When Bishop Vaughan first went to Salford he found the diocese comparatively well equipped in regard to its elementary schools, but in most other respects without any sufficient diocesan organization. Long before he left the whole administration was placed on a thorough business footing. Strenuous efforts were made to reduce the burden of debt which weighed upon the diocese. The people were very poor, but they gave generously out of their poverty, and before he left for Westminster the bishop had the satisfaction of knowing that the general debt had been reduced by more than 64,000. The diocesan synods, which formerly had been held every seven years, were made annual. The system of administering the affairs of the diocese through the establishment of deaneries was greatly extended, the dean being made responsible for the proper administration of the missions within the limits of his deanery. A Board of Temporal Administration was formed to advise the bishop on all matters connected with finance.

The Great Outreach

A new phase of St. Joseph’s Missionary Society’s apostolate had begun in 1875 when four missionaries left St. Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, to serve in the Telugu-speaking districts of the Madras Presidency in southern India.  Not long after, in 1879, the Holy See directed Vaughan’s missionaries at Afghanistan to serve as military chaplains to the British forces and to identify opportunities for evangelisation.  In 1881, the Prefecture of Kashmir and Kafiristan was entrusted to the Society.  In the same year, halfway through Vaughan’s term as Bishop of Salford, a Mill Hill Mission was established in British North Borneo and five years later among the Maori people of New Zealand.  In 1894, after detailed negotiations between Cardinal Vaughan, the White Fathers and the Government in London, the Vicariate of the Upper Nile was created by Propaganda Fide and entrusted to St. Joseph’s Society.  The White Fathers, who had been in Uganda since 1878, hoped that the arrival of English missionaries would dispel the notion that Catholicism was an essentially French affair.

In 1895, Henry Hanlon was recalled from northern India, ordained Bishop at Rome, and appointed to lead the first band of four Mill Hill missionaries into the African interior.  The Uganda pioneers arrived in Kampala on 26September 1895.

Long-distance supervision of the United States mission was always going to be difficult.  A breach between the missionaries and Mill Hill became progressively wider, to the point at which it could no longer be healed.  In 1892, Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore offered to accept the missionaries who wished to be released from Mill Hill, and the following year, Vaughan gave his consent.  John Slattery became the superior of the independent St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart, or ‘Josephites’, dedicated to the service of African-Americans.

Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Manning died on 14 January 1892. There never was any doubt in the public mind as to who would succeed him. Vaughan faced the prospect with something like dismay. He thought the day of his strength was nearly done, and that at sixty he was too old to be transplanted to the new world of Westminster. He wrote privately to the pope protesting that he was better fitted to be a Lancashire bishop than the English metropolitan. Rome gave no heed to the letter, and Vaughan was appointed Archbishop of Westminster on 29 March, 1892. In May he was enthroned, in 16 August he received the sacred pallium at Brompton Oratory. By December, he was informed that he was also to be made cardinal, and received the red hat from Leo XIII on 9 January, 1893, with the presbyterial title of Sts. Andrew and Gregory on the Caelian.

One of the first works to which the archbishop set his hand was to try to improve the education of the clergy by uniting all the resources in men and money of several dioceses for the support of a central seminary at Oscott. In the autumn of 1894 he took steps to reverse the policy which had sought to prevent Catholic parents from sending their sons to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The bishop’s prohibition was being disregarded and evaded, and he thought it better that it should be withdrawn, and steps taken to secure for the Catholic undergraduates such safeguards for their faith in the way of chaplains and special courses of lectures as the circumstances would allow. He lived long enough to be assured that the change for which he was responsible had been completely successful.