Right Reverend Monsignor Joseph F. Delaney
Appointed by Bishop Joseph Dwenger as the second pastor in 1889.
The following is from the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center:
With a vision of the city's needs quite startling at the time of its inception, he sponsored a progressive program which set a pace for the religious institutions of the city. He was the first in the religious history of Fort Wayne to provide a social center affiliated with the church. His lyceum building was an experiment which has proved its value to the city in recreational and religious work. The Catholic Community Center is the latest fruit from the seed planted and nurtured by Monsignor Delaney.
Monsignor Delaney was born January 15, 1860, at Thompsonville, Connecticut. He was one of six children born to John and Mary Delaney. His father was a native of Roscrea, County Tipperary, and his mother of the Parish of Den, County Cavin, Ireland. His classical and philosophical courses were made at Niagara University, after which he entered St. Francis' Seminary, Milwaukee. After a year here his health failed. He was later sent to St. Vincent's Seminary, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where he completed his course in theology. Father Delaney was ordained a priest in the Cathedral at Fort Wayne by Bishop Dwenger on June 29, 1887. On July 17 he was appointed assistant to the Very Reverend J. H. Brammer, V.G., at the Cathedral. Two years later he succeeded the Reverend T. M. O'Leary as pastor of St. Patrick's Church. He was named irremovable rector by Bishop Alerding and is a diocesan consultor and examiner of the junior clergy.
His long and efficient record won him recognition as monsignor and domestic prelate by the Pope in 1927 and he now bears the title of the Right Reverend Monsignor Delaney. High honors were paid him by the Catholic church at his installation in his new appointments. Immediately upon his appointment to St. Patrick's church, Monsignor Delaney realized the importance of that parish in the future development of Fort Wayne. Four lots on Fairfield avenue had been purchased for the church, and he at once secured the two remaining lots, completing a half square fronting on DeWald street. A seventh lot, opposite the church, was purchased in 1905. The cornerstone was laid May 20, 1890. The church was dedicated in 1891.
Seeing the opportunities for religious and social development before him, he erected a school with a modern assembly hall in 1891, putting it in charge of the Sisters of Providence from St. Mary's-of-the-Woods. Monsignor Delaney, in 1901, erected St. Catharine's Academy ad joining this school. Here a high school and commercial course fitting pupils for business careers were offered. 'The original parochial residence, at 2120 Harrison street, erected in 1891, was remodeled and enlarged in 1906.
Monsignor Delaney's activities have reached beyond his immediate church. He had a prominent part in the Catholic Community Center building fund campaign in 1926. He is a member of the board of directors of the Associated Catholic Charities and has participated in Community Chest campaigns for the support of that social welfare work and the other allied charitable and philanthropic agencies. Father Delaney is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and takes a keen interest in the affairs of that body. During the World War he was a member of the relief board of the Fort Wayne Council for Patriotic Service. He has been in demand from many surrounding cities for addresses, especially for the dedication of church edifices. Failing health, however, has compelled him to forego many activities during the last few years.
He has ever been the friend of men and women in despair and difficulty. He frequently co-operates with police authorities in the quiet rehabilitation of such citizens. Many boys who have erred have found a friend, adviser, and consultant in Monsignor Delaney.