Russell Shaw writes about the life and career of John Carroll in the December 23, 2013 issue of Our Sunday Visitor newsweekly:
A member of a wealthy and respected Catholic family, with excellent contacts among America’s political and social elite, Archbishop Carroll proved notably adept at building bridges with the non-Catholic world in a career spanning more than three decades. “A gentleman of learning and abilities,” John Adams, who was to be second president of the United States, said of the young priest in 1776, the year of American independence.
Along with persuading Protestants that Catholics also had a place in America, John Carroll was to tackle the mammoth task of building the infrastructure of the Church from scratch. And in this, too, he proved remarkably successful.
He was born Jan. 8, 1735, at his parents’ plantation in southern Maryland, the fourth of seven children. His older brother, Daniel, was to be one of only five men who signed both the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution. His cousin and lifelong friend, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first U.S. senator from Maryland.