Father Thomas M. O’Leary

Father Thomas M. O’Leary

Appointed as the first pastor in 1889 by Bishop Joseph Dwenger. Father O'Leary passed away three weeks later on October 24, 1889.

The following is by Bishop H.J. Alerding:

Father O'Leary was the son of Thomas and Honora (Lawler) O'Leary. His father was a native of Ardfert, County Kerry, while his mother was born in the village of Banna, in the same county, Ireland. He was born June 8, 1854, at Lafayette, Indiana.

Upon the death of his mother, he was cared for by Father O'Reilly, of Valparaiso, until he entered the University of Notre Dame, where he remained several years. His further education and theological studies were made at St. Francis' Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and St. Meinrad's Abbey, in Spencer County, Indiana.

On January 26, 1885, Bishop Rademacher of Nashville, Tennessee, ordained Father O'Leary a priest at St. Mary's Church in Fort Wayne, at which time Monsignore Benoit's remains lay in state at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

From the time of his ordination Father O'Leary was assistant at the Catherdral until he was appointed pastor of the new St. Patrick's Parish in Fort Wayne. He departed this life, on October 24, 1889, all too soon, being but a few months over thirty-five years of age at the time of his death. He was a priest of character, dignity, and genuine ability. His remains rest in the Catholic cemetery at Fort Wayne.