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Thomas Scott Preston

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The Vicar-General of New York, prothonotary Apostolic, chancellor, distinguished convert, author, preacher, and administrator born at Hartford, Connecticut, 23 July, 1824; died at New York, 4 Nov., 1891. From his youth he was serious, pious, and zealous. He studied in the Episcopalian general seminary, located at Ninth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York, where he was recognized as the leader of the High Church party. In 1846 he received deacon's orders, and served in this capacity at Trinity Church, the Church of the Annunciation in West Fourteenth Street, and at Holy Innocents, West Point. In 1847 he was ordained presbyter by Bishop Delancey of Western New York, his own bishop having refused to advance him to this order on account of his ritualistic views. He believed himself now a validly ordained priest of the English branch of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, and served for some time at St. Luke's, Hudson Street, New York, hearing confessions and urging frequent Holy Communion. He was a deep student of the early history of the Church and of the Fathers, and thus gradually began to feel the branch theory untenable. He was convinced of the truth of Catholicity, as well as of his obligation to embrace it, before he had ever read a professedly Catholic book, or spoken to a priest. He was baptized and received into the Church on 14 November, 1849. In the autumn of 1850 he was ordained priest, and assigned to duty in the cathedral. In 1851 he was appointed pastor of Yonkers with out-missions at Dobbs Ferry and Tarrytown. In 1853 he became secretary to Archbishop Hughes, and chancellor of the diocese. He was appointed pastor of St. Ann's in 1863, and was promoted in 1872 to be vicar-general. During the absence of Archbishop Corrigan in 1890 he was administrator of the diocese. He founded and directed for many years the Sisters of the Divine Compassion. He was a man of exquisite refinement, of tender piety, and of intense loyalty. His Advent and Lenten conferences attracted multitudes from all parts of the city. His works are: "Reason and Revelation" (New York, 1868); "The Divine Paraclete" (1879); "Ark of the Covenant" (1860) "The Divine Sanctuary" (1887); "Gethsemani (1887); "The Sacred Year" (1885); "Vicar of Christ" (1878); "The Protestant Reformation" (1879); "Protestantism and the Church" (1882); "Protestantism and the Bible" (1888); "Christian Unity" (1881); "The Watch on Calvary" (1885) "Christ and the Church" (1870); "God and Reason" (1884); "Devotion to the Sacred Heart".


PRESTON, Remembrances of My Brother Thomas; BRANN, The Rt. Rev. Thomas S. Preston, Vicar General (New York); Catholic Family Almanac (1893); Monsignor Preston's Views (New York, 1890); CORNELL, Beginnings of the Church in Yonkers (Yonkers, 1893); Golden Jubilee of St. Ann's Parish (1902).

About this page

APA citation. Lavelle, M. (1911). Thomas Scott Preston. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Lavelle, Michael. "Thomas Scott Preston." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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