Metropolitan Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Archidiœcesis Metropolitae Philadelphiensis
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritoryPhiladelphia and the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia
Ecclesiastical provinceMetropolitan Province of Philadelphia
Headquarters222 North 17th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Area2,183 sq mi (5,650 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2019)
1,437,400 (34.9%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 8, 1808; 215 years ago (1808-04-08)
CathedralCathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul
Patron saintOur Lady of the Immaculate Conception[1] (Primary), Peter and Paul (Titular)
Secular priests274
Current leadership
Metropolitan ArchbishopNelson J. Perez
Auxiliary BishopsJohn J. McIntyre
Keith J. Chylinski (elect),
Christopher R. Cooke (elect),
Efren V. Esmilla (elect)
Bishops emeritusJustin Rigali
Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap
Edward Michael Deliman
Michael J. Fitzgerald
Location of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania
Location of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania

The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Latin: Archidiœcesis Metropolitae Philadelphiensis) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory, or diocese, of the Catholic Church in southeastern Pennsylvania in the United States.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia originally included all of Pennsylvania and Delaware, along with seven counties and parts of three counties in New Jersey. The diocese was raised to an archdiocese in 1875. The seat of the archbishop is the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

As of 2023, Nelson J. Pérez is the archbishop of Philadelphia.[2]


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia covers five Pennsylvania counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. It is the metropolitan see of the Ecclesiastical Province of Philadelphia.

The archdiocese includes the following suffragan dioceses:


Archdiocesan Pastoral Center

The history of the Catholic Church in the area dates back to William Penn when Mass was said publicly as early as 1707.[3]

19th century

In 1808, Pope Pius VII erected the suffragan dioceses of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Bardstown, Kentucky, from the territory of the Diocese of Baltimore.[4] The pope appointed Reverend Michael Francis Egan as the first bishop of Philadelphia.[5]

In 1868, the Vatican erected the dioceses of Harrisburg, Scranton, and Wilmington, taking their territory from the Diocese of Philadelphia.[3]

The Vatican elevated the Diocese of Philadelphia to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on February 12, 1875.[3]

20th century

In 1961, Pope John XXIII erected the Diocese of Allentown, taking several northern counties from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.[6]

By 1969, the archdiocese had grown to 1,351,704 parishioners, 1,096 diocesan priests, 676 priests of religious institutes and 6,622 religious women.[3]

21st century

In February 2012, the diocese announced the largest reorganization of their elementary and high school education system, with numerous recommended school closings or mergers.

In August 2012, the archdiocese announced that the Faith in the Future Foundation would assume management of the 17 archdiocesan high schools and the four special education schools.[7]


Archbishop Nelson J. Perez

Bishops of Philadelphia

  1. Michael Francis Egan, O.F.M. (1808–1814)[8]
    (Ambrose Maréchal, P.S.S. appointed in 1816; did not take effect.)[9]
  2. Henry Conwell (1819–1841)[10]
  3. Francis Patrick Kenrick (1842–1851; coadjutor bishop 1830–1842), appointed Archbishop of Baltimore[11]
  4. John Nepomucene Neumann (1852–1860)[12]
  5. James Frederick Wood (1860–1875; coadjutor bishop 1857–1860), elevated to archbishop[13]

Archbishops of Philadelphia

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
  1. James Frederick Wood (1875–1883)
  2. Patrick John Ryan (1884–1911)
  3. Edmond Francis Prendergast (1911–1918)
  4. Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty (1918–1951)
  5. Cardinal John Francis O'Hara, C.S.C. (1951–1960)
  6. Cardinal John Joseph Krol (1961–1988)
  7. Cardinal Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua (1988–2003)
  8. Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali (2003–2011)
  9. Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. (2011–2020)
  10. Nelson J. Perez (2020–present)

Current auxiliary bishops

Former auxiliary bishops

Other living priests of this diocese who became bishops

Note: Year range in parentheses indicates the time of service as a priest of the (Arch)diocese of Philadelphia, prior to appointment to the episcopacy.

Other deceased priests of this diocese who became bishops

Note: Year range in parentheses indicates the time of service as a priest of the (Arch)diocese of Philadelphia, prior to appointment to the episcopacy.


Main article: List of churches in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Educational institutions

Main article: List of schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Circa 1912 there were about 68,000 students in Catholic schools within the archdiocesan territory. This increased to 250,000 in 1961, but the figures decreased after that year. Enrollment was down to 68,000 in 2012.[19] There were about 50,000 students in Catholic schools in the city of Philadelphia in 2000, and this figure decreased to 30,000 in 2010. In that span one Catholic high school and 23 Catholic elementary schools closed or merged, and the proliferation of charter schools in that period meant that the number of students combined in that type of school outnumbered that of the remaining Philadelphia Catholic schools.[20]

In 2012 the archdiocese proposed closing or merging 18 schools in Philadelphia and 31 schools outside of Philadelphia; the Philadelphia Inquirer stated this would further weaken Philadelphia's middle class.[21] The proposal would affect 24% and 29% of the senior high and K-8 schools, respectively.[22]

Elementary schools

See also: Category:Catholic elementary schools in Philadelphia

(only includes schools notable enough for their own Wikipedia articles)

The first Catholic school established in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was at St. Mary Parish in Philadelphia during the late eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century, Bishop Kenrick encouraged the establishment of Catholic schools. Subsequently, John Neumann (1851–1860) made the establishment of parish elementary schools a priority and by 1860 there were seventeen parish elementary schools in Philadelphia. Between 1900 and 1930, Catholic elementary schools increased to 124 schools in Philadelphia and 78 schools in the four suburban counties. Between 1945 and 1965, 62 new Catholic elementary schools were established.

In 2012, about 25% of the students in Philadelphia Catholic elementary schools were not Catholic.[20] In 2010 South Philadelphia Catholic elementary schools had 2,572 students, a decline by 27% from the 2006 figure.[19]

Special needs schools

With the foundation of Archbishop Ryan School for Children with Deafness in 1912, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia school system began serving families of children with special needs. St. Katherine Day School and Our Lady of Confidence School, serving students with mental retardation, were opened in 1953 and 1954, respectively, after parent petitions to John Cardinal O'Hara. St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairment followed in 1955. Queen of the Universe Day Center was added in 1980 to serve students with mental retardation in Bucks County. These five schools are supported by the Catholic Charities Appeal.

High schools within the archdiocese

See also: Category:Roman Catholic secondary schools in Philadelphia

Diocesan high schools

Leadership within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia envisioned a continued comprehensive education for secondary students.

The first free Catholic high school in the United States was the "Roman Catholic High School of Philadelphia", founded for the education of boys in 1890. (It is often referred to as "Roman Catholic", occasionally as "Catholic High", and most commonly as "Roman".) The "Catholic Girls High School" was founded in 1912. Mary McMichan, one of the school's founders, requested in her last will that the school be renamed in honor of her brother. The school became "John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School" after her death. Both schools are still in existence.

Between 1916 and 1927 West Catholic Boys and Girls and Northeast Catholic were opened. Despite the economic hardships of the 1930s and 1940s, seven more diocesan high schools were founded. Between 1945 and 1967, fifteen high schools were opened.

As of 2023, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has 15 diocesan high schools.


Colleges and universities within the archdiocese

Note: Each Catholic college and university within the archdiocese is affiliated with a religious institute, rather than the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Catholic Social Services

The archdiocese has had a foster care agency for more than 100 years. It sued Philadelphia after the city stopped referring foster care cases to the agency after it refused to use same-sex couples to foster children.[23] The case went to the Supreme Court with the name Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pa.[24]


Sexual abuse scandals

Main article: Sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia

The Philadelphia abuses were substantially revealed through a grand jury investigation in 2005. Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali adopted the policy of laicizing those who were accused and confirmed by investigations. A second grand jury in 2011 said that as many as 37 priests were credibly accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior toward minors. In 2012, a guilty plea by priest Edward Avery and the related trial and conviction of William Lynn and mistrial on charges against James J. Brennan followed from the grand jury's investigations. In 2013, Charles Engelhardt and teacher Bernard Shero were tried, convicted and sentenced to prison. Lynn was the first official to be convicted in the United States of covering up abuses by other priests in his charge and other senior church officials have been extensively criticized for their management of the issue in the archdiocese.

On March 12, 2020, a new trial date was set for Lynn, who was released in 2016 and ordered to be retried after serving 33 months of his sentence. Jury selection was to start on March 16, 2020.[25] However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced Lynn's retrial to be delayed until January 2021.[26][27] Following his release from prison in 2016, Lynn was ordered to remain on supervised parole until his retrial.[28] In 2019, it was reported that the 2011 grand jury report also resulted in Lynn being suspended from ministry.[29]

On May 5, 2020, Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that it now expected to pay $126 million in reparations.[30] The archdiocese also said its Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, which was established in 2018, has received a total of 615 claims, and had settled 208 of them for $43.8 million as of April 22, 2020.[30] That averages out to about $211,000 per claim, which is in line with what other dioceses have been paying under similar programs.[30] The same day, however, the total amount of money which the Archdiocese of Philadelphia expected to pay in sex abuse settlements was revised to $130 million by Archbishop of Philadelphia Nelson J. Perez.[31] On August 14, 2020, it was revealed that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its suffragan dioceses of Pittsburgh, Allentown and Scranton were enduring the bulk of 150 new lawsuits filed against all eight Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses.[32]

On December 3, 2020, William McCandless, a member of the Wilmington-based religious order Oblates de St. Francis De Sales who was formerly assigned to DeSales University in Lehigh County, was charged in Philadelphia for possession of child pornography.[33] Much of McCandless' child pornography was imported from overseas.[34] McCandless has been ordered to remain under house arrest until the outcome of his trial.[35]

Firing of Margie Winters for same-sex marriage

In 2015, it was reported that the school's director of religious education, Margie Winters, had been fired from the Waldron Mercy Academy after a parent had reported her directly to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for marrying her long-term lesbian partner in a civil ceremony in 2007. Winters had been upfront with school administrators at the time of her hiring and was advised to keep a low profile which she says she did. Many parents expressed anger and concern over the school's decision. Principal Nell Stetser justified the decision by arguing that "many of us accept life choices that contradict current Church teachings, but to continue as a Catholic school, Waldron Mercy must comply with those teachings." But she called for "an open and honest discussion about this and other divisive issues at the intersection of our society and our Church." The Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, called the dismissal "common sense."[36][37]

Saints of Philadelphia

Shrines of Philadelphia

See also: List of shrines § United States


See also


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ Roebuck, Jeremy (23 January 2020). "Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland named Philadelphia's next archbishop, replacing Charles Chaput". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "About – Archdiocese of Philadelphia". Retrieved 2023-09-25.
  4. ^ "Baltimore (Archdiocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2023-09-25.
  5. ^ "Bishop Michael Francis Egan, O.F.M." David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  6. ^ "Allentown (Diocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2023-09-25.
  7. ^ Baldwin, Lou (August 23, 2012). "Philadelphia Archdiocese, foundation sign pact on school management". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  8. ^ Friend, Christine (February 2010). "Philadelphia's First Bishop". Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center.
  9. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Ambrose Marechal". Retrieved 2023-09-25.
  10. ^ Griffin, Martin I.J. (1913). "Life of Bishop Conwell of Philadelphia [part]". Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia. 23 (1): 16–42.
  11. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Francis and Peter Kenrick". Retrieved 2023-09-25.
  12. ^ "Saint John Neumann: Biography, Legacy, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  13. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Philadelphia". Retrieved 2023-09-25.
  14. ^ "Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishops of Philadelphia | USCCB". Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  15. ^ "Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishops of Philadelphia | USCCB". Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  16. ^ "Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishops of Philadelphia | USCCB". Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  17. ^ a b See: List of the Catholic bishops of the United States#American bishops serving outside the United States.
  18. ^ Times-Dispatch, ELLEN ROBERTSON Richmond (18 August 2017). "The Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, dies at 75". Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  19. ^ a b Campisi, Anthony (2012-01-09). "Catholic school closings hit South Philadelphia especially hard". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  20. ^ a b Tierney, Joseph P. (2012-01-30). "Catholic School Closings Need More Than A Miracle". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  21. ^ "School closings continue assault on city's middle class". Philadelphia Inquirer. 2012-01-17. Archived from the original on 2015-12-29. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  22. ^ O'Reilly, David (2012-01-09). "Schools panel head: Catholic school changes long overdue". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  23. ^ Vielmetti, Bruce. "Milwaukee Archdiocese weighs in on U.S. Supreme Court case on same-sex foster parents in Philadelphia". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Moselle, Aaron (March 12, 2020). "Monsignor William Lynn's clergy sex abuse retrial starts in Philly next week". WHYY. Archived from the original on May 23, 2020.
  26. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (March 16, 2020). "Retrial of Ex-Philadelphia Catholic Official Delayed Over Coronavirus Concerns". NBC10 Philadelphia.
  27. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (March 16, 2020). "Monsignor in Landmark Church Abuse Case Goes Back on Trial". US News. Philadelphia. Associated Press.
  28. ^ "Msgr. Lynn is freed from prison, retrial set for next year". August 4, 2016.
  29. ^ Roebuck, Jeremy (March 5, 2019). "Philadelphia priest charged with raping girl, recording their sex acts". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  30. ^ a b c Brubaker, Harold (May 5, 2019). "Philly archdiocese expects to pay $126 million in priest sex-abuse reparations". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  31. ^ "OFFICE of the ARCHBISHOP" (PDF). May 5, 2020.
  32. ^ Scolforo, Mark (August 14, 2020). "2 years after grand jury report on Pa. clergy sex abuse, lawsuits roll in". PennLive. Harrisburg, PA. Associated Press.
  33. ^ Brown, Natasha (December 3, 2020). "Rev. William McCandless, Former DeSales University Catholic Priest & Adviser To Monaco's Royal Family, Indicted On Child Porn Charges". CBS 3 Philadelphia. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  34. ^ "Del. Priest Accused of Collecting Child Porn While Overseas". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Associated Press. December 3, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  35. ^ Roebuck, Jeremy (December 3, 2020). "Former adviser to Monaco's royal family and DeSales University priest charged in Philly child-porn case". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  36. ^ Gibson, David (July 20, 2015). "Gay Priest Fired From Chaplain Job Asks Pope To Meet LGBT Catholics In U.S". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  37. ^ "Archives | The Philadelphia Inquirer". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  38. ^ See Miraculous Medal and Miraculous Medal Shrine and Art Museum webpage. Central Association of the Miraculous Medal website. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  39. ^ See St. Rita of Cascia and National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia official website. Retrieved 2011-01-28.

39°57′26″N 75°10′04″W / 39.95722°N 75.16778°W / 39.95722; -75.16778