Father Duffy Monument, New York City
Nestled in the northern triangle of Times Square in New York City, this monument is dedicated to Father Francis Patrick Duffy. The monument, created by Charles Keck, was unveiled May 2, 1937. The bronze statue depicts Father Duffy wearing his military uniform and stands 8 feet tall. Behind Duffy, a 17-foot Celtic cross, made of green granite, towers upward.
Backstory and Context
Francis Duffy was born in Cobourg, Canada in 1871. He moved to New York City in 1893 so that he could teach French at the now currently, Xavier High School. Duffy was ordained as a priest shortly after coming to New York. While in New York City, Duffy found a job as a teacher at St. Josephs Seminary where he remained for 14 years.
Father Duffy started his military career in 1898 as a Chaplain. He served as First Lieutenant to the 69th Infantry during the Spanish-American War. Later, Father Duffy served in The Great War for the Rainbow Division, a famous division that included soldiers from all of the United States, as a Lieutenant Colonel. During his time in Europe, he earned numerous medals including the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal.
During the War, Father Duffy was often found amongst the front lines, listening to confessions from the other soldiers which enhanced his legendary reputation. Armed with his bible, Duffy would travel with first-aid units where he provided spiritual encouragement. Duffy was known for running into areas where fighting was heaviest - a demonstration of his courage and commitment. For all of his efforts in the Great War, Father Duffy returned a celebrated captain.
In 1920, Father Duffy found a job with the Holy Cross Church on West 42nd Street where he spent the remainder of his life serving the citizens of Hell's Kitchen. In the 1928 election, Duffy helped draft a response to critics who believed Catholic candidate, Al Smith, would put his religious affiliation above the country. One of the main arguments used in the response was freedom of religion. On June 26, 1932, Father Duffy passed away. He served his community right up until his death.
Father Duffy. 69th Regiment. Accessed Web, 5/6/17. http://www.sixtyninth.net/duffy.html.