Paul Peter Rhode

Paul Peter Rhode
Native name Paweł Pioter Rhode
Diocese Green Bay
In office 1915-1945
Predecessor Joseph John Fox
Successor Stanislaus Vincent Bona
Other posts Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago (1908-1915)
Ordination June 17, 1894
by Frederick Katzer
Personal details
Born (1871-09-18)September 18, 1871
Wejherowo, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died March 3, 1945(1945-03-03) (aged 73)
Mercy Hospital, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

Paul Peter Rhode (Kashubian: Paweł Pioter Rhode; September 18, 1871 March 3, 1945) was a Kashubian German-born prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, and the first to be elevated to an American bishopric.[1][2] He served as bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin from 1915 until his death in 1945.


Early life and education

Paul Rhode was born in the Kashubian town of Wejherowo (Neustadt), then located in Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire, to Augustin and Krystyna Rhode.[3] His father died while Paul was quite young, and he came to the United States with his mother at age 9, settling in Chicago, Illinois.[3] He was educated at St. Mary's College near Louisville, Kentucky, and at St. Ignatius College in Chicago, where he completed his classical and philosophical studies.[4] He completed his theological studies at St. Francis Seminary near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[4]

Ordination and ministry

Rhode was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frederick Katzer on June 17, 1894.[5] His first assignment was as a curate at St. Adalbert Church in Chicago, where he remained for two years.[3] In 1896, he became the first pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church, a parish for Polish Catholics in the McKinley Park section of Chicago.[6] He was named pastor of St. Michael Church in South Chicago in 1897.[6]

Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago

On May 22, 1908, Rhode was appointed auxiliary bishop of Chicago and titular bishop of Barca by Pope Pius X.[5] Since he was the first Pole in America to be named a bishop, this occasion was celebrated with special joy by the Polish American community. He received his episcopal consecration on the following July 29 from Archbishop James Edward Quigley, with Bishops Peter Muldoon and Joseph Maria Koudelka serving as co-consecrators.[5] He served as vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1909 to 1915.[4]

Bishop of Green Bay

Following the resignation of Bishop Joseph J. Fox, Rhode was appointed the sixth Bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin, by Pope Benedict XV on July 15, 1915.[5] During his tenure, he established 10 parishes and 19 parochial schools, and organized the diocesan Catholic Charities and a department of education.[7] He died at Mercy Hospital in Oshkosh, at age 73.[4]

See also


  1. Holli, Melvin G.; Jones, Peter d'Alroy (1995). Ethnic Chicago : a multicultural portrait (4. ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. p. 186. ISBN 9780802870537.
  2. "First Polish Bishop in America". Dziennik Chicagoski (June 10, 1908).
  3. 1 2 3 Van Norman, Louis E. (1908). Poland: The Knight Among Nations. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "BISHOP PAUL RHODE OF GREEN BAY DEAD; Head of Wisconsin Diocese Since 1915 in Priesthood More Than 50 Years". The New York Times. 1945-03-04.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Bishop Paul Peter Rhode".
  6. 1 2 "SS Peter and Paul Church History". Polish Genealogical Society of America.
  7. "Bishops of the Diocese of Green Bay". Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph John Fox
Bishop of Green Bay
Succeeded by
Stanislaus Vincent Bona
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Succeeded by
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