Until the revolution, Catholics in the colonies were under the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of London. But with the advent of the American Independence and the favorable climate towards Catholics, Pope Pius VI had decided to create the Diocese of Baltimore with John Caroll as the First Bishop in the New World. This was November 6, 1789. Three years before, i 1786, a small group of Catholics in New York City erected the first Catholic Church in the State, St. Peter’s on Barclay Street. In 1798, St, Mary in Albany was built. From these two Churches the Diocese of New York was created by Pope Pius VII on April 8th, 1808. Bishop R. Luke Concannen, O.P., became the First Bishop of New York. He was never to head the Church in New York. He died in Naples in 1810. Rev. Anthony Kohjman, S.J., was the administrator from1808 to 1814 when Bishop John Connoly, O.P., was appointed to succeed Bishop Concannen. Bishop Connoly established nine parishes in this New Diocese and introduced Mother Seton’s Sisters to the New York School System.
Upon the death of Bishop Connolly in 1825, Bishop John DuBois became the Third Bishop of the New York Diocese. During his sixteen years, the turmoil of the Anti-Catholicism was sweeping the State. He lead the young Diocese through these years. It was Bishop DuBois who expanded the Diocese North of New York City by founding parishes. One of the Parishes founded was St. Peter’s, Poughkeepsie, thus beginning the formal Catholic Church in the Dutchess County. Bishop DuBois died December, 1842.
Bishop DuBois was immediately succeeded by Bishop John Hughes, the Fourth Bishop of New York. The Diocese was growing in numbers due to the arrival of immigrants fro Ireland and Germany between 1840 and 1850. The growth was such that New York was elevated to an Archbishopric in 1850. bishop Hughes became the First Archbishop of New York. During the Civil War, at the request of President Lincoln, he went to Europe to secure support for the Union cause. He was known as “The Father of Parochial Schools” and began to build the New St. Patrick’s Cathedral so far removed from the “center of the City” that the Cathedral was so become known as “Hughes” Folly.
Bishop John McCloskey, a native of New York City and First Bishop of Albany, returned to New York as its Second Archbishop in 1864 upon the death of Archbishop Hughes. He established 90 new Parishes, 58 of which were up-state. He became the first American to be created a Cardinal in 1875. He died in 1885.
Archbishop Michael Corrigan succeeded Cardinal McCloskey in 1885 as New York’s Third Archbishop. He lived to see his proudest of all his achievements: the New York St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, Yonkers completed before he died in 1902.
John Cardinal Farley was the Fourth Archbishop of New York from 1902 to 1919. He was a great advocate of Catholic Education: he doubled the Parish School; erected Colleges.
Patrick Cardinal Hayes, an Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Farley, was appointed to succeed him as the Fifth Archbishop of New York. It was Cardinal Hayes who lead the Church in New York through the Great Depression years with his charitable organizations that became known as “The Cardinal of Catholic Charities.”
In 1939, upon the death of Cardinal Hayes, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, was appointed the Sixth Archbishop of New York. He immediately made sweeping reforms in administrational, educational, charitable and social welfare areas of the Archdiocese. He lead the Archdiocese and the American Church during the Second World War. He showed love and care for the men and women serving in the Armed Forces. He died on December 2, 1967.
On March 8, 1968, Pope Paul VI appointed Terence Cardinal Cooke to become the Seventh Archbishop of New York and lead the Church in New York in these of the Renewal begun by the Second Vatican Council. Cardinal Cooke looks to us, his Parishioners here in Dutchess County, to carry the torch passed on s by those who went before us in the years of glorious history of the Great Archdiocese of New York.
The Eight Archbishop of New York, John Cardinal O’Connor, succeeded Cardinal Cooke. His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan is presently the Archbishop of New York. The Most Reverend Timothy Michael Dolan’s installation ceremony was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC on April 15th, 2010 and is the current Archbishop of New York.