Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington

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Diocese of Wilmington
Dioecesis Wilmingtoniensis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.svg
Country United States of America
Territory The State of Delaware and nine counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland
Ecclesiastical province Baltimore
Metropolitan Baltimore
Area 5,375 km2 (2,075 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
240,338 (17.6%)
Parishes 57
Denomination Catholic Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established March 3, 1868 (149 years ago)
Cathedral Cathedral of Saint Peter
Patron saint St. Francis de Sales
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop William Francis Malooly
Metropolitan Archbishop William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
Diocese of Wilmington.jpg

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington ( Latin: Dioecesis Wilmingtoniensis) is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the eastern United States and comprises the entire state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland (i.e. the parts of the Delmarva Peninsula not in Virginia). It is led by Bishop William Francis Malooly, whose seat is the Cathedral of Saint Peter in the City of Wilmington.

The Diocese publishes a newspaper, The Dialog, which underwent a circulation and format transformation in 2011 as a result of financial pressures. [1]


Cathedral of St. Peter

Rev. Patrick Kenney established the first Roman Catholic mission in Delaware was in 1804 on the site of the Coffee Run Cemetery in Mill Creek, Delaware. The Coffee Run Mission Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. [2] [3] The diocese was canonically erected on March 3, 1868 by Pope Pius IX from portions of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Diocese of Philadelphia, and also received the 2 eastern-shore counties of Virginia, thus extending all the way down the Delmarva Peninsula. The Virginia portion reverted to the Diocese of Richmond in 1974, leaving the Diocese of Wilmington with all of Delaware and the 9 eastern-shore counties of Maryland. In 2009, the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of financial liabilities from lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests. [4] The parties reached a settlement in February 2011, implementation of which had not yet occurred by May 2011. [5]

Diocesan bishops

  1. Thomas Albert Andrew Becker (1868–1886), appointed Bishop of Savannah
  2. Alfred Allen Paul Curtis (1886–1896), retired
  3. John James Joseph Monaghan (1897–1925), retired
  4. Edmond John Fitzmaurice (1925–1960), retired (and raised to Archbishop)
  5. Michael William Hyle (1960–1967), died (was Coadjutor Bishop of this diocese, with right of succession, 1958-1960)
  6. Thomas Joseph Mardaga (1968–1984), died
  7. Robert Edward Mulvee (1985–1995), appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Providence
  8. Michael Angelo Saltarelli (1995–2008), retired
  9. William Francis Malooly (2008–present)

Other affiliated bishops

  1. Benjamin Joseph Keiley, priest of this diocese who transferred to the Diocese of Savannah and later (in 1900) was appointed Bishop there
  2. Hubert James Cartwright, Coadjutor Bishop (1956-1958), with right of succession, of this diocese
  3. John Barres, priest of this diocese who was appointed Bishop of Allentown in 2009
  4. James C. Burke, OP, served here as vicar for urban affairs (1978-1994), but not as coadjutor or auxiliary bishop (consecrated a titular bishop on May 25, 1967; served as Territorial Prelate of Chimbote, Peru)

High schools

* Privately operated


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