Archbishop Edward Daniel Howard
Archbishop Edward Daniel Howard        When Archbishop Edward D. Howard died in 1983 at the age of 105, he was at that time the oldest Catholic prelate in the world.  Ironically, he had been born with an older twin brother, Emmett, who died at the age of nine months.  Both sons had been born on November 5, 1877, in Cresco, Iowa, to John R. and Marie Fleming Howard.  The Archbishop had an older brother, Eugene, who died in 1934, and one sister, Sister of Providence Eugene Marie Howard of St. Mary's of the Woods, Indiana, who also preceded him in death in 1942.  Archbishop Howard's father had been born in Ireland in 1841, but immigrated to the United States as a child, later moving to Illinois.  He served during the Civil War with the 95th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, saw action in several major battles and was wounded at the siege of Vicksburg.  Marie Fleming was born in Woodstock, Illinois, one in a family of eleven children. She met her future husband in Decorah, Iowa, and was married to him in Cresco in 1867, where their children were born and raised as typical farm children.

        After completing eight years of public education in Cresco, Edward Howard left for St. Joseph (now Loras) College in Dubuque, where he graduated from high school, and completed two years of college.  In 1900, he moved to St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he prepared for the priesthood.  He was ordained by Archbishop John Ireland on June 12, 1906, in St. Paul.  He returned to St. Joseph College to teach Greek and Latin in the high school.  He became Principal in 1908, and served as such until 1916, when he was made Dean of the College.  He was named President in 1920, a post he held until 1924.  Father Howard was elected by Pope Pius XI to the Titular See of Isaura on December 23, 1923, and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Davenport.  He was consecrated on April 6, 1924, in St. Raphael Cathedral, Dubuque, Iowa, by Archbishop Austin Dowling of St. Paul, assisted by Bishop Daniel M. Gorman of Boise and Bishop Thomas W. Drumm of Des Moines.

        Bishop Howard's administrative talents did not go unobserved, and he was promoted once again, to the Metropolitan See of Oregon City on April 30, 1926.  He was installed in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (known as St. Mary's) in Portland on August 25, 1926, having made the journey west by rail in the company of his devoted mother.  On September 1 of the same year, he received the Sacred Pallium.

Coat of Arms - Archbishop HowardTo reflect the fact that Portland was and had been the center of the Archdiocese since Archbishop Blanchet took up residence here in the last century, the name of  Archbishop Howard's See city was changed by a decision of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation in Rome, dated September 26, 1928, to the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.

Archbishop Howard began centralizing his episcopal government by creating a much needed chancery in the rectory of the Cathedral, which served the purpose until a separate chancery building was erected, the first in this Archdiocese.  Once in office, he also reorganized the St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Name societies and fostered growth of Catholic Charities.

 In 1928, he was able to secure the Catholic Sentinel the Archdiocesan weekly newspaper (begun on February 5, 1870), from private ownership, and placed it under the capable direction of Msgr. Charles T. Smith and the Catholic Truth Society of Oregon.

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        In 1932, he convened the Fourth Provincial Council of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, and in 1935 held a Synod for the priests of his Archdiocese.

        Always interested in the cause of Catholic education, his determination was tested early, in 1931, in the case of All Saints Church in Portland.  That parish had been denied a permit to build a parochial grade school on the ground that the building would conflict with a local zoning ordinance.  Archbishop Howard appealed to the courts and won, the result being a decision that invalidated those clauses of the zoning ordinance that affected the building of churches and church-affiliated schools, the decision obviously having value as a precedent far-reaching beyond the state of Oregon.

        Also early in his office in Portland, Archbishop Howard began planning for an Archdiocesan high school for boys in the 1920s, and was only prevented from fulfilling his dream by the severe national economic crisis of the Great Depression.  Undaunted, he was so committed to this goal that he even had the dead moved to attain it!  St. Mary's Cemetery in east Portland, first used in 1858 and essentially abandoned by the early 1920s, was
chosen as the site of the new school.  The dead were removed, most of them were reburied in Mount Calvary Cemetery on Portland's west side, and, in 1939, Central Catholic High School finally opened its doors.

        Honors continued to befall Archbishop Howard, and on May 2, 1939, he was named by Pope Pius XII as an Assistant at the Pontifical throne.  Still in office and active at age 80, Archbishop Howard convened the Fifth Provincial Council of the Archdiocese in 1957, and attended the Second Vatican Council in Rome, 1962-1965.

        After having served his Archdiocese for 40 years, Archbishop Howard was transferred by Pope Paul VI to the titular archiepiscopal See of Albule on December 9, 1966.  He was appointed Administrator of the Archdiocese, sede vacante,  December 1966 to February 1967, until his successor was named.   He spent his retirement years in residence at Maryville Nursing Home in Beaverton, under the watchful care of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.  He died there on January 2, 1983, and was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland.  His Funeral Mass was telecast live from his Cathedral on January 7, the cause it was subsequently noted to his great credit of a marked increase in church attendance within this Archdiocese.
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