Discover the Diocese of Monterey

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey in California (LatinDioecesis Montereyensis in California) is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese in the United States of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the Central Coast region of California. It comprises Monterey,San BenitoSan Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz counties.

The diocese is led by an ordinary bishop; the bishop's cathedra is located at the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, the mother church of the diocese, in Monterey, California. The diocese serves close to 200,000 Catholics in 46 parishes and 18 schools.


The history of the Catholic Church in Monterey began with the establishment on the shores of Monterey Bay of Mission San Carlos Borromeo in 1770 by Father Junípero SerraOFM. Father Serra moved the mission to Carmel the next year, which served as the headquarters of the chain of Spanish missions in California.

With the papal bull Apostolicam sollicitudinem of 27 April 1840, Pope Gregory XVI set up a new episcopal see, to which he gave the name of Diocese of California He assigned to it a vast territory taken from that of the Diocese of Sonora, now the Archdiocese of Hermosillo in Mexico. It included Alta California (corresponding to the present-day states of California,NevadaArizonaUtah, western Colorado and southwestern Wyoming) and the Baja California Territory (the modern Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur). He set the episcopal residence at San Diego and made the diocese a suffragan of theArchdiocese of Mexico City.

The first bishop of the diocese was Francisco Garcia Diego y MorenoOFMMission Santa Barbara served as the pro-cathedral.

In 1848 Alta California was ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American War, and the government of Mexico objected to a United States-based bishop having jurisdiction over parishes in Mexican Baja California. The Holy See divided the diocese into American and Mexican sections and, and on 20 November 1849, with the episcopal residence moved to Monterey, a more central position for the new diocese, the American section became the Diocese of Monterey. The Royal Presidio Chapel in Monterey served as the pro-cathedral of the American diocese. In 1853 the diocese was split again, when Pope Pius IX created theArchdiocese of San Francisco, and Monterey was transferred to be a suffragan of the newarchdiocese.

In 1859, the diocese's name was changed to the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles, due to the growth of the City of Los Angeles. The diocese was split in 1922 to form the Dioceses ofMonterey-Fresno and Los Angeles-San Diego. In 1936 the diocese again changedmetropolitan bishops, becoming a suffragan of the newly erected Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The latest territorial change for the diocese came in 1967, when it was split again, to form the present dioceses of Monterey and Fresno.


Bishop of the Two Californias
  1. Francisco Garcia Diego y MorenoOFM, 1840–1846
  2. José Maria González RubioOFM, 1846–1851 (apostolic administrator)
Bishop of Monterey
  1. Joseph Sadoc AlemanyOP, 1850–1853.
  2. Thaddeus Amat y BrusiCM, 1853–1859
Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles
  1. Thaddeus Amat y Brusi, CM, 1859–1878
  2. Francisco Mora y Borrell, 1878–1896
  3. George Thomas Montgomery, 1896–1902
  4. Thomas James Conaty, 1903–1915
  5. John Joseph Cantwell, 1917–1922
Bishop of Monterey-Fresno
  1. John Bernard MacGinley, 1924–1932
  2. Philip George Scher, 1933–1953
  3. Aloysius Joseph WillingerCSsR, 1953–1967
Bishop of Monterey in California
  1. Harry Anselm Clinch, 1967–1982
  2. Thaddeus Anthony Shubsda, 1982–1991
  3. Sylvester Donovan Ryan, 1992– 2006
  4. Richard John Garcia, 2007


Notable parishes in the diocese include the oldest stone building and the first cathedral in California, the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo 

Mission Basilica San Carlos Borromeo de CarmeloMission San Juan BautistaMission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa,Mission San Miguel Arcangel, and Holy Cross Church (the former Mission Santa Cruz).

High schools





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