Metropolitan Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Archidiœcesis Metropolitae Philadelphiensis
Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul in Philadelphia.jpg
Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.svg
Coat of arms
Flag of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.svg
Country United States
TerritoryPhiladelphia City and County, counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, Pennsylvania
Ecclesiastical provinceMetropolitan Province of Philadelphia
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 priests619
Current leadership
Metropolitan ArchbishopNelson J. Perez
Auxiliary BishopsJohn J. McIntyre
Michael J. Fitzgerald
Timothy C. Senior
Bishops emeritusJustin Rigali
Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap
Edward Michael Deliman
Archdiocese of Philadelphia map 1.jpg

The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese of Philadelphia is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in southeastern Pennsylvania, in the United States. It covers the City and County of Philadelphia as well as Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. The diocese was erected by Pope Pius VII on April 8, 1808, from territories of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Originally the diocese included all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and seven counties and parts of three counties in New Jersey. The diocese was raised to the dignity of a metropolitan archdiocese on February 12, 1875. The seat of the archbishop is the Cathedral-Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul. The Most Reverend Nelson J. Perez was appointed as Archbishop of Philadelphia in January 2020.[2]

It is also the Metropolitan See of the Ecclesiastical Province of Philadelphia, which includes the suffragan episcopal sees of Allentown, Altoona-Johnstown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. The territory of the province is coextensive with the state of Pennsylvania.

History of the archdiocese

The history of the Catholic Church in the area dates back to William Penn and when Mass was said publicly as early as 1707.[3] On April 8, 1808, the suffragan dioceses of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown (moved to Louisville in 1841) were erected by Pope Pius VII from the territory of the Diocese of Baltimore, which was simultaneously raised to the rank of metropolitan archdiocese.[4] Michael Egan was appointed as the first bishop[5] and was consecrated as a bishop on October 28, 1810, by Archbishop John Carroll.[6]

Archdiocesan Pastoral Center
Archdiocesan Pastoral Center

In 1868, the dioceses of Harrisburg, Scranton, and Wilmington were erected from the territory of the diocese (the Wilmington diocese also received parts of Maryland and Virginia).[3] Philadelphia was raised to a metropolitan archiepiscopal see on February 12, 1875,[3] with Harrisburg and Scranton among its suffragan dioceses. On January 28, 1961, the five northern counties of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill were split off from the archdiocese, to create the Diocese of Allentown.

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]

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

In a Thursday, August 23, 2012, online news story article about the Archdiocese's schools, Lou Baldwin of Catholic News Service (CNS) announced that the Faith in the Future Foundation would assume management of the seventeen archdiocesan high schools and the four special education schools.[7]


Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia.
Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia.

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. Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, C.Ss.R. (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. 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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] The proposal would affect 24% and 29% of the senior high and K-8 schools, respectively.[19]

Elementary schools

See also: Category:Catholic elementary schools in Philadelphia

(only includes schools notable 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, St. 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.[17] In 2010 South Philadelphia Catholic elementary schools had 2,572 students, a decline by 27% from the 2006 figure.[16]

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. During a 22-year growth period from 1945 to 1967, fifteen high schools were opened.


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.[20] The case went to the Supreme Court with the name Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pa


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 Monsignor William Lynn and mistrial on charges against Rev. James J. Brennan followed from the grand jury's investigations. In 2013, Rev. 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 official set for Lynn, who was released and ordered to be retried in 2016 after serving 33 months of his sentence, with jury selection to start March 16.[21] However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced Lynn's retrial to be delayed until January 2021.[22][23] Following his release from prison in 2016, Lynn was ordered to remain on supervised parole until his retrial.[24] In 2019, it was reported that the 2011 grand jury report also resulted in Lynn being suspended from ministry.[25]

On May 5, 2020, Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that it now expected to pay $126 million in reparations.[26] 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.[26] That averages out to about $211,000 per claim, which is in line with what other dioceses have been paying under similar programs.[26] The same day, however, the total number of money which the Archdiocese of Philadelphia expects to pay in sex abuse settlements was soon revised to $130 million by Archbishop of Philadelphia Nelson J. Perez.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29] Grace Kelly, the late mother of Monaco's leader Prince Albert, was also a native of Philadelphia.[30] Much of McCandless' child pornography was imported from overseas as well.[31] McCandless has been ordered to remain under house arrest until the outcome of his trial.[32]

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."[33][34]

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 A Brief History of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Archived 2009-08-02 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  4. ^ See: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore#History.
  5. ^ "Bishop Michael Francis Egan, O.F.M." David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  6. ^ "Archbishop John Carroll". David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  7. ^ "CNS STORY: Philadelphia Archdiocese, foundation sign pact on school management". Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  8. ^ Friend, Christine (February 2010). "Philadelphia's First Bishop". Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center.
  9. ^ McNeal, James. "Ambrose Maréchal." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  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. ^ "Francis Patrick and Peter Richard Kenrick". Catholic Encyclopedia.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  12. ^ "Saint John Neumann: Biography, Legacy, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  13. ^ Loughlin, James. "Archdiocese of Philadelphia." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 6 March 2023 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  14. ^ a b See: List of the Catholic bishops of the United States#American bishops serving outside the United States.
  15. ^ Times-Dispatch, ELLEN ROBERTSON Richmond. "The Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, dies at 75". Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ O'Reilly, David (2012-01-09). "Schools panel head: Catholic school changes long overdue". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (March 16, 2020). "Retrial of Ex-Philadelphia Catholic Official Delayed Over Coronavirus Concerns". NBC10 Philadelphia.
  23. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (March 16, 2020). "Monsignor in Landmark Church Abuse Case Goes Back on Trial". US News. Philadelphia. Associated Press.
  24. ^ "Msgr. Lynn is freed from prison, retrial set for next year". August 4, 2016.
  25. ^ Roebuck, Jeremy (March 5, 2019). "Philadelphia priest charged with raping girl, recording their sex acts". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  26. ^ a b c Brubaker, Harold (May 5, 2019). "Philly archdiocese expects to pay $126 million in priest sex-abuse reparations". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  27. ^ "OFFICE of the ARCHBISHOP" (PDF). May 5, 2020.
  28. ^ Scolforo, Mark (August 14, 2020). "2 years after grand jury report on Pa. clergy sex abuse, lawsuits roll in". PennLive. Harrisburg, PA. Associated Press.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Errami, Nassima (12 November 2020). "Princess Grace Kelly: how the Grimaldi women keep her spirit alive". Monaco Tribune. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  31. ^ "Del. Priest Accused of Collecting Child Porn While Overseas". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Associated Press. December 3, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ "Gay Priest Fired From Chaplain Job Asks Pope To Meet LGBT Catholics In U.S". Huffington Post. July 20, 2015.
  34. ^ "Archives | The Philadelphia Inquirer". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  35. ^ See Miraculous Medal and Miraculous Medal Shrine and Art Museum webpage. Central Association of the Miraculous Medal website. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  36. ^ See St. Rita of Cascia and National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia official website. Retrieved 2011-01-28.

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