Famous American Priests

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Marie Laveau

Marie Laveau
Famous As: Occultist, Priestess
Birthdate: September 10, 1801
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: June 15, 1881

Occultist and herbalist Marie Laveau was known as the Vodoo Queen of New Orleans. Though a hairdresser, she was chiefly known for her spiritual practices which she used to heal the sick and the poor. She has inspired several books, such as Robert Tallant's The Voodoo Queen.

 2 T. D. Jakes

T. D. Jakes
Famous As: Priest, Author, Writer
Birthdate: June 9, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: South Charleston

Known for his baritone voice and his signature goatee, T. D. Jakes is a bishop at The Potter's House and a filmmaker, too. He has produced and appeared in films such as Jumping the Broom and Not Easily Broken, the latter being based one of his novels.

 3 Ralph Abernathy

Ralph Abernathy
Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: March 11, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Linden, Alabama, United States
Died: April 17, 1990
American civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy collaborated with Martin Luther King Jr to create the Montgomery Improvement Association.  Abernathy, who also served as an advisory committee member of the Congress on Racial Equality, addressed the United Nations about world peace in 1971. During the Wounded Knee incident of 1973, he helped broker a deal between the FBI and Indian protestors.
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 4 Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot
Famous As: Missionary
Birthdate: October 8, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon
Died: January 8, 1956
 American Christian missionary Jim Elliot was one of five people killed during Operation Auca. He is still remembered for his selfless devotion to God and his zeal, tempered by love, to guide people. The Journals of Jim Elliot contains volumes of documents written over many years by Jim Elliot in which the missionary has detailed his mission work.

 5 Max Lucado

Max Lucado
Famous As: Theologian, Writer
Birthdate: January 11, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Angelo
A best-selling author and pastor at Oak Hills Church, Max Lucado is known for combining poetic storytelling and homespun humor. With over 120 million copies sold in 54 languages, Max is dubbed as America’s Pastor. He received three Gold Medallion Book of the Year awards for his books, Just Like Jesus, In the Grip of Grace, and When God Whispers Your Name.

 6 James Smith Bush

James Smith Bush
Famous As: Jurist, Writer, Lawyer, Priest, Politician
Birthdate: June 15, 1825
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rochester
Died: November 11, 1889

The progenitor of the Bush political family, James Smith Bush, was a jurist by training before he was drawn to divinity and ordained as a priest. He began his career as rector of the Grace Church in Orange, New Jersey. Later, he visited other parts of the country, writing several books on religion, most significant of them being Evidence of Religion.

 7 Solomon Burke

Solomon Burke
Famous As: Singer, Priest, Guitarist, Songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: March 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: October 10, 2010
American preacher and singer Solomon Burke shaped the sound of rhythm and blues as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960s. Known for his 'prodigious output', Burke has been called 'a key transitional figure bridging R&B and soul'. During his professional career that lasted 55 years, Burke released 38 studio albums and had 35 singles.
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 8 Mychal Judge

Mychal Judge
Famous As: Catholic priest
Birthdate: May 11, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: September 11, 2001

Designated Victim 0001 of the 2011 Twin Tower attack, Mychal Judge was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. Developing an early interest in monastic life, he served in various parishes before being appointed chaplain to New York City Fire Department. On hearing about the attack, he rushed to the spot and died while praying for the victims inside North Tower.

 9 Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard
Famous As: Pastor, Priest, Preacher
Birthdate: June 27, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yorktown

Ted Haggard is an evangelical pastor who founded New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is also the founder of the Association of Life-Giving Churches. He is against same-sex marriages. In 2006, it was revealed that he had paid a male sex worker for sexual favors and also purchased some illegal drugs from him. 

 10 Daniel Berrigan

Daniel Berrigan
Famous As: Peace activist, Theologian, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: May 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Virginia
Died: April 30, 2016

Daniel Berrigan was an American anti-war activist, Jesuit priest, Christian pacifist, author, poet, and playwright. Berrigan gained national attention for his protest against the Vietnam War, which landed him on the FBI's most-wanted list. He remained a popular anti-war activist throughout his life, co-founding an anti-nuclear weapons movement called the Plowshares movement in 1980.

 11 Yusuf Estes

Yusuf Estes
Birthdate: January 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ohio
Yusuf Estes, a Muslim convert, is a popular Islamic speaker. He has also served as a delegate to the United Nations World Peace Conference for Religious Leaders in 2000. Estes now travels around the world and gives lectures on topics relating to Islam. He has served as a guest presenter at various Islamic events and frequently appears on various Islamic TV channels.

 12 Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri Tekakwitha
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: 1656 AD
Birthplace: Auriesville, New York, United States
Died: April 17, 1680
Kateri Tekakwitha was a Catholic saint known for her virtue of chastity and mortification of the flesh. She was the first North American Indian canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Tekakwitha was known as “Lily of the Mohawks” in recognition of her kindness. Pope Benedict XVI recognized Tekakwitha as a saint and she was later canonized.

 13 Aiden Wilson Tozer

Aiden Wilson Tozer
Birthdate: April 21, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: La Jose (now Newburg), Pennsylvania, USA
Died: May 12, 1963
American Christian pastor, Aiden Wilson Toze,r was also an author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. He was a recipient of honorary doctorates from Wheaton and Houghton Colleges for his accomplishments. His popular books are The Knowledge of the Holy, Attributes of God, The Divine Conquest, How to Be Filled with the Holy...  and The Best of A. W. Tozer: 52...

 14 Clayton M. Christensen

Clayton M. Christensen
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: April 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah

Known for his popular book The Innovator's Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen was an academic and consultant. His 6’8” frame helped him be an important part of the Oxford basketball team. A Harvard MBA, he later taught at his alma. He topped the Thinkers 50 list twice.

 15 Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean
Famous As: Sister
Birthdate: April 21, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

A leading advocate for abolition of death penalty, Roman Catholic sister, Helen Prejea,n started her campaign after she became spiritual guide for a death row convict, penning down her experience in her best-selling book, Dead Man Walking. Also the founder of SURVIVE, a group aimed at helping the families of the victims, she has since been giving talks across USA.     

 16 Theodore McCarrick

Theodore McCarrick
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: July 7, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Theodore McCarrick is a former cardinal and laicized bishop of the Catholic Church. He became the first cardinal to resign from the College of Cardinals because of sexual abuse claims in July 2018. Known as a champion of progressive Catholicism and social justice causes, McCarrick was found guilty of sexual crimes and abuse of power. He was dismissed from clergy in 2019.

 17 Diane Hegarty

Diane Hegarty
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 10, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago

Though she appears like a regular blonde beauty, Diane Hegarty made headlines when she co-created the Church of Satan with her partner Anton LaVey. She has also co-written books such as The Satanic Bible and has appeared in many documentaries that featured her with her family and her pet lion.

 18 Greg Boyle

Greg Boyle
Birthdate: May 19, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 19 Michael Pfleger

Michael Pfleger
Birthdate: May 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago

 20 Eddie Long

Eddie Long
Famous As: Priest, Writer
Birthdate: May 12, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Huntersville
Died: January 15, 2017

Senior pastor of the megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Eddie Long made headlines when a few minor male congregants accused him of sexual abuse. He held a business administration degree and also worked as a sales representative. His long struggle with cancer eventually ended in his death at 63.

 21 Theodore Parker

Theodore Parker
Famous As: Transcendentalist
Birthdate: August 24, 1810
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lexington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 10, 1860

Theodore Parker was an American transcendentalist minister whose words and quotations would later help inspire popular speeches of the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. A reformer and abolitionist, Parker played a key role in fighting against such laws as the Fugitive Slave Act.

 22 D. Todd Christofferson

D. Todd Christofferson
Famous As: Priest, Lawyer
Birthdate: January 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pleasant Grove

 23 Charles Coughlin

Charles Coughlin
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: October 25, 1891
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hamilton, Canada
Died: October 27, 1979

Charles Coughlin, or Father Coughlin, was a Roman Catholic “radio priest” and a pioneer of broadcasting sermons using radio as a medium. He established the Shrine of the Little Flower, and his magazine Social Justice was banned or violating the Espionage Act. He also penned several books.

 24 Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: February 25, 1935
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

 25 Richard Rohr

Richard Rohr
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 20, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kansas, United States
American author, Richard Rohr, was ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church in 1970. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. Some of Richard's famous books include Everything Belongs, Adam's Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love.

 26 Paul Shanley

Paul Shanley
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: January 25, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dorchester

 27 Raymond Leo Burke

Raymond Leo Burke
Famous As: Catholic priest
Birthdate: June 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richland Center, Wisconsin, United States

 28 Philip Berrigan

Philip Berrigan
Famous As: Peace activist
Birthdate: October 5, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Two Harbors, Minnesota, United States
Died: December 6, 2002

Philip Berrigan was a peace activist and Catholic priest. He was active in the peace and nuclear disarmament movement and advocated for peaceful and nonviolent protests. He was affiliated with the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. He was married to a former nun and peace activist Elizabeth McAlister. The couple founded Jonah House, a faith-based community. 

 29 John Geoghan

John Geoghan
Famous As: Serial Child Rapist
Birthdate: June 4, 1935
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston
Died: August 23, 2003

 30 Phillips Brooks

Phillips Brooks
Famous As: Priest, Writer, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 13, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston
Died: January 23, 1893

 31 Raymond E. Brown

Raymond E. Brown
Famous As: Catholic Priest
Birthdate: May 22, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 8, 1998

 32 H. Richard Niebuhr

H. Richard Niebuhr
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 3, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wright City, Missouri, United States
Died: July 5, 1962

 33 Howard W. Hunter

Howard W. Hunter
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: November 14, 1907
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boise, Idaho, United States
Died: March 3, 1995

 34 Andrew Greeley

Andrew Greeley
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: February 5, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: May 29, 2013

 35 Roger Mahony

Roger Mahony
Famous As: University teacher, Catholic priest
Birthdate: February 27, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hollywood

 36 Augustus Tolton

Augustus Tolton
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: April 1, 1854
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ralls County, Missouri, United States
Died: July 9, 1897

 37 William Lombardy

William Lombardy
Famous As: Chess player, Non-fiction writer, Priest
Birthdate: December 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: October 13, 2017

 38 Frederick T. Gates

Frederick T. Gates
Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: July 22, 1853
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maine, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1929

 39 Increase Mather

Increase Mather
Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: June 21, 1639
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Massachusetts Bay Colony, United States
Died: August 23, 1723

Puritan clergyman Increase Mather was educated at Harvard and Trinity and preached his first sermon the day he turned 18. The son of Puritan minister Richard Mather, he penned An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences, which is said to have influenced the Salem witch trials.

 40 Richard Allen

Richard Allen
Famous As: Minister
Birthdate: February 14, 1760
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 26, 1831

Born to slave parents, American clergyman Richard Allen became a Methodist convert at 22. He later founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church and served as its first bishop. Apart from establishing the first church for Blacks in the U.S., he worked on various aspects to improve the lives of Blacks.

 41 George A. Smith

George A. Smith
Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: June 26, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Potsdam, New York
Died: September 1, 1875

George A. Smith was one of the first leaders of the Latter Day Saint movement which was founded by Joseph Smith. He played an important role in Zion's Camp, which aimed at helping members of the church in Missouri. George A. Smith also played a key role in the events leading up to the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857.

 42 Kōbun Chino Otogawa

Kōbun Chino Otogawa
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: February 1, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: July 26, 2002

 43 Jemima Wilkinson

Jemima Wilkinson
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: November 29, 1752
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cumberland, Rhode Island, United States
Died: July 1, 1819

Jemima Wilkinson was an American preacher who later became known as the Public Universal Friend after becoming a genderless evangelist. The Public Universal Friend preached throughout the northeastern US. The Friend's teachings attracted several followers who became part of the Society of Universal Friends.

 44 William Taylor

William Taylor
Famous As: Bishop
Birthdate: 1821 AD
Birthplace: Rockbridge County, Virginia, United States
Died: May 18, 1902

 45 Theodore Hesburgh

Theodore Hesburgh
Famous As: 15th President of the University of Notre Dame
Birthdate: May 25, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, United States
Died: February 26, 2015

Theodore Hesburgh was an American educator, social activist, and author. Over the course of his career, Hesburgh was involved in several American governmental and civic initiatives, international humanitarian projects, commissions, and papal assignments. In 1964, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2000, he received the Congressional Gold Medal for his service.

 46 Richard John Neuhaus

Richard John Neuhaus
Famous As: Cleric
Birthdate: May 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pembroke, Canada
Died: January 8, 2009

 47 Murray, John Courtney

Murray, John Courtney
Famous As: American theologian
Birthdate: September 12, 1904
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: August 16, 1967

 48 Leon Sullivan

Leon Sullivan
Famous As: Civil rights leader
Birthdate: October 16, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charleston, West Virginia, United States
Died: April 24, 2001

Born into a poor neighborhood, Leon Sullivan later bagged an athletic scholarship but had to abandon his sports career due to an injury. He later became a Zion Baptist Church pastor and was actively involved in the civil rights movement and Operation Breadbasket, the latter meant to uplift Blacks economically.

 49 Philip Whalen

Philip Whalen
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 20, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: June 26, 2002

 50 John W. Beschter

John W. Beschter
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: May 20, 1763
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Duchy of Luxembourg
Died: January 6, 1842