The Catholic University of America



History of the Archdiocese 

historypage-captionOn November 6, 1789, Pope Pius VI created the Diocese of Baltimore.  On August 15, 1790, John Carroll was consecrated the first bishop of the vast diocese which extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from Canada to Florida—890,000 square miles, which in time would number twenty-five states.  On April 8, 1808, Pope Pius VII formed the suffragan dioceses of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Bardstown (later Louisville, Kentucky).  At the time of its inception, the New York Diocese comprised all of New York State as well as northeastern New Jersey.  In 1847, the Dioceses of Buffalo and Albany were created.  In 1850, Pope Pius raised the Diocese of New York to the status of a metropolitan see—an archdiocese.  In 1853, the Dioceses of Newark and Brooklyn were erected.

Currently, the Archdiocese of New York includes the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as the counties of Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties in New York State.

Facts about the Archdiocese

  • Saint Peter’s Church, Barclay Street, the first Catholic parish in New York State, was founded on October 5, 1785.
  • New York’s first bishop, the Most Reverend Richard Luke Concanen, O.P. (1747–1810) was appointed by Pius VII in 1808. The Napoleonic Wars delayed Concanen’s departure for New York, and on June 19, 1810, Concanen died in Naples, never having set foot in his new diocese.
  • The cornerstone of Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Mott Street, was laid in 1809. The new Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue was dedicated in 1879.
  • In 1809, Father Anthony Kohlmann, S.J., the future vicar general of the Diocese of New York, founded the New York Literary Institute, New York’s first Catholic college. The institute closed in 1813.
  • The first German parish in New York City, Saint Nicholas, was established in 1833, serving the German community of New York until 1960.
  • The first Italian parish in New York City, Saint Anthony of Padua, was founded in 1866.
  • The first Polish parish in New York City, Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr, was founded in 1872.
  • The first African-American parish in New York City, Saint Benedict the Moor, was founded in 1883.
  • The first Spanish-speaking parish in New York City, Our Lady of Guadalupe, was founded in 1902.
  • The Sisters of Charity, founded by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1809 in Emmitsburg, Maryland, was the first community of religious sisters to work in the Archdiocese of New York.
  • Pope Paul VI, the first reigning pontiff to visit the United States, prayed with Francis Cardinal Spellman at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Holy Family Church, Manhattan, spoke before the United Nations General Assembly, met with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, offered Mass at Yankee Stadium, and visited the Vatican Pavilion at the World’s Fair—all in a fourteen hour whirlwind trip to New York on October 4, 1965.
  • Blessed Pope John Paul II visited New York in October 1979, and again in October 1995.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI visited New York in April 2008.


Cardinal Dolan

Born in Saint Louis, Missouri, the eldest of five children, Timothy Dolan attended Catholic grade schools, Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary South, and Cardinal Glennon College.  Upon completion of theological studies at the North American College, Rome, Dolan was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis in June 1976. Parish ministry was followed by appointment to graduate studies in church history at the Catholic University, where he was awarded a Ph.D in American Church History in 1985.  From 1987 to 1992, Father Dolan served on the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.  In 1994, Father Dolan was appointed rector of the North American College, where he served until 2001.  Pope John Paul II named Monsignor Dolan an auxiliary bishop of St. Louis and he was ordained to the episcopacy on August 15, 2001.  On August 28, 2002, Archbishop Dolan was installed as the tenth Archbishop of Milwaukee.  On April 15, 2009, Archbishop Dolan assumed his role as the tenth Archbishop of New York.  Affable and approachable, this Midwesterner-turned-New Yorker was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 16, 2010. On February 18, 2012, he was elevated by Pope Benedict to the College of Cardinals.