Miami, Archdiocese of
MIAMI, ARCHDIOCESE OF
When Miami (Miamiensis ) was established as a diocese on Aug. 13, 1958, its territory consisted of 14 counties formerly of the diocese of St Augustine. When the dioceses of Orlando and St. Petersburg were established on June 13, 1968, Miami was made an archdiocese with the new dioceses, along with St. Augustine, as its suffragans. In 2001 the Province of Miami included, in addition to the above named dioceses, St. Petersburg (1975), Pensacola-Tallahassee (1975), Palm Beach (1984) and Venice (1984). The territory of the archdiocese had been reduced to three counties in the southern Florida, Broward, Dade, and Monroe, but the Catholic population had grown to 816,207 Catholics, or about 22 percent of the total population of 3.7 million.
The first bishop, Coleman F. Carroll of Pittsburgh, Pa., served as auxiliary in Pittsburgh until his installation as bishop of Miami, Oct. 7, 1958. During the years of his episcopacy (1958–1977), the extraordinary growth in population that had begun after World War II continued in southern Florida. The increase that reached boom proportions came as a consequence of the attractive climate and real-estate projects for year-round residents in middle income brackets, and an influx of refugees from Cuba. Carroll initiated an extensive series of building projects and pastoral programs to meet the needs of his vastly diverse flock.
Within the first five years he more than doubled the number of parishes, many with schools. Bishop Carroll took the initiative in constructing and staffing diocesan high schools, Catholic hospitals and retreat centers. In 1958 he blessed the new St. John Vianney College Seminary, the first minor seminary on the East Coast south of Baltimore, Md., and in 1962 he inaugurated a major seminary, St. Vincent de Paul, opened at Boynton Beach. Early in 1960 Carroll established the Centro Hispano Catolico for all Spanish-speaking people in the area, with day nurseries, a medical clinic, a dental clinic, and arrangements for medical assistance. In addition to housing, food, and clothing, the center provided employment opportunities and transportation from Cuba for children and religious at considerable expense to the diocese. He dealt with the issue of race and ethnicity by pushing for a steady, if gradual, integration in parishes and schools. To staff the new institutions Carroll brought to the diocese eight religious communities of priests, 25 of sisters, and five communities of brothers.
In September 1976, Bishop Edward A. McCarthhy, of Phoenix, was appointed coadjutor with right of succession, becoming the second Archbishop of Miami (1977–1994) when Archbishop Carroll died the following year. The population in Florida continued to grow, and diocesan boundaries were once again realigned in 1984 with the creation of the dioceses of Palm Beach and Venice. McCarthy carried on the pastoral outreach and general policies of his predecessor in trying to help the refugees who continued to flow into Florida from Cuba and Haiti. Archbishop McCarthy had the honor of welcoming Pope John Paul II to Miami when the pontiff paid
his second visit to the U.S. in September 1987. John Paul addressed large audiences in both English and Spanish, and took the occasion of his visit to Miami to meet with a group of prominent Jewish leaders.
When Archbishop McCarthy reached the mandatory age of retirement in 1994, New Orleans-born John C. Favalora, since 1983 the bishop of St. Petersburg, was appointed to succeed him.
Catholic institutions of higher learning in the archdiocese include Barry University and St. Thomas University in Miami. Founded as Barry College for women in 1940 by the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Mich., it went co-educational and subsequently attained university status in 1981. St. Thomas University was originally established as Biscayne College by the Augustinian Friars in 1961. It has evolved from an all male college to a coeducational university with a graduate school and the only accredited Catholic-affiliated law school in the Southeastern United States. Since 1988, the University has been under the sponsorship of the Archdiocese of Miami.