Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Converision, First John 3:7-10, Psalms 98, John 1:35-42, St Elizabeth Anne Seton, History of US Catholic Church, Catholic Catechism 1:3

Friday, January 4, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Conversion, First John 3:7-10, Psalms 98, John 1:35-42, St Elizabeth Anne Seton, History of US Catholic Church, Catholic Catechism 1:3

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


January 2, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Dear children, with much love and patience I strive to make your hearts like unto mine. I strive, by my example, to teach you humility, wisdom and love because I need you; I cannot do without you my children. According to God’s will I am choosing you, by His strength I am strengthening you. Therefore, my children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. I will give them to my Son and in return, He will give you the gift of Divine peace. You will carry it to all those whom you meet, you will witness God’s love with your life and you will give the gift of my Son through yourselves. Through reconciliation, fasting and prayer, I will lead you. Immeasurable is my love. Do not be afraid. My children, pray for the shepherds. May your lips be shut to every judgment, because do not forget that my Son has chosen them and only He has the right to judge. Thank you. 

December 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Our Lady came with little Jesus in her arms and she did not give a message, but little Jesus began to speak and said : “I am your peace, live my commandments.” With a sign of the cross, Our Lady and little Jesus blessed us together.

December 2, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Dear children, with motherly love and motherly patience anew I call you to live according to my Son, to spread His peace and His love, so that, as my apostles, you may accept God's truth with all your heart and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then you will be able to faithfully serve my Son, and show His love to others with your life. According to the love of my Son and my love, as a mother, I strive to bring all of my strayed children into my motherly embrace and to show them the way of faith. My children, help me in my motherly battle and pray with me that sinners may become aware of their sins and repent sincerely. Pray also for those whom my Son has chosen and consecrated in His name. Thank you." 


Today's Word:  conversion   con·ver·sion  [kuh n-vur-zhuh n]

Origin: 1300–50; Middle English conversio ( u ) n  (< Anglo-French ) < Latin conversiōn-  (stem of conversiō ) a complete change. See converse2 , -ion 

1. the act or process of converting; state of being converted.
2. change in character, form, or function.
3. spiritual change from sinfulness to righteousness.
4. change from one religion, political belief, viewpoint, etc., to another.
5. a change of attitude, emotion, or viewpoint from one of indifference, disbelief, or antagonism to one of acceptance, faith, or enthusiastic support, especially such a change in a person's religion.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 98:1, 7-9

1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders, his saving power is in his right hand and his holy arm.
7 Let the sea thunder, and all that it holds, the world and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands, and the mountains shout for joy together,
9 at Yahweh's approach, for he is coming to judge the earth; he will judge the world with saving justice and the nations with fairness.


Today's Epistle -   First John 3:7-10

7 Children, do not let anyone lead you astray. Whoever acts uprightly is upright, just as he is upright.
8 Whoever lives sinfully belongs to the devil, since the devil has been a sinner from the beginning. This was the purpose of the appearing of the Son of God, to undo the work of the devil.
9 No one who is a child of God sins because God's seed remains in him. Nor can he sin, because he is a child of God.
10 This is what distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil: whoever does not live uprightly and does not love his brother is not from God.


Today's Gospel Reading -  John 1: 35-42

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?"  He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

In the first chapter of his Gospel, John takes us through a sort time of travel, a week long, punctuated by the repetition, three times, the expression "the day after" (vv. 29, 35 and 43). Our track puts us in the second of these moments, the central one and then the most important one, characterized by physical and spiritual transition of the first disciples of John to Jesus' "day after" the meeting, the choice of the following.

Our scene is crossed and brought to life by a very intense exchange of looks: from John to Jesus (v. 35), from Jesus to the two disciples (v. 38) by the disciples of Jesus (vv. 38-39); and finally again Jesus speaks to us in his gazing, in the person of Peter (v. 42).
The evangelist uses verbs different, but all full of nuances, it does not deal with superficial looks, distracted, transient but rather of deep contacts, intense, that depart from the heart from the soul. Jesus, the Lord looks at his disciples and us, so that, in our turn, we should learn to look at him. The verb that closes the passage is beautiful; "to look" that means literally "to look inside".

Jesus is walking along the sea, along the shores of our lives and John, acts as a photographer, records it. He uses the verbs in the participle to tell us that today, Jesus still is passing by us, and our lives can be visited and crossed by him and our world can welcome the imprints of his footsteps.

The center of the passage is perhaps precisely in the movement of Jesus, He walks first, then turns and stops, his eyes, his heart, about the life of the two disciples. Jesus "turns", that changes, adapts, leaves his position before and assumes another. Here Jesus is revealed as God incarnate, God came among us, man. He turned from the bosom of the Father and turned toward us.

It is beautiful to see how the Lord draws us in his movements, in his own life; In fact, he invites the two disciples to "come and see." You can not sit still, when he met the Lord, and his presence puts us in motion, makes us get up from our old positions and makes us run. We try to collect all the verbs referring to the disciples in this passage: "followed him" (v. 37); "followed him" (v. 38); "they went ... they saw ... they stayed with him" (v. 39).

The first part of the passage closes with the beautiful experience of the first two disciples who remain with Jesus, they later came into his house and they stayed with Him 'the path of salvation, of true happiness, which is offered to us. only when we accept to remain, to stand still, firm, determined, in love, without turning to and fro, toward one or the other master of the moment, one or the other new love of life. Because when there is Jesus, the Lord, when you were invited by him, nothing is missing.


The scan time of this part of the Gospel, with its "day after" shows us that the Lord is not an abstract reality and distant, but he enters our days, our years, in our concrete existence. I'm willing to open to Him my time, to share with him my life? I am ready to deliver into his hands my present, my future, so that He can drive any of my "day after"?

The disciples make a wonderful spiritual journey, highlighted by the verbs "heard, followed, went, saw, and stayed." Do I want, too, starting this beautiful adventure with Jesus? Do I open my ears to hear, to listen deeply and so I can give my positive response to the love of the Father who wants to join me? Do I feel to be born in me the joy of starting a new journey, walking behind Jesus? And then, do I want my heart and eyes are wide open to begin to see what really happens in and around me and to recognize in any event the presence of the Lord?

Peter receives a new name from Jesus and his life is completely transformed. Do I feel like today to give to the Father my name, my life and my whole person, so that He may again give me a new birth as his son and daughter, calling me by a name that God in His infinite love he thought for us?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Elizabeth Anne Seton

Feast DayJanuary 4
Patron Saint Sisters of Charity, Catholic Schools

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, S.C., (August 28, 1774 – January 4, 1821) was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church (September 14, 1975). She established the first Catholic school in the nation, at Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she founded the first American congregation of Religious Sisters, the Sisters of Charity.

Early life

Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born on August 28, 1774, the second child of a socially prominent couple, Dr. Richard Bayley and Catherine Charlton of New York City.[1] The Bayley and Charlton families were among the earliest colonial settlers of the New York area. Her father's parents were prominent French Huguenots living in New Rochelle, New York. He later served as the Chief Health Officer for the Port of New York. Her mother was the daughter of an Episcopal minister, who served as Rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Staten Island for 30 years; Elizabeth was raised in the Episcopal Church.

Her mother, Catherine, died in 1777, when Elizabeth was three years old. This was possibly a result of childbirth, as their youngest child, also Catherine, died early the following year. Bayley then married Charlotte Amelia Barclay, a member of the Roosevelt family, to provide a mother for his two surviving daughters. The new Mrs. Bayley became active in the social action of the Church and would visit the poor in their homes to distribute food and needed items. She would take the young Elizabeth with her on her rounds of charity.

The couple had 5 children, but the marriage ended in separation as a result of marital conflict. Elizabeth and her older sister, Mary Magdalene, were rejected by their stepmother in this breakup. Their father then traveled to London for further medical studies at that time, so the girls lived temporarily in New Rochelle with their paternal uncle, William Bayley, and his wife, Sarah Pell Bayley. Losing a mother for the second time, Elizabeth experienced a period of darkness during this time, which she reflected about later in her journals. In these journals, Elizabeth shows a natural bent toward contemplation, she loved nature, poetry, and music, especially the piano. She was given to introspection and frequently made entries in her journal expressing her sentiments, religious aspirations, and favorite passages from her reading.

Marriage and motherhood

The Seton home in New York City was located at the site on which a church now stands in her honor, with the formerly matching building to the right (7 State Street) forming part of the shrine.

On 25 January 1794, at age 19, Elizabeth married William Magee Seton, aged 26, a wealthy businessman in the import trade. Samuel Provoost, the first Episcopalian bishop of New York, witnessed the wedding vows of the couple.[2]

William, along with his father William and brother James, was a founding partner in the import-export mercantile firm, the William Seton Company, which had become Seton, Maitland and Company in 1793. He had visited important counting houses in Europe in 1788 and was a friend of Filippo Filicchi, a renowned merchant in Leghorn, Italy, with whom his firm was a major trading partner.

Five children were born to the marriage: Anna Maria (Annina) (1795–1812), William the Second, Richard (1798–1823), Catherine (1800–1891) (who was to become the first American to join the Sisters of Mercy) and Rebecca Mary (1802–1816), whom Elizabeth called "my soul's sister".[3]

Although busy with raising a large family and managing their home, Seton continued to show the concern for the poor of the city which her father and stepmother had taught her. She helped to organize a group of prominent ladies who would visit the sick poor in their homes to render what aid they could. This circle was informally called the "Ladies of Charity" due to their conscious inspiration by the work of St. Vincent de Paul in 17th-century France.

Widowhood and conversion

By 1802, the effects of the blockade by the United Kingdom of Napoleonic France and the loss of several of her husband's ships at sea led to his bankruptcy. Soon after this, he fell ill and his doctors sent him to Italy for the warmer climate, with Elizabeth and their eldest daughter accompanying him. Landing at the port of Leghorn, they were held in quarantine, during which time William died on 27 December 1803 [4] and was buried in the Old English Cemetery. Elizabeth and Anna Maria were taken in by the families of her late husband's Italian business partners. While staying with them, she was introduced to the actual practice of Roman Catholicism.

After her return to the United States, she converted to the Catholic Church, into which she was received on 14 March 1805 by the Rev. Matthew O'Brien, pastor of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, New York, the only Catholic church in the city then. (Anti-Catholic laws had been lifted just a few years before.) A year later, she received the sacrament of Confirmation from the Bishop of Baltimore, the Right Reverend John Carroll, the only Catholic bishop in the nation.

In order to support herself and her children, Seton had started an academy for young ladies, as was common for widows of social standing in that period. After news of her conversion to Catholicism spread, however, most of the parents withdrew their daughters from her tutelage, due to the anti-Catholic sentiment of the day. By chance, around this time she met a visiting priest, the Abbé Louis William Valentine Dubourg, S.S., who was a member of the French emigré community of Sulpician Fathers. They had taken refuge in the United States from the religious persecution of the Reign of Terror in France, and were in the process of establishing the first Catholic seminary for the United States, in keeping with the goals of their society. For several years, Dubourg had envisioned a religious school to meet the educational needs of the small Catholic community in the nation.


After struggling through some trying and difficult years, in 1809 Elizabeth accepted the invitation of support the Sulpicians had made to her and moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland. A year later she established the Saint Joseph's Academy and Free School, a school dedicated to the education of Catholic girls. This was possible due to the financial support of Samuel Sutherland Cooper, a wealthy convert and seminarian at the newly established Mount Saint Mary's University, begun by John Dubois, S.S., and the Sulpicians.

On 31 July, Elizabeth established a religious community in Emmitsburg dedicated to the care of the children of the poor. It was the first congregation of religious sisters to be founded in the United States, and its school was the first free Catholic school in America. The order was initially called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph. From that point on, she became known as "Mother Seton".

The remainder of her life was spent in leading and developing the new congregation. Mother Seton was described as a charming and cultured lady. Her connections to New York society and the accompanying social pressures to leave the new life she had created for herself did not deter her from embracing her religious vocation and charitable mission. The greatest difficulties she faced were actually internal, stemming from misunderstandings, interpersonal conflicts and the deaths of two daughters, other loved ones, and young Sisters in the community. She died of tuberculosis on 4 January 1821, at the age of 46. Today, her remains are entombed in the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.


Dedicated to following the will of God, Elizabeth Ann had a deep devotion to the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture and the Virgin Mary. The 23rd Psalm was her favorite prayer throughout her life. She was a woman of prayer and service who embraced the apostolic spirituality of Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul. It had been her original intention to join the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, but the embargo of France due to the Napoleonic Wars prevented this connection. It was only decades later, in 1850, that the Emmitsburg community took the steps to merge with the Daughters, and to become their American branch, as their foundress had envisioned.

Today, six separate religious congregations trace their roots to the beginnings of the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg. In addition to the original community of Sisters at Emmitsburg (now part of the Vincentian order), they are based in New York City, Cincinnati, Ohio, Halifax Regional Municipality, Convent Station, New Jersey, and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.


On the 18 December 1959 Elizabeth was declared Venerable by the Sacred Congregation of Rites. Dr. J. Emmett Queen was asked by the Archdiocese of Baltimore to investigate a cure of a child, Ann O'Neill, who was suffering from leukemia. He visited Tufts University Hospital and conferred with other physicians there. The cure was attributed to the intervention of Elizabeth Ann Seton.[5] She was beatified by Pope John XXIII on the 17 March 1963, and canonized by Pope Paul VI on the 14 September 1975, making her the first native-born United States citizen to be canonized. As a condition for canonization, the Catholic Church requires that for a saint who has not been martyred, at least two miracles take place at his or her intercession.[6] The Holy See recognized that this condition was met when attributing three miracles to Seton's intercession: curing Sister Gertrude Korzendorfer, S.C., of cancer, curing Ann Theresa O’Neill of acute lymphatic leukemia, and curing Carl Kalin of encephalitis.[7][8]

Her feast day is celebrated as a memorial in the dioceses of the United States on the 4th of January.

Elizabeth Ann Seton is popularly considered a patron saint of Catholic schools. An image of her in bronze appears on the main doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, labeled as a "Daughter of New York". The Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, located in the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, was built on the site of her former home in Manhattan.[9]

The Mother Seton House at Baltimore, Maryland was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[10] The house had been offered as an inducement to Elizabeth Seton to come to Baltimore in 1808 and there to found a school and occupy the then newly completed house.[11] It is now operated as a museum by St. Mary’s Seminary.

Seton Hall University was founded in 1856 by James Roosevelt Bayley, the son of one of her half-brothers, who also converted to the Catholic Church, and went on to become an Archbishop of Baltimore. Seton Hill University was founded in 1885 by the Sisters of Charity in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and The College of St. Elizabeth was established in 1899 by another congregation of the Sisters of Charity in Convent Station, New Jersey.

In 2009, she was added to the Calendar of Saints for the Episcopal Church (United States) with a minor feast day on the 4th of January.

Many parish churches are named after her all around the U.S. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is an important saint, and many admire her.


  1. ^ "Mother Seton". Catholic Online. January 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  2. ^ Emmitsburgh Area Historical Society
  3. ^ Metz, Judith. Collected Writings. Chicago: DePaul Society.
  4. ^ New Advent Catholic Encycloepedia, Elizabeth Ann Seton:
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Religion Facts". Canonization of Saints. Religion Facts. 2010-09-15.
  7. ^ "Emmitsburg Area Historical Society". St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Emmitsburg Area Historical Society. 2010-09-14.
  8. ^ "The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton". The Seton Legacy. The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. 2010-09-15.
  9. ^ Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, New York, New York.
  10. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.
  11. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". Mother Seton House, Baltimore City. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-11-21.
  • Elizabeth Ann Seton at Catholic Online
  • Full text of the homily by Pope Paul VI on the occasion of the canonization of St. Seton

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Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's  Snippet  I:  History of US Catholic Church

The Basilica National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 
 in Washington, D.C., is largest US Catholic church.
The Catholic Church in the United States is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, the Christian Church in full communion with the Pope. With more than 77.7 million registered members, it is the largest single religious denomination in the United States, comprising 25 percent of the population. The United States has the fourth largest Catholic population in the world, after Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Catholicism arrived in what is now the United States during the earliest days of the European colonization of the Americas. The first Catholic missionaries were Spanish, having come with Christopher Columbus to the New World on his second voyage in 1493. Subsequently, Spanish missionaries established missions in what are now Florida, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, California, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. French colonization came later, in the early 18th century, with the French establishing missions in French Louisiana: St. Louis, New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile, the Alabamas, Natchez, Yazoo, Natchitoches, Arkansas, Illinois, and Michigan.

The number of Catholics has grown during the country's history, at first slowly in the early 19th century through some immigration and through the acquisition of territories (formerly possessions of France, Spain, and Mexico) with predominately Catholic populations. In the mid-19th century, a rapid influx of immigrants from Europe (Irish, German, Polish and Italian) made Catholicism the largest religion in the United States. This increase of Catholics was met by widespread prejudice and hostility, often resulting in riots and the burning of churches. The nativist Know Nothing party was first founded in the early 19th century in an attempt to restrict Catholic immigration. This party believed that the United States was a Protestant nation and the influx of Catholics threatened its purity and mission, even its very existence.

Since the 1960s, the percentage of Americans who are Catholic has stayed roughly the same, at around 25%, due in large part to increases in the Hispanic population over the same period.


Provinces and dioceses of the Catholic Church in the US. Each color represents one of the 32 Latin-rite provinces.

Catholics gather as local communities called parishes, usually headed by a priest called its 'pastor', and typically meet at a permanent church building for liturgies every Sunday and on holy days. Within the 195 geographical (arch)dioceses (excluding the Archdiocese for the Military Services), there are 17,644 local Catholic parishes in the United States. The Catholic Church has the third highest total number of local congregations in the US behind Southern Baptists and United Methodists. However, the average Catholic parish is significantly larger than the average Baptist or Methodist congregation; there are more than four times as many Catholics as Southern Baptists and more than eight times as many Catholics as United Methodists.

In the United States, there are 195 dioceses/archdioceses, 1 apostolic exarchate, and 1 personal ordinariate:
  • 145 Latin Catholic dioceses
  • 33 Latin Catholic archdioceses
  • 15 Eastern Catholic dioceses
  • 2 Eastern Catholic archdioceses
  • 1 apostolic exarchate (for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church)
  • 1 personal ordinariate (for former Anglicans who became Catholic)
Currently, 12 dioceses are vacant (sede vacante):
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Lithuanian Catholics outside Lithuania
  • Oakland, California
  • Passaic, New Jersey (Ruthenian)
  • Rochester, New York
  • Portland, Maine
  • Tyler, Texas
  • Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saint Josaphat in Parma, Parma, OH

Eastern Catholic Churches are churches with origins in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa that have their own distinctive liturgical, legal and organizational systems and are identified by the national or ethnic character of their region of origin. Each is considered fully equal to the Latin tradition within the church. In the United States, there are 15 Eastern church dioceses (called eparchies) and two Eastern church archdioceses (or archeparchies), the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

The apostolic exarchate for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States is headed by a bishop who is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. An apostolic exarchate is the Eastern Catholic Church equivalent of an apostolic vicariate. It is not a full-fledged diocese/eparchy, but is established by the Holy See for the pastoral care of Eastern Catholics in an area outside the territory of the Eastern Catholic Church to which they belong. It is headed by a bishop or a priest with the title of exarch.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter was established January 1, 2012, to serve former Anglican groups and clergy in the United States who sought to become Catholic. Similar to a diocese though national in scope, the ordinariate is based in Houston, Texas and includes parishes and communities across the United States that are fully Catholic, while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and traditions.

As of 2012, 12 dioceses out of 195 are vacant (sede vacante). Another seven bishops, including three Archbishops and one Cardinal, are past the retirement age of 75.

The central leadership body of the Catholic Church in the United States is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made up of the hierarchy of bishops (including archbishops) of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands, although each bishop is independent in his own diocese, answerable only to the Holy See. The USCCB elects a president to serve as their administrative head, but he is in no way the 'head' of the Church or of Catholics in the United States. In addition to the 195 dioceses and one exarchate represented in the USCCB, there are several dioceses in the nation's other four overseas dependencies. In the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the bishops in the six dioceses (one metropolitan archdiocese and five suffragan dioceses) form their own episcopal conference, the Conferencia Episcopal Puertorriqueña. The bishops in US insular areas in the Pacific Ocean—the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of American Samoa, and the Territory of Guam—are members of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific.

No primate exists for Catholics in the United States. In the 1850s, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was acknowledged a Prerogative of Place, which confers to its archbishop some of the leadership responsibilities granted to primates in other countries. The Archdiocese of Baltimore was the first diocese established in the United States, in 1789, with John Carroll (1735–1815) as its first bishop. It was, for many years, the most influential diocese in the fledgling nation. Now, however, the United States has several large archdioceses and a number of cardinal-archbishops.

By far, most Catholics in the United States belong to the Latin Church and the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Rite generally refers to the form of worship ("liturgical rite") in a church community owing to cultural and historical differences as well as differences in practice. However, the Vatican II document, Orientalium Ecclesiarum ("Of the Eastern Churches"), acknowledges that these Eastern Catholic communities are "true Churches" and not just rites within the Catholic Church. There are 14 other Churches in the United States (23 within the global Catholic Church) which are in communion with Rome, fully recognized and valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. They have their own bishops and eparchies. The largest of these communities in the U.S. is the Chaldean Catholic Church. Most of these Churches are of Eastern European and Middle Eastern origin. Eastern Catholic Churches are distinguished from Eastern Orthodox, identifiable by their usage of the term Catholic.


Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral is the mother church of one of the largest Catholic dioceses in the United States.

There are 68,503,456 registered Catholics in the United States (22% of the US population) according to the American Bishops' count in their Official Catholic Directory 2010. This count primarily rests on the parish assessment tax which pastors evaluate yearly according to the number of registered members and contributors. Estimates of the overall American Catholic population from recent years generally range around 20% to 28%. According to Albert J. Menedez, research director of "Americans for Religious Liberty," many Americans continue to call themselves Catholic but "do not register at local parishes for a variety of reasons."

Based on Pew Research Center surveys conducted from January 2006 to September 2006, 25.2% of the American population claim to be followers of the Catholic Church (of a national population of 300 million residents). According to a new survey of 35,556 American residents (released in 2008 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life), 23.9% of Americans identify themselves as Catholic (approximately 72 million of a national population of 306 million residents). The study notes that 10% of those people who identify themselves as Protestant in the interview are former Catholics and 8% of those who identity themselves as Catholic are former Protestants. Nationally, more parishes have opened than closed.

The northeastern quadrant of the US (i.e., New England, Mid-Atlantic, East North Central, and West North Central) has seen a decline in the number of parishes since 1970, but parish numbers are up in the other five regions (i.e., South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central, Pacific, and Mountain regions). Catholics in the US are about 6% of the church's total worldwide 1.1 billion membership.

A poll by The Barna Group in 2004 found Catholic ethnicity to be 60% non-Hispanic white (generally of mixed ethnicity, but almost always includes at least one Catholic ethnicity such as Irish, Italian, German, Polish, or French), 31% Hispanic of any race, 4% Black, and 5% other ethnicity (mostly Filipinos and other Asian Americans, and American Indians).

Between 1990 and 2008, there were 11 million additional Catholics. The growth in the Latino population accounted for 9 million of these. They comprised 32% of all American Catholics in 2008 as opposed to 20% in 1990.

Clergy, lay ministers and employees

There are 19 U.S. cardinals.  Five cardinals currently lead U.S. archdioceses
  • Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - Galveston-Houston
  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan - New York
  • Cardinal Francis George - Chicago
  • Cardinal Sean O'Malley - Boston
  • Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Washington
Three cardinals are not currently diocesan bishops:
  • Cardinal Raymond L. Burke - Prefect, Apostolic Signatura
  • Cardinal James M. Harvey - Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
  • Cardinal Edwin O'Brien - Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher
Eleven cardinals are retired:
  • Cardinal William Baum - Major Penitentiary Emeritus
  • Cardinal Edward Egan - Archbishop Emeritus of New York
  • Cardinal William Keeler - Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore
  • Cardinal Bernard F. Law - Archpriest Emeritus of St. Mary Major Basilica, Rome
  • Cardinal William J. Levada - Prefect Emeritus, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  • Cardinal Roger Mahony - Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles
  • Cardinal Adam Maida - Archbishop Emeritus of Detroit
  • Cardinal Theodore McCarrick - Archbishop Emeritus of Washington
  • Cardinal Justin Rigali- Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
  • Cardinal James Stafford - Major Penitentiary Emeritus
  • Cardinal Edmund Szoka - Former President, Pontifical Commission for Vatican City
There are 454 active and retired Catholic bishops in the United States:
270 active bishops:
  • 5 Cardinal Archbishops
  • 28 Archbishops
  • 155 Diocesan Bishops
  • 74 Auxiliary Bishops
  • 7 Apostolic or Diocesan Administrators
184 retired bishops:
  • 11 retired Cardinal Archbishops
  • 21 retired Archbishops
  • 105 retired Diocesan Bishops
  • 47 retired Auxiliary Bishops
The Church has over 41,406 diocesan and religious-order priests in the United States; over 30,000 lay ministers (80 percent of them women); 17,000 men who are ordained as permanent deacons in the United States (a permanent deacon is a man, either married or single, who is ordained to the order of deacons, the first of three ranks in ordained ministry; they assist priests in administrative and pastoral roles); 63,032 sisters; 5,040 brothers; 16 US cardinals; 424 active and retired US bishops; and 5,029 seminarians enrolled in the United States. Overall, it employs more than one million employees with an operating budget of nearly $100 billion to run parishes, diocesan primary and secondary schools, nursing homes, retreat centers, diocesan hospitals, and other charitable institutions. Catholic schools educate 2.7 million students in the United States, employing 150,000 teachers.

Leadership in the Church in the United States falls to its bishops. They are the shepherds of particular cities and their surrounding areas, called dioceses or sees. There is one non-territorial diocese in the United States for Catholics in the armed forces. There are approximately 430 bishops and archbishops who shepherd the nation's 195 dioceses and archdioceses. Each diocese is led by one bishop, known as its ordinary. Some dioceses (usually those that are larger) also have auxiliary bishops who help the ordinary. Some also have a retired bishop still in residence. It is possible for a diocese to be temporarily without a bishop (called a "vacant see") if the ordinary is transferred to a new diocese or dies without a named successor. Dioceses are grouped together geographically into provinces, usually within a state, part of a state, or multiple states together (see map below). A province comprises several dioceses which look to one ordinary bishop (usually of the most populous or historically influential diocese/city) for guidance and leadership. This lead bishop is their archbishop and his diocese is the archdiocese. The archbishop is called the 'metropolitan' bishop who oversees his brother 'suffragan' bishops. The subordinate dioceses are likewise called suffragan dioceses. There are currently 33 metropolitan archbishops in the United States. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops's website, there are 270 active Catholic bishops in the United States (5 Cardinal Archbishops, 1 Coadjutor Archbishop, 154 Diocesan Bishops, 73 Auxiliary Bishops, and 9 Apostolic or Diocesan Administrators) and there are 180 retired Catholic bishops in the United States (10 retired Cardinal Archbishops, 24 retired Archbishops, 94 retired Diocesan Bishops, 52 retired Auxiliary Bishops). Also according to the USCCB's website, there are 18 U.S. cardinals (four cardinals currently lead U.S. archdioceses, three cardinals are not currently diocesan bishops, and eleven cardinals are retired).

Some bishops are created Cardinals by the pope. These are usually conferred upon bishops of influential or significant dioceses - or upon bishops who have distinguished themselves in a particular area of service. As of August 2011, there are 19 American cardinals. Not all reside in the United States or are diocesan ordinaries. Four are sitting archbishops: of Boston, Chicago, Galveston-Houston, and Washington, DC. Eleven are retired archbishops ("emeritus"): of Baltimore, Denver, Detroit (two), Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia (two), San Juan, and Washington, DC (two). Three work in Rome with the Roman Curia, and one is retired from service in Rome without serving as a diocesan ordinary in the US.

Approved Translations of the Bible

USCCB Approved Translations of the Sacred Scriptures

1991 - Present
  • New American Bible, Revised Edition
  • Books of the New Testament, Alba House
  • Contemporary English Version - New Testament, First Edition, American Bible Society
  • Contemporary English Version - Book of Psalms, American Bible Society
  • Contemporary English Version - Book of Proverbs, American Bible Society
  • The Grail Psalter (Inclusive Language Version), G.I.A. Publications
  • New American Bible, Revised Old Testament
  • New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, National Council of Churches
  • The Psalms, Alba House
  • The Psalms (New International Version) - St. Joseph Catholic Edition, Catholic Book Publishing Company
  • The Psalms - St. Joseph New Catholic Version, Catholic Book Publishing Company
  • Revised Psalms of the New American Bible
  • So You May Believe, A Translation of the Four Gospels, Alba House
  • Today's English Version, Second Edition, American Bible Society
  • Translation for Early Youth, A Translation of the New Testament for Children, Contemporary English Version, American Bible Society



According to the 2010 Official Catholic Directory, as of 2009 there were 189 seminaries with 5,131 students in the United States; 3,319 diocesan seminarians and 1,812 religious seminarians. By the official 2011 statistics, there are 5,247 seminarians (3,394 diocesan and 1,853 religious) in the United States. In addition, the American Catholic bishops oversee the Pontifical North American College for American seminarians and priests studying at one of the Pontifical Universities in Rome.

Universities and colleges

According to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, there are approximately 230 Roman Catholic universities and colleges in the United States with nearly 1 million students and some 65,000 professors. The national university of the Church, founded by the nation's bishops in 1887, is The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Parochial schools

The Catholic parochial school system developed in the early-to-mid-19th century. Most states passed constitutional amendments, called Blaine Amendments, forbidding the use of tax money to fund parochial schools. In 2002, the Supreme Court partially vitiated these amendments, in theory, when they ruled that vouchers were constitutional if tax dollars followed a child to a school, even if it was religious. However, as of 2009, no state's school system has changed its laws to allow this.

Healthcare system

In 2002, Catholic health care systems, overseeing 625 hospitals with a combined revenue of 30 billion dollars, comprised the nation's largest group of nonprofit systems. In 2008, the cost of running these hospitals had risen to $84.6 billion, including the $5.7 billion they donate. According to the Catholic Health Association of the United States, 60 health care systems, on average, admit one in six patients nationwide each year.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities is active as one of the largest voluntary social service networks in the United States. In 2009, it welcomed in New Jersey the 50,000th refugee to come to the United States from Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar. Likewise, the US Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services has resettled 14,846 refugees from Burma since 2006. In 2010 Catholic Charities USA was one of only four charities among the top 400 charitable organizations to witness an increase in donations in 2009, according to a survey conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Catholic Church and Labor

The church had a role in shaping the U.S. labor movement, due to the involvement of priests like Charles Owen Rice and John P. Boland. The activism of Msgr. Geno Baroni was instrumental in creating The Catholic Campaign for Human Development.


There has never been a Catholic religious party in the United States, either local, state or national, similar to Christian Democratic parties in Europe and Latin America. Since the election of the Catholic John F. Kennedy as President in 1960, Catholics have split about 50-50 between the two major parties. On social issues the Catholic Church takes strong positions against abortion, which was partly legalized in 1973 by the Supreme Court, and same-sex marriage, which has been approved in nine states and repealed by one as of February 2012. The Church also condemns embryo-destroying research and in vitro fertilization as immoral. The Church is allied with conservative Protestant evangelicals on these issues.


Colonial era (1513–1776)

Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of Independence (1776), was a member of the Catholic church in Maryland
Catholicism first came to the territories now forming the Continental United States before the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Reformation with the Spanish explorers and settlers in present-day Florida (1513) and the southwest United States. The first Catholic Mass held in the current United States was in 1526 by Dominican friars Fr. Antonio de Montesinos and Fr. Anthony de Cervantes, who ministered to the San Miguel de Gualdape colonists for the 3 months the colony existed. Nearly 40 years later, the first permanent European colony was established at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. The influence of the Spanish missions in California (1769 and onwards), in Texas (1718) and New Mexico (1590) form a lasting memorial to part of this heritage. In the French territories, Catholicism was ushered in with the establishment of colonies, forts and missions in Sault Ste. Marie (1668), Biloxi, Baton Rouge (1699), Detroit (1701), Mobile, Alabama (1702), New Orleans (1718), and St. Louis (1763). As early as 1604, the French established a site in Maine on Saint Croix Island, but it was short-lived. Catholicism in the Spanish (East and West Florida) and French (eastern Louisiana/Quebec) colonies was undisturbed under later administration by Britain.

Thirteen original colonies

Anti-Catholicism was official government policy for the English who settled the colonies along the Atlantic seaboard.

Most English colonies had official established churches; none of which were Catholic. In fact, some English colonies had anti-Catholic laws and anti-Catholicism was rampant. Maryland was founded by Lord Baltimore as the first 'non-denominational' colony and was the first to accommodate Catholics. In 1650, the Puritans in the colony rebelled and repealed the Act of Toleration. Catholicism was outlawed and Catholic priests were hunted and exiled. By 1658, the rebellion had been suppressed and the Act of Toleration was reinstated.

English Catholics reintroduced Catholicism with the settling of Maryland (1634). This was a rare example of religious toleration in a fairly intolerant age. In 1649 the Maryland Toleration Act was enacted; it was repealed five years after passage, in 1654. In Maryland in 1690 Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore came under attack for sponsoring Catholics and his failure to declare for William III and Mary II. Later, Baltimore was stripped of his political power (but not his property rights). The Calvinist and Anglican majority in Maryland assured Protestant control. By 1785, Catholics in the U.S. numbered 35,000, less than two percent of the white population.

Florida, 1565

The first permanent European settlement in what is now the continental United States was St. Augustine, Florida. As a Spanish colony, St. Augustine became the first Catholic settlement, and the first Christian settlement of any kind, in what is now the continental United States. Spain established it in 1565 to thwart the attempt by French Huguenots, under Jean Ribaut, to establish a colony near the mouth of the St. Johns River. It also established it to support Spain's Treasure Fleets as they made their way through the Straits of Florida, a favorite place for French, Dutch, and English corsairs to lie in wait. Finally, the Spanish felt a moral imperative to convert the native Peoples to Christianity. After founding St. Augustine and destroying the fledgling Huguenot colony, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, prominent mariner, entrepreneur and head to the Spanish colony, proceeded to establish various forts around the coast of Florida, including one at Tampa Bay, another at Charlotte Harbor, three on the St. John's River and one, Santa Elena, on Port Royal Sound. Missions were established in all these areas.

The period 1635–1675 proved to be the most successful mission period. During these years Franciscans operated between forty and seventy mission stations, catering for perhaps 26,000 Hispanicized natives, who were organized into four provinces: Timucua in central Florida, Guale along the Georgia coast, Apalachee on the northeastern edge of the gulf, and Apalachicola to the west.

California, 1602

Beginning in 1768, the Franciscan order, under the leadership of Fray Junipero Serra, founded 21 California missions along the coast, notably San Diego, Sonoma, Santa Clara, Carmel, Mission Hills, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

New Mexico, 1607

Like Florida, the colonizing of New Mexico began as a result of the "twin impulses" of conquistador greed and missionary zeal. The area was extensively explored by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1540–1542, in an attempt to find the seven cities of Cibola, a fabled Indian kingdom. In his search, Coronado marched through present day Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In he early 1590s, Juan de Onate approached King Philip II of Spain for a commission to colonize the area of New Mexico and convert the Native Peoples. Within a ten year period, the original expedition of 500 people, including 130 soldiers, ten Franciscans, and the remaining Spanish colonists—men, women and children—founded Santa Fe.

Texas, 1657

Because the Spanish feared that the French crown might establish an overland route from the Mississippi to New Mexico to siphon off its trade, they established missions in the area that came to be known as Texas (especially East Texas), using the Franciscans to win over the Native Peoples. The Spanish had already founded El Paso in 1657, but needed to expand east. Eventually they founded a new town called San Antonio in 1718 and other settlements.

Louisiana, 1718

From 1682 onwards, the French had tried to establish themselves in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Valley. By 1673, Fr. Jacques Marquette, the Jesuit in charge of the mission at Michilimackinac, and Louis Joliet, a trader and explorer, had explored much of the upper and middle Mississippi Valley, encouraging further exploration. It took another nine years before the entire course of the Mississippi River was explored by Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. Not until 1718, however, did the French establish permanent towns in Louisiana, which encompassed much of the Mississippi Valley and beyond, dividing the region into nine districts with New Orleans the designated the capitol.

Compared to the Spanish, the French were more practical in their attitudes toward the Native Peoples. While they attempted to convert the natives, they did not have the same need to impose absolute obedience and conformity. The priests, mainly Jesuits, were content to introduce them to Christianity in stages, allowing them to keep their traditional customs to emphasize the similarities between their Native beliefs and Christianity. In work or labor, there was no attempt to extract forced labor, encouraging Natives to bring their furs for French goods. There was intermarriage between the French and Native Peoples. This symbiotic relationship helped align most of the Natives west of the Allegheny mountains to the French.

In Louisiana, black slaves managed to develop their own culture, consisting of a mixture of European and African backgrounds. Many blacks became Catholic, adopting the religion of their masters.

American Revolution and aftermath (1776–1800)

When the English colonies declared independence in 1776 — the 13 English-speaking colonies on the eastern seaboard — only a small fraction of the population was Catholic (largely in Maryland) Legislated anti-Catholicism was eventually voided by the First Amendment when the Bill of Rights was held to apply to the states as well as the federal government, in 1890. In the meantime virulent anti-Catholic sentiment continued.  At the time of the American Revolution, Catholics formed 1.6% of the population of the thirteen colonies.

Irish Catholics (unlike Lord Baltimore and the Earl of Ulster/Duke of York, their English Catholic landlords) were initially barred from settling in some of the colonies (before 1688, for example, Catholics had not arrived in New England), though "New York had an Irish Catholic governor, Thomas Dongan, and other Catholic officials." Middleton also notes: at one time or another, five colonies "specifically excluded Catholics from the franchise: Virginia, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina."

Throughout the Revolution American Catholic priests remained under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of the London District. But even during the colonial period the successive bishops had accepted the charge reluctantly, and were too far away to exercise much control. During the war, however, when the jurisdiction was in the hands of Bishop James Talbot, the brother of the Earl of Shrewsbury and coadjutor to Bishop Richard Challoner, he refused to have any communication with those who were his American ecclesiastical subjects. This was because neither he nor Challoner had any sympathy with the American rebel Catholics. They did not realize that American Catholics (though rebels) were rendering, as John Carroll said later, a service to their English Catholic brethren. This lack of communication, technically at least, proved a blessing in disguise, and removed all possibility of the accusation that American Catholics were receiving orders from an English Catholic bishop. At the close of the war, however, Bishop Talbot went so far as to refuse to give faculties to two Maryland priests who asked to return home. This eventually enabled Rome to make entirely new arrangements for the creation of an American diocese under American bishops.

The question often arises as to what proportion of Catholics served in the American armies. John Carroll's says this about Catholic participation: "Their blood flowed as freely, in proportion to their numbers, to cement the fabric of independence as that of their fellow citizens. They concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men in recommending and promoting from whose influence America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good orders, and civil and religious liberty." Some Catholics were more prominent than others. Thomas Fitzsimmons was Washington's secretary and aide-de-camp. General Moylan was quartermaster general and afterwards in command of a cavalry regiment. John Barry is regarded as the father of the American navy. Another notable was Thomas Lloyd.
The French alliance had a considerable effect upon the fortunes of the American Catholic Church. Washington, for example, issued strict orders in 1775 that "Pope's Day," the colonial equivalent of Guy Fawkes Night, was not to be celebrated, lest the sensibilities of the French should be offended. Massachusetts sent a chaplain to the French fleet when it arrived. And when the French fleet appeared at Newport, Rhode Island, that colony repealed its act of 1664 that refused citizenship to Catholics. Foreign officers who served, either as soldiers of fortune in the American army or with the French allies, put the Revolution in debt to Catholics, especially owing to Count Marquis de Lafayette, Casimir Pulaski, De Grasse, Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, and Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing. Likewise, Bernardo de Galvez, the Governor of Louisiana, who prevented Louisiana's seizure by the British. His efforts prevented the British from gaining a position on the west bank of the Mississippi, crucial for keeping the British out of that area at the end of the war. Galveston, Texas is named after him.

In 1787 two Catholics, Daniel Carroll and Thomas Fitzsimmons, were members of the Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia to help frame the new United States Constitution. Four years later, in 1791, the First Amendment to the American Constitution was ratified. This amendment included the wording, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This amendment officially granted freedom of religion to all American citizens, and began the eventual repeal of all anti-Catholic laws from the statute books of all of the new American states.

Following the Revolutionary War the Jesuit Fathers under the leadership of John Carroll, S.J. called several meetings of the clergy for the purpose of organizing the Catholic Church in America. The meetings, called the General Chapters, took place in 1783 and were held at White Marsh Plantation (now Sacred Heart Church in Bowie, MD). Deliberations of the General Chapters led to the appointment of John Carroll by the Vatican as Prefect Apostolic, making him superior of the missionary church in the thirteen states, and to the first plans for Georgetown University. Also at White Marsh, the priests of the new nation elected John Carroll as the first American bishop on May 18, 1789.

19th century (1800–1900)

The nave of the St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City
The number of Catholics in the Continental United States increased almost overnight with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Adams–Onís Treaty (purchasing Florida) in 1819, and in 1847 with the incorporation of the northern territories of Mexico into the United States (Mexican Cession) at the end of the Mexican–American War. Catholics formed the majority in these continental areas and had been there for centuries. Most Catholics were descendants of the original settlers, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, benefiting in the Southwest, for example, from the livestock industry introduced by Jesuit priest Eusebio Kino in 1687.  However, US Catholics increased most dramatically and significantly in the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century due to a massive influx of European immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany (especially the south and west), Austria–Hungary, and the Russian Empire (largely Poles). Substantial numbers of Catholics came from French Canada during the mid-19th century and settled in New England. Although these ethnic groups tended to live and worship apart initially, over time they intermarried so that, in modern times, many Catholics are descended from more than one ethnicity.

By 1850, Catholics had become the country’s largest single denomination. Between 1860 and 1890, their population in the United States tripled through immigration; by the end of the decade it would reach seven million. This influx would eventually bring increased political power for the Catholic Church and a greater cultural presence, which led simultaneously to a growing fear of the Catholic "menace" among America's Protestants.

Some anti-Catholic political movements like the Know Nothings, and organizations like the Orange Institution, American Protective Association, and the Ku Klux Klan, were active in the United States. Indeed, for most of the history of the United States, Catholics have been victims of discrimination and persecution. It was not until the time of the Presidency of John F. Kennedy in the following century that Catholics lived in the US largely free of suspicion. The Philadelphia Nativist Riot, Bloody Monday, the Orange Riots in New York City in 1871 and 1872, and The Ku Klux Klan-ridden South discriminated against Catholics (as they did the Jews and African Americans) for their commonly Irish, Italian, Polish, German, or Spanish ethnicity. Many Protestants in the Midwest and the North labeled Catholics as "anti-American Papists", "incapable of free thought without the approval of the Pope." During the Mexican-American War, Mexicans were portrayed as "backward" because of their "Papist superstition". In reaction to this attitude, some hundred American Catholics, mostly recent Irish immigrants, fought on the Mexican side in the Saint Patrick's Battalion. However, the majority of Catholic soldiers (primarily Irish born), along with their chaplains like John McElroy (Jesuit), who later founded Boston College, proved loyal to the American side as General Winfield Scott noted in a private letter to William Robinson after the war.

In 1850, Franklin Pierce, as the US Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, presented resolutions for the removal of restrictions on Catholics from holding office in that state, as well as the removal of property qualifications for voting; however, these pro-Catholic measures were submitted to the electorate and were unsurprisingly defeated. As the 19th century progressed, animosity between Protestants and Catholics waned. Many Protestant Americans came to understand that, despite anti-Catholic rhetoric, Catholics were not trying to seize control of the government. Another reason was that many Irish-Catholic immigrants fought alongside their Protestant compatriots in the American Civil War on both sides. Nonetheless, concerns continued into the 20th century that there was too much "Catholic influence" on the government.

William T. Sherman, George Meade, and Philip Sheridan were prominent generals during the American Civil War. In 1864, Mrs. Sherman, wife of the general, took up residence in South Bend for the sole purpose of having her young family educated at the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary's College  After the war, however, the Sherman children were educated elsewhere. Thomas Ewing Sherman, the eldest child, studied at Georgetown University and later became a Jesuit priest. The children of two other notable Americans—General Winfield Scott and Nathaniel Hawthorne -- also became members of Catholic religious orders: Virginia Scott (who became a member of the Visitation Sisters at Georgetown) and Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (who founded her own religious community to care for the incurably ill, mostly cancer patients).

The Basilica Of Our Lady Of Sorrows, Chicago
400 Italian Jesuit priests left Italy for the American West between 1848-1919. Most of these Jesuits left their homeland involuntarily, expelled by Italian nationalists in the successive waves of Italian unification that dominated Italy. When they came to the West, they ministered to Indians in the Northwest, Irish-Americans in San Francisco and Mexican Americans in the South West; they also ran the nation's most influential Catholic seminary, in Woodstock, Md. In addition to their pastoral work, they founded numerous high schools and colleges, including Regis University, Santa Clara University, the University of San Francisco, Gonzaga University and Seattle University.

In the latter half of the 19th century, the first attempt at standardizing discipline in the American Church occurred with the convocation of the Plenary Councils of Baltimore. These councils resulted in the promulgation of the Baltimore Catechism and the establishment of The Catholic University of America.

20th–21st centuries

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is the head church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The second largest Catholic church in the United States.
By the beginning of the 20th century, approximately one-sixth of the population of the United States was Catholic. Modern Catholic immigrants come to the United States from the Philippines, Poland and Latin America, especially from Mexico. This multiculturalism and diversity has greatly impacted the flavor of Catholicism in the United States. For example, many dioceses serve in both English and Spanish. When many parishes were set up in the United States, separate churches were built for parishioners from Ireland, Germany, Italy, etc. In Iowa, the development of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, the work of Bishop Loras and the building of St. Raphael's Cathedral illustrate this point.

In the later 20th century "[...] the Catholic Church in the United States became the subject of controversy due to allegations of clerical child abuse of children and adolescents, of episcopal negligence in arresting these crimes, and of numerous civil suits that cost Catholic dioceses hundreds of millions of dollars in damages." Because of this, higher scrutiny and governance, as well as protective policies and diocesan investigation into seminaries have been enacted to correct these former abuses of power, and safeguard parishioners and the Church from further abuses and scandals. Many see in these reforms (along with Vatican II) signs of a new era of lay initiative and collaboration.

One initiative is the "National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management" (NLRCM), a lay-led group born in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal and dedicated to bringing better administrative practices to 194 dioceses that include 19,000 parishes nationwide with some 35,000 lay ecclesial ministers who log 20 hours or more a week in these parishes.

Recently John Micklethwait, editor of The Economist and co-author of God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World, said that American Catholicism, which he describes in his book as "arguably the most striking Evangelical success story of the second half of the nineteenth century," has competed quite happily "without losing any of its basic characteristics." It has thrived in America's "pluralism."

In 2011, an estimated 26 million American Catholics were "fallen-away", that is, not practicing their faith. Church leaders commonly refer to them as "the second largest religious denomination in the United States."

American Catholic Servants of God, Venerables, Beatified, and Saints

The following are some notable American Servants of God, Venerables, Beatified, and Saints of the US:

Servants of God Venerables Beatified Saints
Vincent Robert Capodanno, Dorothy Day, Demetrius Gallitzin, Isaac Hecker, Emil Kapaun, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, Frank Parater, Patrick Peyton, Terence Cardinal Cooke, Annella Zervas, John Hardon, Walter Ciszek, Simon Bruté, Félix Varela, Stanley Rother Nelson Baker, Solanus Casey, Cornelia Connelly, Henriette DeLille, Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli, Michael J. McGivney, Fulton J. Sheen, Pierre Toussaint Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Francis Xavier Seelos, Junípero Serra Frances Xavier Cabrini, Marianne Cope, Jean de Lalande, Damien De Veuster, Katharine Drexel, Rose Philippine Duchesne, René Goupil, Mother Théodore Guérin, Isaac Jogues, John Neumann, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kateri Tekakwitha

Top eight Catholic pilgrimage destinations in the United States

According to The Official Catholic Directory, the following are the top eight Catholic pilgrimage sites in the United States:[78]
  • National Shrine of the North American Martyrs (Auriesville, New York)
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Baltimore, Maryland)
  • El Santuario de Chimayo (Chimayó, New Mexico, north of Santa Fe)
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Emmitsburg, Maryland)
  • Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels (Hanceville, Alabama)
  • Basilica of Our Lady of Victory (Lackawanna, New York)
  • National Shrine of Saint John Neumann (in St. Peter the Apostle Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.)


  • Abell, Aaron. American Catholicism and Social Action: A Search for Social Justice, 1865–1950 (Garden City, NY: Hanover House, 1960).
  • Bales, Susan Ridgley. When I Was a Child: Children's Interpretations of First Communion (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2005).
  • Carroll, Michael P. American Catholics in the Protestant Imagination: Rethinking the Academic Study of Religion (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).
  • Christiano, Kevin. "The Catholic Church and Recent Immigrants to the United States: A Review of Research," in Helen Rose Ebaugh, ed., Vatican II and American Catholicism: Twenty-five Years Later (Greenwich, Ct.: JAI Press, 1991).
  • D'Antonio, William V., James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge, and Katherine Meyer. American Catholics: Gender, Generation, and Commitment (Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor Visitor Publishing Press, 2001).
  • Deck, Allan Figueroa, S.J. The Second Wave: Hispanic Ministry and the Evangelization of Cultures (New York: Paulist, 1989).
  • Dolan, Jay P. The Immigrant Church: New York Irish and German Catholics, 1815–1865 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).
  • Dolan, Jay P. In Search of an American Catholicism: A History of Religion and Culture in Tension (2003)
  • Donovan, Grace. "Immigrant Nuns: Their Participation in the Process of Americanization," in Catholic Historical Review 77, 1991, 194–208.
  • Ellis, J.T. American Catholicism 2nd ed.(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969).
  • Fialka, John J. Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America (New York: St. Martin Press, 2003).
  • Finke, Roger. "An Orderly Return to Tradition: Explaining Membership Growth in Catholic Religious Orders," in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion , 36, 1997, 218–30.
  • Fogarty, Gerald P., S.J. Commonwealth Catholicism: A History of the Catholic Church in Virginia, ISBN 978-0-268-02264-8.
  • Garraghan, Gilbert J. The Jesuits of the Middle United States Vol. II (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1984).
  • Grace Hui Chin Lin & Patricia J. Larke (2007). Spanish Vs. French in Their Missionary Tasks
  • Greeley, Andrew. "The Demography of American Catholics, 1965–1990" in The Sociology of Andrew Greeley (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994).
  • Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo. The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995). Interesting note on Afro-Creole Catholic culture.
  • Horgan, Paul. Lamy of Santa Fe (Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 1975).
  • Jonas, Thomas J. The Divided Mind: American Catholic Evangelists in the 1890s (New York: Garland Press, 1988).
  • Marty, Martin E. Modern American Religion, Vol. 1: The Irony of It All, 1893-1919 (1986); Modern American Religion. Vol. 2: The Noise of Conflict, 1919-1941 (1991); Modern American Religion, Volume 3: Under God, Indivisible, 1941-1960 (1999), perspective by leading Protestant historian
  • Maynard, Theodore The Story of American Catholicism, Volumes I and II (New York: Macmillan Company, 1960).
  • McDermott, Scott. Charles Carroll of Carrollton—Faithful Revolutionary ISBN 1-889334-68-5.
  • McKevitt, Gerald. Brokers of Culture: Italian Jesuits in the American West, 1848–1919 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006).
  • McMullen, Joanne Halleran and Jon Parrish Peede, eds. Inside the Church of Flannery O'Connor: Sacrament, Sacramental, and the Sacred in Her Fiction (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2007).
  • Morris, Charles R. American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America's Most Powerful Church (1998), a standard history
  • O'Malley, John, SJ. The First Jesuits (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993).
  • Poyo, Gerald E. Cuban Catholics in the United States, 1960–1980: Exile and Integration (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 2007).
  • Sanders, James W. The Education of an urban Minority: Catholics in Chicago, 1833–1965 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).
  • Schroth, Raymond A. The American Jesuits: A History (New York: New York University Press, 2007).
  • Schultze, George E. Strangers in a Foreign Land: The Organizing of Catholic Latinos in the United States (Lanham, Md:Lexington, 2007).
  • Shannon, James P. Catholic Colonization on the Western Frontier (New haven: Yale University Press, 1957).
  • Walch, Timothy. Parish School: American Catholic Parochial Education from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1996).
  • Weber, David J. The Spanish Frontier in North America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992). on Spanish missionaries


Today's  Snippet  II:   Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. The Knowledge of God According to the Church

36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason."Vatican Council I, Dei Filius 2: DS 3004 cf. 3026; Vatican Council II, Dei Verbum 6. Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God".Gen 1:27

37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:
Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. the human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.Pius XII, Humani generis 561: DS 3875.

38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God's revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also "about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error".Pius XII, Humani generis 561: DS 3876; cf. Dei Filius 2: DS 3005;    DV 6; St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th I, I, I.