James Moynagh

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Bishop James Moynagh S.P.S. (1903 - 1985), was an Irish-born Roman Catholic priest who served for the Saint Patrick’s Society for the Foreign Missions in Nigeria, and was ordained Bishop of Calabar.


He was born on 25 April 1903 to Patrick Moynagh and Margaret Moynagh (née Smith), of Legwee, Loughduff, Ballinagh, Mullahoran, Co. Cavan, and educated at St. Mel's College, Longford.[1] He studied for the priesthood in Maynooth College, where he was ordained in 1930 for the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, but volunteered to serve in Nigeria.

Moynagh was ordained a bishop in 1947, in Maynooth, and appointed Vicar Apostolic Calabar Nigeria, becoming the first resident Bishop of Calabar in 1950.[2]

Bishop Moynagh was instrumental in the foundation of the Medical Missionaries of Mary (his sister Sr. Mary Joseph Moynagh was an early member of the congregation, and served as its fourth superior)[3] and that of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus.[1][4]

Moynagh resigned as bishop in 1970 due to the civil war in Nigeria (all foreign-born missionaries were excluded from Nigeria[5]) and following his return from there, he was appointed Parish Priest of Annaduff, Co. Leitrim.[6]

He spent his final years at Kiltegan, with the St. Patrick's Missionary Society, and died on 11 June 1985.[7]

The Bishop James Moynagh Pastoral Centre in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Uyo in Nigeria, is named in his honour.


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b New biography charts Irish priest’s role in Nigeria By Sarah Mac Donald, www.catholicireland.net, 26 March 2015.
  2. ^ "St Patricks Missionary Society". Spms.org. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  3. ^ Sr. M. Joseph Moynagh Obituariesm MMM Worldwide
  4. ^ 'Bishop James Moynagh of Calabar' by , Columba Press, 2014.
  5. ^ Irish Echoes from Nigeria by Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic, 12 February 2015.
  6. ^ David M. Cheney. "Bishop James Moynagh". Catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  7. ^ "New biography charts Irish priest's role in Nigeria". Catholicireland.net. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
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