick Joseph Hayes

A full-length study of Hayes is John Bernard Kelly, Cardinal Hayes: One of Ourselves (1941). There is an account of Hayes's life in Brendan A. Finn, Twenty-Four American Cardinals (1947). For general background see Thomas T. McAvoy, A History of the Catholic Church in the United States (1969).