RT. REV. MGR. MICHAEL PATRICK CONNERY, Rector of St. Columba's Church, Buffalo, is one of the most honored and distinguished of the many men of consecrated life and superior ability who have dignified the annals of the Roman Catholic Church in Western New York.
Mgr. Connery comes of Irish lineage and of a devout Catholic ancestry. The Connery family settled in the State of New York in the early '30's, and grand-uncles of Mgr. Connery built the church at North Bay on the shores of Oneida Lake.
Michael Patrick Connery was born in Belfast, Ireland, September 14, 1851, the son of Patrick Connery and Rose Scullin. He attended parish school in Belfast, and his parents dying when he was a boy, he came to America in his twelfth year in company with his brother, the late Rev. Henry Hugh Connery. After his arrival in this country, Michael P. Connery first lived in New York City, where lie attended St. Peter's Parochial School until September, 1868, when he entered Niagara University, whence he was graduated in 1874. He remained a year longer at the institution, pursuing a post-graduate course. In 1874 he was ordained a priest, the ceremony taking place in St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, Bishop Ryan officiating. Shortly after his ordination Father Connery was assigned to St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, where he remained a year and seven months. He was then designated to take charge of the parish of Rexville, Steuben County, N. Y., whence after a little more than two years he was recalled to St. Joseph's. After - five years of efficient service in Buffalo he was appointed to the parish of Akron, Erie County, where the new St. Teresa's Church and Rectory was built during his pastorate. In 1889 Mgr. Connery was appointed pastor of St. Columba's Church, Buffalo, where he has remained nearly a score of years, being now the irremovable Rector of the church. The pastorate of Mgr. Connery at St. Columba's has been a period of rich growth and harvest in the religious work of that parish. Under the inspiration of his earnestness and eloquence, and guided by his sterling administrative ability, the parish has built a fine church, rectory, school and convent the total valuation of the property being $200,000. Through his ministrations the church has also enjoyed a great accession of membership. The success of the work of St. Columba's received a most gratifying tribute of recognition from His Holiness, Pope Pius X., by the promotion of Father Connery to the dignity of Monseigneur, which carries with it the ecclesiastical rank of Prelate of the Pontifical Household. In 1897 he was appointed by Bishop James E. Quigley a member of the Bishop's Council and also Vicar General of Buffalo Diocese. When Bishop Quigley was elevated to the Archbishopric of Chicago in 1903, Mgr. Connery became Administrator of the diocese of Buffalo until the appointment and arrival of Bishop Colton. When the See of Buffalo became vacant Mgr. Connery was second on the list of three men named to Rome by the Bishops of the Province of New York as eligible and desirable for the office of Bishop of Buffalo.
In Mgr. Connery the spiritual gifts of the priest of true consecration and fervent zeal are united with the sterling practical qualities of the born leader of men. As a preacher he is terse and forceful, speaking with the language which comes home to the hearts of his flock. He is the type of man in whom one instinctively reposes confidence, and is cognizant that the sorrows, faults and failings of human nature may under right spiritual direction become the stepping-stones to a higher life. These traits - the traits of a rare personality - furnish the explanation of the love and veneration with which Mgr. Connery is regarded.
SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I