Roman Catholic Bishop John Joseph Swint (December 15, 1879-November 23, 1962) was a great builder of religious institutions in the Diocese of Wheeling (now the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston). He was born in Pickens, the son of Peter M. and Caroline Winkler Swint. He received his education at St. Charles College in Ellicott City, Maryland, and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1904 for the Diocese of Wheeling. After being trained as a missionary at the Apostolic Mission House in Washington, he established the Apostolic Mission Band for the Wheeling diocese in 1906.
In December 1922, Swint succeeded the Most Rev. Patrick J. Donahue (1849–1922) as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling. He would serve in that role for the next 40 years. During that time, Swint oversaw tremendous growth in the diocese, whose boundaries included most of West Virginia and part of Virginia. Catholic population almost doubled from approximately 63,000 in 1922 to about 110,000 in 1962, representing more than 20 different ethnic groups. To meet the needs of this diverse and growing population, Swint initiated an aggressive building program. At the time of his death in 1962, close to 100 churches, a new cathedral, five hospitals, 43 elementary and secondary schools, one college, and one preparatory seminary had been founded under his leadership.
In 1954, on the 50th anniversary of Swint’s ordination to the priesthood, Pope Pius XII bestowed the honorary title of archbishop ad personam on him. He also held honorary doctorates from Georgetown University and West Virginia University.
This Article was written by Tricia Pyne
Last Revised on December 09, 2015
Cite This Article
Pyne, Tricia "John Joseph Swint." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 09 December 2015. Web. 23 January 2017.