July 26: Bishop-elect James O’Reilly


July 26, 1887

Bishop-elect James O’Reilly

Bishop-elect James O’Reilly was born in 1845 in Killyfana, Redhills, County Cavan, Ireland and came to the United States around 1859. He completed his seminary studies at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, WI and was ordained on February 16, 1874 by Bishop Fink in Leavenworth, KS for the Vicariate Apostolic of Kansas. Bishop Fink requested the division of the Diocese of Leavenworth and Pope Leo XIII divided the western part of Bishop Fink’s diocese into the Diocese of Wichita and the Diocese of Concordia on August 2, 1887. Father James O’Reilly, pastor of Assumption Parish in Topeka, was appointed as bishop for the new Diocese of Wichita. “Father O’Reilly was never to take possession of his See at Wichita for he died on July 26, 1887, even before the papal bull of his appointment reached him.” (History of the Diocese of Wichita, p. 61)