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New York, Archdiocese of


Also known as Novarcensis; a metropolitan see comprising Essex, Hudson, Bergen, and Union counties in the northeastern part of New Jersey. It is the smallest of all the dioceses in the 50 states (513 sq. miles). The archdiocese is divided into 235 parishes and missions. Catholics comprise about 50 percent of the total population of 2.8 million, placing Newark as the seventh largest U.S. see in population. The Province of Newark, coterminous with the state of New Jersey, includes the suffragan dioceses of Trenton, Paterson, Camden, and Metuchen.

Administration. Before the erection of Newark as a separate diocese suffragan to New York in 1853, Catholics of the northern counties of New Jersey belonged to the New York archdiocese, while the southern half of the state was included in the Diocese of Philadelphia, PA. The religious history of New Jersey in the colonial period and the early republic was largely Protestant, although small groups of Catholics were ministered to by Jesuit missionary priests, among them Ferdinand farmer, Lorenz grassel, and Leonard neale, and six parishes were established in various parts of the state in the period between 1814 and 1827.

With the advent of thousands of German and Irish Catholic immigrants into New Jersey towns, the Holy See erected Newark as a diocese on July 29, 1853, and included in its jurisdiction the entire state of New Jersey with its 40,000 Catholic inhabitants. In 1881, 14 central and southern counties were detached from Newark when the Diocese of Trenton was erected. On Dec. 9, 1937, Pius XI divided Trenton into the Sees of Trenton and Camden, and the two northern counties of Passaic and Morris were removed from the Newark jurisdiction and assigned to the newly erected Diocese of Paterson. The following day, December 10, Newark was raised to the status of an archdiocese.

Bayley. James Roosevelt bayley, a convert to Catholicism, served as first bishop of Newark from 1853 to 1872, when he was named archbishop of Baltimore. His episcopate in Newark was devoted largely to the founding and staffing of religious institutes of every kind. The diocesan priesthood was augmented, and the beginnings of an educated Catholic laity were provided by the establishment of Seton Hall College (now University) in South Orange, NJ in 1856. This institution included the major Seminary of the Immaculate Conception from 1862 to 1927. The Benedictines, Passionists, Conventual Franciscans, and Jesuits were the earliest men's orders brought into the diocese to assist the diocesan clergy. A new community of Sisters of Charity was formed by Bayley in Newark in 1859, moving its headquarters to Convent Station the next year. Other early communities of sisters who engaged in teaching, hospital, and orphanage work were the Benedictine Sisters, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the Dominican and Franciscan Sisters. The Brothers of the Christian Schools entered the diocese to conduct boys' classes in a number of the parish schools.

Corrigan. The second bishop, Michael Augustine corrigan, was vicar general of the diocese when he succeeded Bayley in 1873 and served until 1880, when he was transferred to New York. Faced with numerous financial problems at Seton Hall and in the parishes, Corrigan raised funds and donated large sums from his family estate. He introduced additional religious communities, including the Second Order Dominican Sisters, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, and Franciscan Brothers.

Wigger. A native of New York, Winand Michael wigger, was ordained for the Newark diocese and engaged in parish work until he was named third bishop of Newark in 1881, a position he retained until his death on Jan. 5, 1901. During his administration he unsuccessfully backed a school aid bill in the assembly (189293) to give state aid to parochial schools. Under his direction, work was begun on the new Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, on ground purchased by Bayley. By 1901 the number of Catholics had increased to 300,000 and priests totaled 265; of these 75 were religious.

John Joseph O'Connor. Having been born in Newark, June 11, 1855, and ordained in 1877, the fourth bishop taught at Seton Hall and at the seminary, and served as seminary rector, vicar general, and pastor, until his appointment to the episcopate in 1901. He headed the Diocese of Newark until his death there on May 20, 1927. During his 26-year episcopate, additional funds were raised to continue work on the new cathedral. In 1926, the major Seminary of the Immaculate Conception was moved to Darlington.

Thomas Joseph Walsh. Newark's fifth bishop and first archbishop was born Dec. 6, 1873, at Parker's Landing, PA, and was ordained for the Buffalo, NY diocese in 1900, where he was chancellor until appointed bishop of Trenton in 1918. He was transferred to Newark in 1928 and served as its first archbishop from Dec. 10, 1937 until his death on June 6, 1952. He initiated a campaign for a new seminary building and chapel at Darlington (1936), organized the Mt. Carmel Guild to supervise social work, and in 1951 founded an archdiocesan newspaper, the Advocate. He also began a drive in 1950 for funds to complete Sacred Heart Cathedral and initiated work on the building's interior.

Thomas Aloysius Boland. The second archbishop was born in Orange, NJ, in 1896 and ordained in 1922. He taught at Seton Hall and the Darlington seminary and served as chancellor, auxiliary bishop (1940), and bishop of Paterson (194753), before being installed as archbishop of Newark on Jan. 14, 1953. Under him, Mt. Carmel Guild was reorganized in 1954 and its work extended to aid the blind, the deaf, and other handicapped groups. Serra International was introduced in 1954 and the sodality movement organized on an archdiocesan level in 1957. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, which is French-Gothic in design, was consecrated on Oct. 19, 1954. In 1961 a development campaign was inaugurated to provide eight new high schools, four homes for the aged, and a philosophy house at the major seminary. By 1964 there were 1,177 priests, including 358 religious, serving the archdiocese, as well as 3,244 sisters and 205 brothers.

Peter Leo Gerety. Gerety was named the third archbishop on April 2, 1974. He was born in Shelton, CT in 1912; both of his parents were natives of New Jersey. He studied theology at St. Sulpice Seminary in Issy, France, and was ordained in 1939. After serving in parish and hospital ministry, he became director of an interracial social and religious center from 1942 to 1956, when the center became St. Martin de Porres parish and he was named pastor. He was involved in the Black Apostolate for 24 years, chairing the Hartford Archdiocesan Committee on Human Rights as well as the Ecumenical Commission. In 1966 he was ordained co-adjutor bishop of Portland, ME, and succeeded Bishop Feeney there in 1969. When he became archbishop of Newark in 1974, he faced the challenge of a $26 million dollar debt inherited from his predecessor. By January 1984 this debt was paid, and new structures were put into place to assure the proper administrative and financial support of the pastoral ministry in the archdiocese. Some programs begun under his leadership, such as RENEW and Ministry to Divorced and Separated Catholics, became national models. Archbishop Gerety retired in July, 1986.

Theodore E. McCarrick. McCarrick was appointed the fourth archbishop of Newark in July 1986, after serving as the founding bishop of Metuchen, NJ since 1981. He grew up in New York City and was educated at Fordham University and St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie. After his ordination in 1958, he was assigned as an assistant chaplain at Catholic University of America, where he proceeded to earn a doctorate in sociology in 1963. He became president of the University of Ponce in Puerto Rico in 1965, and returned to New York in 1969 to head the Office of Catholic Education and serve as personal secretary to Cardinal Cooke. In 1977 he was named auxiliary bishop in New York, and in 1981 he became the first bishop of the diocese of Metuchen, NJ. In 1990 he successfully conducted a $50 million dollar capital campaign which helped to endow a number of archdiocesan programs. He also invited the neocatechumenate to start Redemptoris Mater House of Formation to train seminarians for the missionary-diocesan priesthood. Most of the archdiocesan offices were brought together in a new arch-diocesan center at a site across from the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, which was named a basilica by Pope John Paul II at the time of his visit in October 1995. In 1999 Archbishop McCarrick launched a campaign for stewardship in every parish to encourage individuals to give their time, talent and treasure in a spirit of discipleship. The results of this campaign are being shared with needy parishes. In November 2000, Archbishop McCarrick was named archbishop of Washington, DC, and was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II on Feb. 21, 2001.

John Joseph Myers. Myers became the fifth archbishop of Newark on Oct. 9, 2001, after serving 11 years as bishop of Peoria, IL. He was raised in the Peoria diocese and was ordained after his theological studies in Rome in December 1966. He served for a year in the United States Catholic Conference and completed his studies for a doctorate in Canon Law at Catholic University in Washington, DC. After serving in various parish and chancery ministries, he was ordained co-adjutor bishop in 1987 and acceded to the See of Peoria on Jan. 23, 1990.

Institutional Development. In addition to Seton Hall University, conducted by the archdiocesan clergy and lay faculty, the archdiocese contains St. Peter's College, Jersey City, conducted by the Jesuit Fathers, Caldwell College, conducted by the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, and Felician College in Lodi, conducted by the Felician Sisters. Besides its main campus at South Orange, Seton Hall also operates the School of Law in Newark.

The archdiocesan major seminary was relocated from Darlington, near Ramsey, to the campus of Seton Hall University in October 1984. A pre-theology program and four years of theological studies are provided for seminarians from the archdiocese, including those in the neocatechumenate, and for several other dioceses and religious orders. The minor seminary, Seton Hall Divinity School, has been located on the South Orange campus of Seton Hall since 1862.

In 2001 there were 37 secondary schools in the archdiocese, with a total student enrollment of 16,047. Parish elementary schools numbered 132 with an enrollment of 40,474. There are eight Catholic hospitals in the archdiocese: St. James's and St. Michael's, in Newark; St. Elizabeth's Hospital, in Elizabeth; St. Mary's, in Hoboken; St. Francis's, in Jersey City; St. Vincent's, in Montclair; St. Mary's, in Orange; and Holy Name, in Teaneck. There are seven homes for the aged, and 114 health care centers.

Catholic Community Services includes among its activities the Mount Carmel Guild Behavioral Healthcare System with offices in all four counties. C.C.S. also coordinates the Apostolate with the Developmentally Disabled and the Deaf, along with the Prison Ministry and Ministry to People on the Move (Airport and Seaport Chaplaincies).

Bibliography: New Jersey Historical Records Commission, The Bishops of Newark, 18531978 (South Orange, NJ 1978).

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