September 28, 2022
Thomas Mathias Lenihan
Thomas Mathias Lenihan
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Thomas Mathias Lenihan (May 21, 1843 – December 15, 1901) was a late 19th and early 20th century bishop in the Catholic Church in the United States. He served as bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne in the state of Wyoming from 1896-1901. He was an older brother to the first bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls, Mathias Clement Lenihan.

Born in Mallow, County Cork, Ireland, Lenihan was educated at St. Thomas College in Bardstown, Kentucky, St. Vincent’s Seminary in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Dubuque, Iowa on November 19, 1868. He was involved in parish ministry while a priest in the diocese, and later, archdiocese of Dubuque. In addition to his brother, Thomas also had a sister, Katherine Kelly (nee Lenihan).

On November 30, 1896 Pope Leo XIII named him the second bishop of Cheyenne. He was consecrated a bishop on February 24, 1897 by Archbishop John Hennessy of Dubuque. The co-consecrators were Bishops Henry Cosgrove of Davenport and Thomas Bonacum of Lincoln. The Cheyenne diocese had been without a bishop for almost four years when his predecessor, Bishop Maurice Francis Burke, left to become bishop of Saint Joseph, Missouri. Bishop Lenihan, however, was a man of poor health that was made worse by Wyoming’s high altitude and dryness. He was restricted in what he could accomplish and returned to Iowa where he died. He was the bishop of the diocese for 5 years.