Open main menu

Thomas Andrew Donnellan (January 24, 1914 – October 15, 1987) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensberg, New York from 1964 to 1968, and as the second Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia from 1968 until his death in 1987.

The Most Reverend

Thomas Andrew Donnellan
Archbishop of Atlanta
InstalledJuly 16, 1968
Term endedOctober 15, 1987
PredecessorPaul John Hallinan
SuccessorEugene Antonio Marino, SSJ
Other postsBishop of Ogdensburg (1964–68)
OrdinationJune 3, 1939
ConsecrationApril 9, 1964
Personal details
Born(1914-01-24)January 24, 1914
Bronx, New York
DiedOctober 15, 1987(1987-10-15) (aged 73)
Atlanta, Georgia
Coat of armsThomas Andrew Donnellan's coat of arms



Early life and ministryEdit

The eldest of two children, Thomas Donnellan was born in 1914 in the Bronx, New York, to Andrew and Margaret (née Egan) Donnellan. After graduating from Regis High School in the Bronx in 1931, Donnellan entered St. Joseph's Seminary in 1933, and was ordained to the priesthood by then-Archbishop of New York Francis Spellman on June 3, 1939. In 1942, Donnellan received a doctorate in Canon Law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Upon graduation, Donnellan was appointed as assistant pastor of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, eventually becoming Cardinal Spellman's secretary in 1954. In 1962, Donnellan became the rector of St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York.

In June 1954, Pope Pius XII honored Fr. Donnellan by raising him the rank of Papal Chamberlain, with the title of Very Reverend Monsignor, and again in March 1958, when he named him a Domestic Prelate, with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor. In December 1962, Pope John XXIII elevated him to the rank of Prothonotary Apostolic.

Bishop of OgdensburgEdit

On April 9, 1964, Donnellan was consecrated as bishop by Cardinal Spellman in St. Patrick's Cathedral, and subsequently installed as the ninth Bishop of Ogdensburg in upstate New York four days later on April 13.[1]

Archbishop of AtlantaEdit

Styles of
Thomas Andrew Donnellan
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Posthumous stylenot applicable

On May 29, 1968, following the death of Archbishop Paul Hallinan, Bishop Donnellan was appointed by Pope Paul VI as the second Archbishop of Atlanta, and was installed on July 16. During his 19-year tenure, Donnellan guided the archdiocese through extensive growth, with the number of Catholics in North Georgia nearly tripling from 50,000 in 1968 to over 133,000.

With his tenure as head of a Southern archdiocese beginning in the wake of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Donnellan dealt with many issues regarding the civil rights movement, most notably in January 1970, when he barred new enrollments in the archdiocese's Catholic schools as a gesture of support to the integration of local public school systems.

In 1984, Archbishop Donnellan was one of the co-authors of Economic Justice For All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, which was unveiled at a meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, and which urged a moral perspective in viewing the economy from the vantage point of the nation's poor.[2]

By 1987, Archbishop Donnellan suffered from ill health due to a stroke which occurred that May, resulting in him convalescing until his death on October 15. His funeral was held at the archdiocese's mother church, Cathedral of Christ the King, and was attended by over 1,000 mourners, with then-Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in the U.S. Archbishop Pio Laghi as principal celebrant.[3]

Archbishop Donnellan is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archbishop's Biography" Georgia Bulletin, July 16, 1968
  2. ^ "Archbishop Guided Extraordinary Church Growth", Georgia Bulletin, October 22, 1987 [1]
  3. ^ "Archbishop Thomas A Donnellan -- 1914 - 1987", Georgia Bulletin, October 22, 1987 [2]

External linksEdit