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Archbishop Henry P. Rohlman

ROHLMAN, Henry P. (Appelhausen, Westphalia, Germany, Mar. 17, 1876--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 13, 1957). Rohlman's post-secondary education began at St. Lawrence Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin. He then continued his education at ST. JOSEPH COLLEGE in Dubuque where he graduated in 1898. In her book Seed/Harvest, Mary Kevin Gallagher mentions the unusual fact of his middle name "Patrick," an unusual choice for someone born in Germany since it would suggest an Irish background. Although documents from 1899 and 1901 carry the signature of Henry Bernard Rohlman, son of Bernard and Bernardina Rohlman, it was Henry P. Rohlman who signed his Profession of Faith in 1910. (1) The middle name "Patrick" helped him work in cities like Dubuque which had prominent Irish and German populations.

He studied for the priesthood in Montreal and began serving as a priest in Dubuque in 1901. (2) As the Catholic population of Dubuque increased, Archbishop James J. KEANE saw the need for a new parish in 1922. The CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY located on Alta Vista Street was the result of Rev. Henry P. Rohlman, the founding pastor, consulting with architect Casimir Ignatius KRAJEWSKI for the construction of a church and school in English-Gothic style. (3)

The Newman Club at The University of Iowa, named for influential 19th Century Cardinal John Henry Newman, was formed in 1906 to be the Catholic Club on campus. In 1943 the Diocese of Davenport purchased a former fraternity house which opened on February 21, 1944 as The Catholic Student Center. The Chapel was dedicated to St. Thomas More on May 7, 1944 by Bishop Henry P. Rohlman. The center included a worship space, social rooms, and a library in a building that also housed the priests serving the center. (4)

On July 22, 1944, Rohlman was appointed as Coadjutor Archbishop of Dubuque with the right of succession. His appointment was directly related to questions related to the investments Archbishop Francis J.L. BECKMAN had made in a California gold mine and large collections of art. (5)

Upon the resignation of Archbishop Beckman, Rohlman became the fourth archbishop of Dubuque in November 1946. During his tenure, he headed the LORAS COLLEGE endowment drive that collected over one million dollars, CHRIST THE KING CHAPEL was built at Loras College, St. Mary's Home for Children was constructed along Carter Road, the number of priests in the archdiocese rose to 345, two priests of the Archdiocese were consecrated bishops, and a $2.5 million building was constructed to house Mount Saint Bernard Seminary. (6) St. Dominic's Villa, a home for the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters was started in 1948 and XAVIER HOSPITAL staffed by Dubuque Franciscians was opened in 1949. (7) Archbishop Rohlman encouraged the development of lay organizations. The CATHOLIC MOTHERS' STUDY CLUBS were started, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine programs were resumed, and more vacation and Bible study schools were established. He supported the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. (8)

The archbishop's retirement was announced on January 3, 1955.



1. Gallagher, Mary Kevin. Seed/Harvest: A History of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Dubuque: Archdiocese of Dubuque Press, 1987, p. 110

2. Jones, Angela, "Archbishop Rohlman," Tri-States' German Heritage published by the Telegraph Herald, June, 2018, p. 38

3. "Church of the Nativity," Online: http://nativity.weconnect.com/History

4. "Rooted in the Past, Focused on the Future--The Newman Club," Online: http://www.iowacatholic.org/history.html

5. Gallagher, p. 110

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid., p. 113

8. Ibid., p. 116