Fitton, James

Fitton, James one of the founders of the Roman Catholic Church in New England, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1803, and was confirmed by the first bishop of Boston, Dr. Cheverus. He attended the first Catholic school in New England, under Reverend Dr. Matignoii, and was for a while teacher in the seminary attached to the old church in Franklin, where he had for one of his pupils, Dr. Williams, archbishop of Boston. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Fenwick, December 23, 1827. In 1829 he was sent on a mission to the Passamaquoddy Indians, in Maine, the same year to New Hampshire and Vermont, and soon established his headquarters at Hartford, Connecticut, where he purchased the first Catholic church, established the Catholic Press, and extended his labors to even county in Connecticut. He established what is now the College of the Holy Cross, at Worcester, Mass., and helped build the Catholic cause at Northampton, Providence, R.I., Newport, and other places in those two states. In August, 1855, he was transferred to East Boston, Mass., where he founded four parishes. He also established several schools. He died in Boston, September 15, 1881. Mr. Fitton compiled The Triumph of Religion, edited the Manual of St. Joseph, a prayer-book, and was the author of a History of the Catholic Church in New England (1872). "His work is seen in the whole history of Catholicity in New England. No page can be written without his impress upon it. Wisdom filled his works; wisdom completed them. In life he seemed to us what he really was, a model priest" (Bishop Healy). See (N.Y.) Catholic Annual, 1883, page 74.

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