Discover the Archdiocese of Hartford

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford is a particular church of the Latin Rite inHartfordLitchfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut. The archdiocese includes about 700,000 Catholics, more than 500 priests, 216 parishes and almost 300 deacons. This is roughly one-half the population of the three counties. It also publishes The Catholic Transcript.


The present territory of the archdiocese of Hartford was originally part of the Diocese of Boston until Bishop Benedict Joseph Fenwick of Boston expressed concern that there should be separate dioceses for Connecticut and Rhode Island in keeping with the growing Catholic population in those states.

On November 28, 1843, the Diocese of Hartford was established by Pope Gregory XVI with Reverend Willam Tyler as its first bishop. At the time of its creation, there were 10,000 Catholics in the area. Bishop Tyler was able to petition successfully to move the See of Hartford to Providence, Rhode Island in order to be nearer to the majority of the Catholics. Having served for 5 years, Bishop Tyler died in 1849. The second bishop, ReverendBernard O'Reilly, spent his time securing priests for the still young diocese all the while helping to curb the anti-Catholic movements of the time propagated by the Know Nothing Party. On January 1856, O'Reilly was lost at sea on board the ship Pacific. It wasn't until two years later when the third bishop of the diocese was installed, the Reverend Francis Patrick McFarland who was known as the "Civil War Bishop". It was during his time that the Diocese of Providence was created in 1872. Despite ill health, McFarland was able to participate in the First Vatican Council (1869-1870).

Reverend Thomas Galberry, O.S.A., an Augustinian friar was installed as the 4th bishop of Hartford in 1877. Galberry only served for two years before an abrupt death but he was able to lay down the cornerstone of the original cathedral. Galberry was followed by ReverendLawrence S. McMahon. Under his leadership of 14 years, 48 parishes as well as 16 school parishes were established. The sixth bishop, Father Michael Tierney, helped with the creation of 5 diocesan hospitals which are still around to this day.

Father John Joseph Nilan became the seventh bishop while Father John Murray became the first auxiliary bishop of Hartford. Murray would later become the Archbishop of St. Paul. In 1945, Henry Joseph O'Brien was installed as the ninth bishop of Hartford. It was during his tenure that the diocese became an archdiocese under Pope Pius XII, and thus O'Brien became the first archbishop of Hartford.

There are a number of trials concerning child abuse, see Sexual abuse scandal in Hartford archdiocese.

History of Catholics in Connecticut

In 1780-1781, the small town of Lebanon, Connecticut, had the distinction of being the place in which the Catholic "Mass was first celebrated, continuously and for a long period, within the limits of the State of Connecticut." On June 26, 1881, St. Peter's parish, Hartford, celebrated "the centenary of the first Mass in Connecticut." 

Diocesan bishops

Bishops of the Diocese of Hartford

  1. † William Tyler (1843–1849)
  2. † Bernard O'Reilly (1849–1856)
  3. † Francis Patrick McFarland (1858–1875)
  4. † Thomas Galberry, O.S.A. (1877–1879)
  5. † Lawrence S. McMahon (1879–1894)
  6. † Michael Tierney (1894–1908)
  7. † John J. Nilan (1910–1934)
  8. † Maurice F. McAuliffe (1934–1944)

Archbishops of the Archdiocese of Hartford

  1. † Henry J. O'Brien (1945–1969)
  2. † John F. Whealon (1969–1991)
  3. Daniel Anthony Cronin (1992–2003)
  4. Henry J. Mansell (2003–2013)
  5. Leonard P. Blair (2013–present)

† = deceased

Auxiliary bishops



† = deceased

Bishops who once were priests of the Archdiocese of Hartford

The following men began their service as priests in Hartford before being appointed bishops elsewhere:

† = deceased





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