John Joseph Mitty
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John Joseph Mitty
The Most Reverend

John Joseph Mitty
Archbishop of San Francisco
John Joseph Mitty.jpg
Archbishop Mitty in 1948
SeeSan Francisco
InstalledMarch 2, 1935
Term endedOctober 15, 1961
PredecessorEdward Joseph Hanna
SuccessorJoseph Thomas McGucken
Other postsBishop of Salt Lake City (1926-32)
Coadjutor Archbishop of San Francisco (1932-35)
OrdinationDecember 22, 1906
ConsecrationSeptember 8, 1926
Personal details
Born(1884-01-20)January 20, 1884
New York, New York, United States
DiedOctober 15, 1961(1961-10-15) (aged 77)
Menlo Park, California, United States
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
Ordination history of
John Joseph Mitty
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byPatrick Joseph Hayes (New York)
DateSeptember 8, 1926
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by John Joseph Mitty as principal consecrator
Duane Garrison HuntOctober 28, 1937
Thomas Arthur ConnollyAugust 24, 1939
James Joseph SweeneyJuly 25, 1941
Hugh Aloysius DonohoeOctober 7, 1947
James Thomas O'DowdJune 29, 1948
Merlin Joseph GuilfoyleSeptember 21, 1950
Robert Joseph DwyerAugust 5, 1952
John Joseph ScanlanSeptember 21, 1954

John Joseph Mitty (January 20, 1884 – October 15, 1961) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the third Bishop of Salt Lake City (1926-1932) and the fourth Archbishop of San Francisco (1935-1961).

Early life and education

John Mitty was born in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, the son of John and Mary (née Murphy) Mitty.[1] He received his early education at the parochial school of St. Joseph's Church in his native city.[1] In 1896, he enrolled at De La Salle Institute.[2] He was orphaned at age fourteen.[3]

Mitty attended Manhattan College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1901.[4] He then began his studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph's Seminary at Dunwoodie in Yonkers.[2]


On December 22, 1906, Mitty was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York by Archbishop John Murphy Farley.[5] He continued his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1907.[1] The following year he received a doctorate in theology from the Major Pontifical Seminary in Rome.[1]

Following his return to New York in 1909, Mitty briefly served as a curate at St. Veronica Church in the West Village.[1] From 1909 to 1917, he was a professor of dogmatic theology at St. Joseph's Seminary.[4] One of Mitty's students at Dunwoodie was James Francis McIntyre. During World War I, he served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army, serving with the American Expeditionary Forces, 49th Infantry Division, and 101st Airborne Division in France.[3] He served with two New York regiments that saw action in the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive.[4]

Mitty was released from military service in 1919, and subsequently assigned as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Highland Falls.[2] In addition to his pastoral duties, he served as a Catholic chaplain at the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1919 to 1922.[1] General Douglas MacArthur served as Superintendent of West Point, during Mitty's time as Catholic chaplain. In 1922, New York Archbishop Patrick Joseph Hayes named Mitty pastor of St. Luke Church in the Bronx.[2]


Salt Lake City

On June 21, 1926, Mitty was appointed the third Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, by Pope Pius XI.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 6 from Cardinal Patrick Joseph Hayes, with Bishops John Joseph Dunn and Daniel Joseph Curley serving as co-consecrators, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.[5]

Bishop Mitty inherited a diocese deeply in debt. His predecessor had resorted to taking out new loans to pay the interest on previous debt, and left the diocese owing over $300,000. Mitty took control of the finances, focusing on improving the weekly offertory collection. When he left in 1932, the diocese was beginning to pay off its debts, and his successor was able to finish paying them off in 1936.

San Francisco

Mitty's vault at Holy Cross

In 1932 Pope Pius XI appointed Mitty to be the coadjutor to the Archdiocese of San Francisco and named him titular archbishop of Aegina.[5] Upon Archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna's retirement on March 2, 1935, Mitty succeeded as the fourth Archbishop of San Francisco, California. He was installed as archbishop and presented the pallium, the symbol of a metropolitan bishop, at a Pontifical High Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in September of that year.[6]

Mitty worked to rebuild or establish Catholic institutions in the archdiocese. His first act as archbishop was to direct his installation gift from the clergy to restoring Saint Patrick Seminary.[6] He had the archdiocese purchase the foreclosed upon St. Mary's College of California in 1937, and reopened the college in 1938.[7] In the twenty six years of his episcopate, 84 parishes and missions were founded in the archdiocese, and over 500 building projects were completed.[8]

Mitty caused controversy when he called for a boycott of the San Francisco News for factually reporting that a priest of the archdiocese was arrested, plead guilty, and fined for drunk driving, calling the coverage anti-Catholic.[9] He joined with several other American bishops and archbishops in criticizing the Moscow Declaration, particularly questioning the Soviet Union's motives.[10]

In 1951, Archbishop Mitty approved the establishment of the Western Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in San Francisco for the Western United States. He presided at the first investiture ceremony of the association in 1953.[11]

Archbishop Mitty died of a heart attack at Saint Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California.[8] He is buried in the Archbishops' Crypt at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, California. Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California, is named for him.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig.
  2. ^ a b c d "FATHER MITTY A BISHOP; Rome Announces Bronx Pastor Will Be Elevated to Salt Lake City See". The New York Times. 1926-06-03.
  3. ^ a b "History of the Archdiocese of San Francisco". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. Archived from the original on 2010-06-03.
  4. ^ a b c "Archbishop John J. Mitty Dies; Led San Francisco Archdiocese". The New York Times. 1961-10-16.
  5. ^ a b c d "Archbishop John Joseph Mitty".
  6. ^ a b "Pallium to Mitty". TIME. September 16, 1935. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  7. ^ "St. Mary's Resurgent". TIME. January 31, 1938. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Milestones". TIME. October 27, 1961. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  9. ^ "Catholic Campaign". TIME. October 23, 1944. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  10. ^ "Moscow: Catholic View". TIME. November 22, 1943. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  11. ^ Carl Edwin Lindgren. "Some notes about the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in the U.S.A." Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved .

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