Chicago, Archdiocese of

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A metropolitan see (Chicagiensis ) comprising Cook and Lake counties, IL, an area of 1,411 sq. miles, with a population (1999) of 5,682,000, of whom 2,358,000 (41%) were Catholics; the diocese was erected Nov. 28, 1843; the archdiocese, Sept. 10, 1880. The suffragan dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield constituted, with Chicago, the territory of the original see.

Since 1673, when Jacques Marquette, S.J., and Louis Jolliet (Joliet) passed through what is now Chicago on their return after exploring the Mississippi River, the area has had Catholic associations. A year later, fulfilling a promise he had made to the Kaskaskia natives, Marquette left Green Bay, WI, with two French voyageurs and reached the south branch of the Chicago River, where severe weather and serious illness forced him to remain several months. During their stay he offered Mass daily. Subsequently the area was visited by other missionaries and voyageurs including, in 1696, François Pinet, S.J., first resident priest and founder of the Mission of the Guardian Angel, which for unknown reasons closed in

1700. Originally part of the Quebec diocese, Chicago was transferred in 1784 to the prefecture apostolic of the U.S., which became the Baltimore diocese in 1789; in 1808 it passed under the jurisdiction of the new Diocese of Bardstown, KY. Thereafter Chicago was visited by Gabriel Richard, S.S., who arrived from Detroit in September 1821 to offer Mass and preach to the garrison at Ft. Dearborn, and Stephen Badin, the first priest ordained within the U.S., who came in October 1830 from his Potawatomi mission near Niles, MI. In 1834, when the Diocese of Vincennes was erected, eastern Illinois was included in its territory. When Chicago was incorporated as a town in 1833, its 130 Catholic inhabitants, under the impression that they belonged to the St. Louis diocese, petitioned Bp. Joseph Rosati for a resident pastor. To the distant mission was sent the newly ordained John Mary Irenaeus St. Cyr, who built the first Catholic Church, St. Mary's, on the southwest corner of Lake and State Streets. (It was later moved to Madison Street and Wabash Avenue).


At the request of the Fifth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1843), Gregory XVI on Nov. 28, 1843, created the new Diocese of Chicago, embracing the entire state of Illinois.

Quarter. The first bishop of Chicago was William quarter, pastor of St. Mary's Church, New York City, who was consecrated by Bp. John Hughes in New York on March 10, 1844. The new bishop, with his brother, Father Walter Quarter, arrived in Chicago on May 5 where he soon learned that all but eight of the 24 priests who had been serving throughout the state had been recalled to their respective dioceses by the bishops of St. Louis and Vincennes. Undaunted by the shortage of clergy and the poverty of the settlers, Quarter first opened the College of St. Mary's as a boys' school and seminary and then petitioned the Illinois legislature, which passed an act on Dec. 19, 1844, incorporating the University of St. Mary of the Lake. In New York the following April, he

begged funds to provide this first institution of higher learning in Chicago with a suitable university building; this was dedicated July 4, 1846. At his invitation, the Sisters of Mercy established St. Xavier's Academy for girls in September 1846.

St. Mary's was Chicago's only church when Quarter arrived. In 1846 St. Patrick's was built for the West-side Irish; St. Peter's, for the South-side Germans; and St. Joseph's, for the North-side Germans; while English-speaking Catholics on the North side used Holy Name, the university chapel. By the end of his four-year episcopate he had built 30 churches; ordained 29 priests; traveled extensively throughout the diocese preaching and administering the Sacraments; convened the first diocesan synod in April 1847, preceding it by a three-day re-treat for all priests; successfully petitioned the state legislature to enact a law (1845) constituting the Catholic bishop of Chicago and his successors a corporation sole to hold property in trust for religious purposes; and arranged what was reputed to be the first theological conference held in the U.S., which assembled Nov. 12, 1847 in the university chapel. On Passion Sunday, April 9, 1848, the bishop preached with his usual vigor at the cathedral, but died the following morning. All his property was willed to St. Mary of the Lake University.

Van de Velde. To succeed Quarter, Pius IX appointed the Belgian, James Oliver van de Velde, who had entered the Society of Jesus when he immigrated to the U.S. in 1817 at the age of 22. After completing his studies he had served at St. Louis University, where he was in turn professor, vice president, and president. Despite his efforts to decline the episcopal honor, he was released from his vows and persuaded by Abp. Peter Kenrick of St. Louis and a board of three theologians to receive consecration on Feb. 11, 1849, in St. Louis. On his way to Chicago for installation on Palm Sunday, April 1, 1849, the new bishop visited many parishes of his diocese. Upon learning that his predecessor's will left property, including the episcopal residence, to the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Van de Velde ordered that it be completely restored to him. A serious disagreement resulted when the university faculty failed to accede to all his demands, insisting that the property had been purchased with the personal funds of the two Quarter brothers. This disagreement plus his desire to become a Jesuit again, the rigors of the northern Illinois climate, and his declining health led Van de Velde in 1852 to tender his resignation as bishop. A year later he was restored to the Society of Jesus, and Pius IX transferred him to the see at Natchez, MS, at the same time dividing Chicago by creating Quincy, a diocese for the southern half of Illinois. At his departure, Nov. 4, 1853, there were 119 churches in the state, 70 of them having been commenced by him. Of these, 53 were in places where no church had previously existed. The first Catholic hospital, the first orphanage, and ten new parochial schools, likewise, owe their origin to this prelate.

O'Regan. The third bishop, Anthony O'Regan, of County Mayo, Ireland, had been educated at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, Kildare, Ireland, and then made professor and later president of St. Jarlath College, Tuam, Galway, Ireland. At the invitation of Kenrick of St. Louis, O'Regan became first president of the new theological seminary at Carondelet, MO, from which post he was called to head the Chicago diocese. Consecrated in St. Louis on July 25, 1854, he was installed in his see city the following September. Within five months, misunderstandings concerning finances led him to dismiss the four diocesan priests who constituted the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake. The four priests, whose withdrawal was lamented by the students, subsequently rendered distinguished service in the dioceses of Trenton and New York. After O'Regan's unsuccessful efforts to induce the Jesuits to assume direction of the university, the building was rented to Father Edward Sorin, founder of Notre Dame University, IN, for a high school.

The success of a series of parochial missions conducted by the Jesuit, Arnold Damen, in 1856 in Chicago led to the establishment of Holy Family Church, which later developed into a large parish with St. Ignatius College and High School on its property. To provide for the French-speaking people of Illinois, Van de Velde had admitted into the diocese Charles chiniquy, a Canadian priest in trouble with his bishop. In 1856 O'Regan was forced to suspend and excommunicate the priest for his unorthodox sermons and strange conduct. The prelate's difficulties with the university faculty and with Chiniquy prompted him to resign. In 1858 he went to Rome, was appointed titular bishop of Dora, and retired to Brompton, London, England, where he died Nov. 13, 1866. Meanwhile in 1857 the Alton diocese (later Springfield) was erected, and Quincy, established in 1853 but never occupied, was joined to it, thus separating central and southern Illinois from Chicago's jurisdiction.

Duggan. Chicago's fourth bishop was well-acquainted with the diocese. Born in Maynooth, County Kildare, James Duggan had left Ireland at 17 to study philosophy and theology at St. Vincent's, Cape Girardeau, MO; was ordained by special dispensation at 22; and six years later was made administrator of Chicago following Van de Velde's departure in 1853. Only ten years after he was ordained, he was consecrated bishop of Antigone and coadjutor to Kenrick of St. Louis. Upon O'Regan's resignation he again became administrator of Chicago, succeeding to the see on Jan. 21, 1859.

Chicago's growth was temporarily interrupted during the first two years of the Civil War, but thereafter parishes began to multiply; 16 were founded during Duggan's tenure. His negotiations with Sorin for the return of the university property culminated in July 1861 when the Holy Cross Fathers left Chicago, and the institution reopened under Father John McMullen. Two years later the seminary department was established under Rector James McGovern. The university, affiliated in 1863 with Rush Medical College and the City Law School, flourished until January 1866, when it was closed abruptly and turned into an orphanage. Duggan, whose inconstancy of purpose and action began to indicate incipient insanity, closed the seminary in August 1868 and ordered the faculty to leave the diocese. By spring 1869 his mental collapse was complete and he was confined to an asylum conducted by the Sisters of Charity near St. Louis, where he lived until 1899 without showing any improvement.

Foley. For the difficult position of administrator, Rome chose Thomas Foley, long-term rector of Baltimore's (old) Cathedral of the Assumption and, at different times, chancellor, vicar general, and administrator of the Baltimore archdiocese. Appointed titular bishop of Pergamus and coadjutor bishop and administrator of Chicago with right of succession, he was consecrated Feb. 27, 1870, in Baltimore and installed in Holy Name procathedral the following month. During his first year 15 new parishes, a hospital, and several new schools were founded. When Chicago's great fire of Oct. 9, 1871, gutted the whole center of the city, seven churches and adjoining rectories and schools were destroyed at a loss of $1 million. In the work of restoration, more substantial and modern structures were built; the cathedral was moved to Holy Name parish, where the new structure was dedicated on Nov. 21, 1875. To help care for the immigrants streaming into Chicago during these years, Foley welcomed many religious orders, including the Franciscans, Lazarists, Servites, Viatorians, and Resurrectionists. At his suggestions, the Peoria diocese was established in 1877.


When Foley died on Feb. 19, 1879, it was evident that the ailing Duggan would not recover, so Rome rectified the situation by creating Chicago an archdiocese, with Bp. Patrick A. feehan of Nashville, TN, as first archbishop.

Feehan. After being educated at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland, and the seminary at Carondolet, MO, Feehan was ordained in 1852. Being a man of unusual administrative ability for which he was subsequently noted, he was an obvious choice for Chicago. He was named on Sept. 10, 1880, and installed in Holy Name Cathedral on November 28. During the next 20 years he worked to provide clergy, churches, and schools for the waves of Catholic immigrants descending upon Chicago. Under him Chicago's churches increased to 298; the number of priests to 538; grammar schools to 166, with 62,723 pupils; and the Catholic population to 800,000.

The first archdiocesan synod was held on Dec. 13, 1887, when the decrees of the Third Council of Baltimore were promulgated and the first diocesan consultors and permanent rectors appointed. When Feehan's advanced age and increasing burdens made an assistant necessary, Alexander J. McGavick, pastor of St. John's church, was appointed titular bishop of Narcopolis and auxiliary bishop of Chicago. Soon after his consecration on May 1, 1899, he became incapacitated and was replaced by Peter J. Muldoon, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, who was appointed titular bishop of Tamassus and consecrated by the apostolic delegate, Cardinal Sebastian Martinelli, on July 25, 1901. Some Irish-born Chicago clergy resented the choice of Muldoon, a native-born American who had been Feehan's chancellor for many years. One of the malcontents, Jeremiah J. Crowley, pastor of St. Mary's Church, Oregon, IL, was excommunicated for his stubborn opposition, and this situation clouded the last year of Feehan's life. He died suddenly on July 12, 1902, from an apoplectic stroke.

Quigley. On Jan. 8, 1903, Pope Leo XIII transferred James Edward Quigley, bishop of Buffalo, to Chicago where he was installed on March 10. Born in Canada, he had moved as a youth to Buffalo; and had studied at the seminary in Niagara, NY, at Innsbruck, Austria, and at the Propaganda College in Rome, where he was ordained April 12, 1879, and received a doctorate in theology. Upon his return to the U.S. he was pastor of St. Vincent's, Attica, NY, for five years, rector of the cathedral for 12 years, and pastor of St. Bridget's for a few months. On Feb. 24, 1897, he was consecrated bishop of Buffalo, where he won recognition for his administrative ability and for his part in settling the Buffalo dock strike of 1899.

Soon after his installation as Chicago's second archbishop on March 10, 1903, Quigley realized the need for increased facilities for training the clergy and, in October 1905, he opened Cathedral College of the Sacred Heart as a preparatory seminary. During his episcopate the second archdiocesan synod was held on Dec. 14, 1905; a missionary congress met in Chicago Nov. 1618, 1908; Paul P. Rhode, the first priest of Polish lineage to be elevated to the U.S. hierarchy, was consecrated on July 29, 1908, as one of Quigley's auxiliary bishops; and Rockford was established as a diocese on Sept. 23, 1908, with Bishop Muldoon as first ordinary. With the assistance of the archbishop, the Catholic Church Extension Society for home missions was founded in 1905 in Chicago by Francis C. kelley, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, at Lapeer, MI. When he died on July 10, 1915, Quigley's administration had restored peace to the archdiocese where, in 12 years, parish churches had increased to 326 and clergy to 790, despite the loss of 55 parishes and 74 priests to the new Rockford diocese in 1908.

Mundelein. Rome again looked to New York in selecting George William mundelein, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, to be Chicago's third archbishop. He was installed Feb. 9, 1916, by the apostolic delegate, Abp. (Cardinal) John Bonzano. Finding the facilities of Cathedral College inadequate, the archbishop initiated Quigley Preparatory Seminary in May 1916, and made plans for the erection of a theological seminary on the shores of Lake Eara in Lake County near Area, IL. Under the charter for the University of St. Mary of the Lake, which had been closed since 1866, Mundelein had 14 separate buildings of uniform Georgian style erected there from 1920 to 1934 to constitute St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. After Mundelein was made a cardinal by Pius XI on March 24, 1924, the town of Area changed its name to Mundelein and, with Chicago, was host to the 28th International Eucharistic Congress (June 2024, 1926).

Catholic Charities was founded in January 1918 to organize the welfare work of the archdiocese. From World War I to the Depression of the 1930s, churches, schools, convents, rectories, and hospitals multiplied rapidly. In 1930 Mundelein directed his auxiliary, Bp. Bernard J. Sheil, to establish the Catholic Youth Organization for the spiritual, mental, and physical development of Catholic youth. Despite the Depression, the finances of the archdiocese were so carefully managed that Bishop of Chicago bonds remained at par during these years. Under Mundelein's vigorous administration, Chicago also attained international recognition. In 1929 the archdiocese contributed $1.5 million toward the new Propaganda College in Rome; and in 1934 for his silver episcopal jubilee, the cardinal acquired the Collegio S. Maria del Lago, a residence for postgraduate students in Rome. When Mundelein died suddenly on Oct. 2, 1939, 82 new parishes had been established and the clergy in the archdiocese had increased to 1,779.

Stritch. On Dec. 27, 1939, Rome announced the transfer of Samuel Alphonsus stritch, archbishop of Milwaukee, to Chicago where he was installed on March 7, 1940, by the apostolic delegate, Abp. (Cardinal) Amleto Cicognani. A firm believer in the Catholic press, Stritch promoted the diocesan paper, the New World, which increased its circulation from 10,000 in 1940 to 210,000 in 1958. In 1941 he established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for teaching released-time programs, parish high schools of religion, lay teacher training courses, parish information classes, and home study courses. He reorganized the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women in 1942 and affiliated it with the National Council of Catholic Women; added to Catholic Charities specialized services for the deaf and blind, a guidance center for children, and a house for alcoholics; opened the Catholic Action Federations Office to coordinate the Young Christian Students (YCS), the Young Christian Workers (YCW), and the Christian Family Movement (CFM); set up the Catholic Council on Working Life in 1943; formally recognized the Cana movement, begun in Chicago in 1944, by the appointment of a full-time chaplain in 1946; opened Cardinal Stritch Retreat House for diocesan priests on St. Mary of the Lake Seminary grounds in 1951; appointed an archdiocesan commission on sacred music in 1953; and four years later set up an archdiocesan office for radio and television.

The post-World War II years witnessed the phenomenal growth of the African-American population in Chicago and the movement to the suburbs. Stritch founded a Catholic Interracial Council in 1945; he insisted upon racial integration and kept all parishes functioning in African-American neighborhoods. A group of parish priests formed the Cardinal's Conservation Council to meet the problem of changing neighborhoods. To keep pace with the population explosion on the city's periphery and in the suburbs, 77 new parishes were founded and the Diocese of Joliet was established on Dec. 11, 1948, leaving Chicago with only two counties, Cook and Lake.

Elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pius XII on Feb. 18, 1946, Stritch was appointed pro-prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in 1958. Shortly after his arrival in Rome, he suffered a stroke and died there on May 27, 1958. He was buried on June 3 in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, IL.

Meyer. Chicago's fifth archbishop, Albert Gregory meyer, was born in Milwaukee, WI, March 9, 1903; he attended St. Mary's Parochial School, Marquette High School, and St. Francis Preparatory Seminary in Milwaukee, and the North American College in Rome, where he was ordained by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj on July 11, 1926. After receiving the licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Roman Pontifical Biblical Institute, he returned to the U.S. where he was curate for a year, then professor, and later rector of St. Francis Seminary until he was named bishop of Superior, WI, on Feb. 18, 1946. He was consecrated in Milwaukee by Abp. Moses E. Kiley on April 11, 1946, and enthroned in Superior the following month. Seven years later he was summoned back to be archbishop of Milwaukee and installed on Sept. 24, 1953. His transfer to Chicago came on Sept. 19, 1958, and he was enthroned there by the apostolic delegate Cicognani, on November 16. John XXIII created him cardinal in the consistory of Dec. 14, 1959.

Shortly after Meyer's arrival in Chicago, a fire in Our Lady of the Angels School on Dec. 1, 1958, resulted in the deaths of 92 children and three Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He immediately initiated a campaign for greater school safety that involved the expenditure of millions of dollars for fire-protection devices. His high school expansion plan provided for a continuous building program over a ten-year period. The inadequacies of Quigley Preparatory Seminary led to the opening in September 1961 of Quigley South at 79th Street and Western Avenue for a four-year preparatory course, and of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Junior College Division, in the completely remodeled St. Hedwig's Orphanage in Niles.

To keep the church abreast of urban renewal, he appointed a full-time priest director to the Archdiocesan Conservation Council, established under Stritch. At a clergy conference on Sept. 20, 1960, Meyer exhorted all of his priests to assume leadership roles in integrating African Americans into Chicago's parishes, schools, hospitals, and other institutions. He endeavored to care for the expanding suburbs by founding 14 new parishes. Its school system then included six Catholic higher institutions: De Paul and Loyola universities and Barat, Mundelein, Rosary, and St. Xavier colleges.

Cardinal Meyer was one of the 12 presidents of Vatican Council II; by the end of the third session he had addressed the Council more often than any other American bishop and had become the intellectual leader of the U.S. hierarchy. His untimely death on April 9, 1965, following brain surgery, was a misfortune for the Universal Church, as well as for the archdiocese. On June 16, 1965, Abp. John P. Cody of New Orleans, LA, was transferred to Chicago as its sixth archbishop.

Cody. John Patrick Cody was born in St. Louis, MO, on Dec. 24, 1907. He was ordained a priest Dec. 8, 1931. From 1933 to 1938 he served on the staff of the Secretariat of State under Giovanni Battista Montini (later PaulVI), and later served as bishop of St. Joseph, MO (195456) and Kansas City-St. Joseph (195661), before being appointed coadjutor (1961) and then archbishop (1964) of New Orleans.

Cody reorganized the archdiocese of Chicago, first into seven vicariates under vicars selected by him, and later into 12 vicariates under vicars nominated by the clergy. He raised money for the modernization of parishes and schools and undertook much-needed renovations of the Cathedral of the Holy Name.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s he found himself the target of increasing criticism from associations of clergy, first the independent Association of Chicago Priests, then the archdiocesan presbyteral senate. His decision to close four inner-city schools in the summer of 1975 was protested, both to the local press and to the apostolic delegate and the pope. Allegationsdenounced by Cody as slandersof improprieties in the use of church funds culminated in a grand-jury investigation in 1981. Cody died April 25, 1982, and was succeeded by Archbishop Joseph Bernardin of Cincinnati.

Bernardin. Joseph Louis Bernardin was born April 2, 1928, in Columbia, SC. Ordained to the priesthood on April 26, 1952, he was consecrated auxiliary bishop of Atlanta in 1966 before being appointed archbishop of Cincinnati on Dec. 19, 1972. Installed as archbishop of Chicago on Aug. 25, 1982, he was created cardinal the next year, the first American cardinal created by Pope John Paul II.

Bernardin became known as a conciliator and mediator. His work on peace and life issues established the terms in which these issues were discussed nationally. He chaired the NCCB ad hoc committee that produced the pastoral letter, The Challenge of Peace (1983). Speaking on this letter at Fordham University later that year, he emphasized the need for a "consistent ethic of life." The following year he coined the term "seamless garment" to refer to the Catholic teaching on such issues as abortion, capital punishment, nuclear war, and poverty.

Bernardin gained the stature of the leading spokesman for the Church in the U.S. His reflections on the last years of his life, The Gift of Peace (published posthumously), became a bestseller, and he was extolled by Catholics and non-Catholics alike for his courage and grace in dealing forthrightly with terminal (pancreatic) cancer. He died on Nov. 14, 1996, and was succeeded by Archbishop Francis George of Portland, OR.

George. The first native son of Chicago to be named its archbishop, Francis George was born in Chicago on Jan. 16, 1937. He entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) on Aug. 14, 1957, and was ordained a priest on Dec. 21, 1963. In 1970 he received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Tulane University. From 1973 to 1974 he was provincial superior of the Midwestern province, headquartered in St Paul, MN, and from 1974 to 1986 he served in Rome as vicar general of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Pope John Paul II named George, bishop of Yakima, WA, in 1990, and in 1996 made him archbishop of Portland, OR, before transferring him to Chicago on April 8, 1997. He became known as a prolific writer, publishing several books and many articles on religious life, inculturation, and pastoral issues.

Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning. Chicago is home to DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the U.S. Established in 1898 by the Vincentians, DePaul has an enrollment of more than 20,000 students in eight campuses (Barat, Lake Forest (Conway Park), Lincoln Park, Loop, Naperville, Oak Forest, O'Hare, and Rolling Meadows). Established in 1870 by the Jesuits, St. Ignatius College was renamed Loyola University of Chicago in 1909, when it received the authority to grant professional and graduate degrees. Other universities and colleges within the archdiocesan boundaries are Saint Xavier University in Chicago and Dominican University in River Forest. St. Xavier's College for women was established in 1846 by Mother Francis Xavier Warde, a Sister of Mercy, the first Catholic women's college in Chicago. In 1969, the college went coeducational, and in 1992, the name was changed to Saint Xavier University. Dominican University was founded originally as St. Clara's College, a women's college, by the Dominican Sisters in Sinsinawa, WI in 1901. In 1922, the college was moved to River Forest, IL, and the name was changed to Rosary College. In 1970, Rosary College went coeducational, and in 1997, the name was officially changed to Dominican University. Established in 1968 and sponsored by 25 religious congregations, the Catholic Theological Union at Chicago is the largest Roman Catholic school of theology and ministry in the U.S.

Bibliography: c. j. kirkfleet, The Life of Patrick Augustine Feehan (Chicago 1922). b. l. pierce, A History of Chicago (New York, v.13, 193757; v.4 in progress). j. e. mcgirr, The Life of the Rt. Rev. Wm. Quarter, D.D. (Des Plaines, IL 1920). m. m. quaife, Checagou: From Indian Wigwam to Modern City, 16731835 (Chicago 1933). g. j. garraghan, The Catholic Church in Chicago, 16731871 (Chicago 1921). j. t. ellis, The Life of James Cardinal Gibbons, 2 v. (Milwaukee 1952). j. j. thompson, The Archdiocese of Chicago: Antecedents and Development (Des Plaines, IL 1920). c. w. dahm, Power and Authority in the Catholic Church: Cardinal Cody in Chicago (Notre Dame, IN 1981). h. c. koenig, ed., Caritas Christi Urget Nos. A History of the Offices. Agencies, and Institutions of the Archdiocese of Chicago, 2 v. (Chicago 1981).

[h. c. koenig/

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