Father Philip A. Taggart, MM
Born: January 12, 1893
Ordained: May 21, 1921
Died: August 4, 1931
Philip A. Taggart was born on January 12, 1893 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and came to Maryknoll in 1914. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1921. He sailed for the Orient in the autumn of that year, a member of Maryknoll’s fourth mission band.
Yeungkong, Maryknoll’s first mission, was Father Taggart’s assignment in China. While there he was under the guidance of Fr. Francis Ford. His first appointment as pastor was in the town of Tungchen. There he labored until 1927 when he returned to the United States to solicit funds in his native Brooklyn for the young and struggling Kongmoon Vicariate. Bishop James A. Walsh summarized Father Taggart’s quest by saying: “The result was the construction of four much needed mission compounds thhat this vital help has meant is beyond telling.
On his return to China in 1929, Father Taggart wasmade pastor of Yeungkong which had lain fallow since the anti-foreign agitations of 1925. He renovated the mission buildings at the center, repaired a number of the buildings in the out-stations and erected a new catechumenate for women. Soon the Old Ladies’ Home, the home for the blind girls, and the orphanage were reopened. In the autumn of 1930 he was able to welcome back the Maryknoll Sisters who had been forced to leave in 1925.
Yeungkong had become once again a “beehive of mission activity”, but Father Taggart’s labors were at an end. In July of 1931 he became ill and was taken to the home of his friend, Mr. Ady, a Presbyterian minister. During his last week of suffering he was faithfully attended by Father Francis Connors and the members of the Protestant mission. About two-thirty on August 4, 1931, while the Sisters and Father Connors were reciting the Rosary, Father Taggart went to sleep in the Lord. He was buried on the following day in the little hillside cemetery at Yeungkong.