Bishop Cuthbert O’Gara, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1886-1968)

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He was a missionary bishop to China. Born April 1, 1886 in Ottawa, Canada, he professed his Passionist vows on October 18, 1914. He was ordained a priest on May 26, 1915. From 1917 to 1924 he taught theology, canon law, and sacred Scripture to Passionist seminarians. In 1924 he was assigned to the Passionist missions in Hunan, China. On October 28, 1934, he was consecrated as a missionary bishop of Yuanling, China. Until 1949 he coordinated the ministry of over sixty Passionist priests, and various sisters in some fifteen mission stations, several schools, two hospitals, and thirteen refugee camps. Financial support came from The Sign Magazine. In 1941 he was imprisoned by the Japanese in Hong Kong. On May 15, 1947 he was named bishop of the restructured Yuanling diocese. When the Communists gained control in 1949, he was labeled an “imperialist” and imprisoned from 1951 to 1953, when he was released. In 1953 Bishop Fulton J. Sheen proclaimed him as “a dry martyr”- one who suffered martyrdom without shedding blood. A strong voice for the American Catholic China Lobby which supported the Chinese Nationalists, he spoke out against Chinese Communists. He died on May 13, 1968.

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