Most Reverend Philip R. McDevitt

“Maria Impende Juvamen” (Mary, Send Your Help)

Most Reverend Philip R. McDevitt
Fourth Bishop of Harrisburg

1916 – 1935

Less than fifty years after its creation and following the death of Bishop Shanahan, the diocese welcomed its fourth bishop, Philip R. McDevitt. Bishop McDevitt came to Harrisburg from Philadelphia in 1916 with a background similar to his predecessor. His administration grew under the new Chancery system for diocesan administration established from the 1918 Code of Canon Law. Rev. John J. Kealy was the first-full time Chancellor appointed.

Bishop McDevitt is remembered in the diocese for his advancement of Catholic secondary education. Two central high schools, one in Harrisburg (later renamed in his honor) and the other in Lancaster, were built. Bishop McDevitt appointed Rev. Peter M. Stief, first Superintendent of Schools, in 1919.

Bishop McDevitt also appointed Rev. Joseph Schmidt to be the first Director for the Propagation of the Faith, in 1924. To respond to financial needs caused by the Depression, Bishop McDevitt created the Mission Board in 1925, successfully planned and administered for many years by Monsignor Joseph Schmidt. By 1935, the Catholic population approached 90,000 with 81 parishes served by 160 priests.