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García Diego y Moreno, Francisco (1785–1846)

García Diego y Moreno, Francisco (1785–1846)

Francisco García Diego y Moreno (b. 1785; d. 19 November 1846), bishop of California (1840–1846). The Mexican-born Franciscan was the first Catholic bishop of the Californias. Associated with the apostolic college of Guadalupe in Zacatecas, he arrived to serve in the Alta California missions in January 1833 with a contingent of Zacatecan Franciscans sent to replace their brethren from the college of San Fernando in the missions of southern Alta California.

The bishopric of the Californias was established by a Mexican law (19 September 1836) authorizing the president to negotiate with the papacy to establish the new bishopric. This initiative also allocated 6,000 pesos from public funds for the support of the new bishop and transferred the administration of the so-called Pious Fund, an endowment organized by the Jesuits to finance their activities in Baja California, to his jurisdiction, although the Mexican government later resumed control of the fund. The papacy approved the new bishopric on 27 April 1840.

President Antastasio Bustamante selected Diego y Moreno from a list of three candidates submitted by the papacy. After having sworn an oath of loyalty to the president of Mexico, Diego y Moreno was consecrated as bishop at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe outside Mexico City on 4 October 1841. He served in Alta California for six years and died in Santa Barbara.

See alsoFranciscans; Obras Pías.


Zephyrin Engelhardt, O.F.M., Missions and Missionaries of California, 4 vols. (1929–1930).

Maynard J. Geiger, O.F.M., Franciscan Missionaries in Hispanic California, 1769–1848 (1968).

Additional Bibliography

Jackson, Robert H., and Edward D Castillo. Indians, Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization: The Impact of the Mission System on California Indians. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995.

                                     Robert H. Jackson

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