Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

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Archdiocese of Boston
Archidioecesis Bostoniensis
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.svg
Coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Boston
Country United States
Territory Counties of Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth (the towns of Mattapoisett, Marion, and Wareham excepted)[1]
Ecclesiastical province Boston
Area 2,465 sq mi (6,380 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
1,906,372 (45%)
Parishes 288
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established April 8, 1808
Cathedral Cathedral of the Holy Cross
Patron saint Saint Patrick
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Metropolitan Archbishop Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap.
Auxiliary Bishops John Anthony Dooher
Robert Francis Hennessey
Arthur Leo Kennedy
Peter John Uglietto
Vicar General Peter John Uglietto
Emeritus Bishops Emilio S. Allué
Francis Xavier Irwin
Walter James Edyvean
Archdiocese of Boston map 1.jpg

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (Latin: Archidioecesis Bostoniensis) is an ecclesiastical territory or Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the New England region of the United States. It comprises several counties of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is led by a prelate archbishop who serves as pastor of the mother church, Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End of Boston.

As of 2009, there are 292 parishes in the archdiocese.[2] In 2007, the archdiocese estimated that 1.8 million Catholics were in the territory, of whom about 315,000 regularly attended Mass.[3]


Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston

The original Diocese of Boston was canonically erected on April 8, 1808 by Pope Pius VII. It took its territories from the larger historic Diocese of Baltimore and consisted of the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

In the nineteenth century, as Catholicism grew exponentially in New England, the Diocese of Boston was carved into smaller new dioceses: on November 28, 1843, Pope Gregory XVI erected the Diocese of Hartford; Pope Pius IX erected the Diocese of Burlington and the Diocese of Portland on July 29, 1853, the Diocese of Springfield on June 14, 1870, and the Diocese of Providence on February 16, 1872. On February 12, 1875, Pope Pius IX elevated the diocese to the rank of an archdiocese.

At the beginning of the 21st century the archdiocese was shaken by accusations of sexual abuse by clergy that culminated in the resignation of its archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, on December 13, 2002. In September 2003, the Archdiocese settled over 500 abuse-related claims for $85 million.[4]

In June 2004, the archbishop's residence and the chancery in Brighton and surrounding lands were sold to Boston College, in part to defray costs associated with abuse cases.[5][6][7] The offices of the Archdiocese were moved to Braintree, Massachusetts; Saint John's Seminary remains on that property.

Communications media[edit]

The diocesan newspaper The Pilot has been published in Boston since 1829.

The Archdiocese's Catholic Television Center, founded in 1955, produces programs and operates the cable television network CatholicTV. From 1964 to 1966, it owned and operated a broadcast television station under the call letters WIHS-TV.

Ecclesiastical province[edit]

The Archdiocese of Boston is also metropolitan see for the Ecclesiastical province of Boston. This means that the archbishop of Boston is the metropolitan for the province. The suffragan dioceses in the province are the Diocese of Burlington, Diocese of Fall River, Diocese of Manchester, Diocese of Portland, Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts, and the Diocese of Worcester.

List of pastoral regions[edit]

The Archdiocese of Boston is divided into five pastoral regions, each headed by an episcopal vicar.

Pastoral Region Episcopal vicar Location Parishes Notable parishes Catholic institutions of higher education High schools Elementary schools Cemeteries
Central Robert Francis Hennessey Boston (all neighborhoods), Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, Winthrop 64 Cathedral, the Mission Church Boston College, Emmanuel College, Our Lady of Grace Seminary (Boston), St. John's Seminary 6 29 8
Merrimack Currently vacant northern portion of Essex County and the northeastern portion of Middlesex County 49 Merrimack College 3 (TBD) 4
North Peter John Uglietto southern portion of Essex County 64 Marian Court College 4 6 (?) 11
South John Anthony Dooher Plymouth County and most of Norfolk County 59 Labouré College 3 (TBD) 3
West Walter James Edyvean southern portion of Middlesex County and the western portion of Norfolk County 67 Regis College 3 11 7


Cardinal Seán O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston

The following are lists of the bishops, Archbishops and Auxiliaries of Boston and their years of service.


  1. Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus (1808–1823) appointed Bishop of Montauban, France
  2. Benedict Joseph Fenwick, S.J. (1825–1846) died
  3. John Bernard Fitzpatrick (1846–1866) died


  1. John Joseph Williams (1866–1907) died
  2. Cardinal William Henry O'Connell (1907–1944) died
  3. Cardinal Richard Cushing (1944–1970) retired
  4. Cardinal Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970–1983) died
  5. Cardinal Bernard Francis Law (1984–2002) resigned, appointed Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in 2004
  6. Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M.Cap. (2003–present)

Auxiliary Bishops[edit]



As of 2012, the diocese has 124 schools with about 43,000 students in pre-kindergarten through high school.[8]

In 1993 the archdiocese had 53,569 students in 195 archdiocesean parochial schools. Boston had the largest number of parochial schools: 48 schools with a combined total of about 16,000 students.[9]


  • Br. Bartholomew Varden, C.F.X. (c. 1973–1975)[10]
  • Eugene F. Sullivan (1978–1984)[11][12]
  • Sr. Kathleen Carr, CSJ (1990–2006)[13]
  • Mary Grassa O'Neill (2008–2014)[14]
  • Mary E. Moran (2013–2014)[14]
  • Kathleen Power Mears (2014–present)[14]

High schools[edit]

Former high schools[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archdiocese of Boston". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Paulson, Michael (May 1, 2009). "Diocese makes financial progress". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  3. ^ Kerber, Ross (January 29, 2007). "Bless you, we take Visa". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 29, 2007. 
  4. ^ Kevin Cullen and Stephen Kurkjian (September 10, 2003). "Church in an $85 million accord". Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ Diocesan headquarters sold to BC The Boston Globe, April 21, 2004.
  6. ^ Statement of the Archdiocese of Boston and Boston College on sale of part of Brighton campus The Boston Globe, April 20, 2004.]
  7. ^ Oslin, Reid, "Campus Construction Update: Stokes, Brighton Campus Projects Begin", The Boston College Chronicle, September 9, 2010
  8. ^
  9. ^ Nealon, Patricia. "Parochial pupils add X factor to city school-choice equation." Boston Globe. April 28, 1993. Retrieved on September 28, 2013.
  10. ^ O'Connor, Thomas H. (2004-01-01). Boston's Histories: Essays in Honor of Thomas H. O'Connor. UPNE. ISBN 9781555535827. 
  11. ^ "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  12. ^ "Gainesville Sun - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  13. ^ "Sister Kathleen Carr to step down as school superintendent". Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  14. ^ a b c "Boston Archdiocese appoints career educator as superintendent of Catholic schools - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2016-01-07. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°12′47″N 71°02′29″W / 42.21306°N 71.04139°W / 42.21306; -71.04139