Discover the Archdiocese of Chicago

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago (LatinArchidioecesis Chicagiensis) was established as a diocese in 1843 and as anarchdiocese in 1880. It serves more than 2.3 million Catholics in Cook and Lake counties in Northeastern Illinois, a geographic area of 1411 square miles. The archdiocese is divided into six vicariates and 31 deaneries. This local church is shepherded by Francis Cardinal GeorgeOMI, assisted by six Episcopal Vicars, each responsible for a vicariate (region). The See city for the diocese is Chicago. Thecathedral parish for the archdiocese is the Holy Name.
Cardinal George is the first Chicago native to become Archbishop of Chicago. Installed in May 1997, he became the 13th Ordinary for Chicago since its establishment as a diocese. Cardinal George is a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and is the sixth Cardinal to lead the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Diocesan history

Arrival of missionaries

French Jesuit missionary Rev. Jacques Marquette, SJ first explored the area that is now Chicago in the mid-17th century. On December 4, 1674, Father Marquette arrived at the mouth of the Chicago River where he built a cabin to recuperate from his travels. His cabin became the first European settlement in the area now known as Chicago. Marquette published his survey of the new territories, and soon, more French missionaries and settlers arrived.

First priest

In 1795, the Potawatomi tribe signed the Treaty of Greenville that ceded to the United States a tract of land at the mouth of the Chicago River. There in 1804, Fort Dearborn was erected and protected newly arrived Catholic pioneers. In 1822, Alexander Beaubien became the first person to be baptized in Chicago. In 1833, Jesuit missionaries wrote a letter to Most Rev. Joseph RosatiBishop of Saint Louis andVicar General of Bardstown, pleading for the appointment of a resident pastor to serve over one hundred professing Roman Catholics living in Chicago. Rosati appointed a diocesan priest, Rev. John Mary Irenaeus Saint Cyr. Fr. Saint Cyr celebrated his first mass in a log cabin owned by the Beaubien family on Lake Street, near Market Street, in 1833.

First parish

At the cost of four hundred dollars, Father Saint Cyr purchased a plot of land on what is now the intersection of Lake and State Streetsand constructed a church building of 25 by 35 feet (7.6 by 10.7 m). It was dedicated in October 1833. The following year, the Bishop of Vincennes visited Chicago, where he found over 400 Catholics with only one priest to serve them all. The bishop asked permission from Bishop Rosati to send Fathers Fischer, Shaefer, Saint Palais, Dupontavice, and Joliet from Vincennes to tend to the needs of the Chicago region. In 1837, Fr. Saint Cyr was allowed to retire and was replaced by Chicago's first English-speaking priest, Rev. James Timothy O'Meara. Father O'Meara moved the church built by Fr. Saint Cyr to what is now the intersection of Wabash Avenue andMadison Street. When Fr. O'Meara left Chicago, Saint Palais tore down the church and replaced it with a new brick structure.

Diocesan establishment

The First Plenary Council of Baltimore concluded that the Roman Catholic population of Chicago was growing exponentially and was in dire need of an episcopal see of its own. With the consent of Pope Gregory XVI, the Diocese of Chicago was canonically erected on November 28, 1843. In 1844, William Quarter of Ireland was appointed as the first Bishop of Chicago. Upon his arrival, Quarter summoned a synod of 32 Chicago priests to begin the organization of the diocese. One of Quarter's most important achievements was his successful petitioning for the passage of an Illinois state law in 1845 that declared the Bishop of Chicago an incorporated entity, a corporation sole, with power to hold real and other property in trust for religious purposes. This allowed the bishop to pursue mass construction of new churches, colleges and universities to serve the needs of Chicago's Roman Catholic faithful. After four years of service as Bishop of Chicago, Bishop Quarter died on April 10, 1848.

Fire of 1871

The church lost nearly a million dollars in church property in the Chicago fire of 1871, leading to administrative instability for decades to come.

Archdiocese establishment

The southern section of the state of Illinois split from Chicago diocese in 1853, becoming the Diocese of Quincy. The Quincy diocese was renamed the Diocese of Alton in 1857, and eventually became Diocese of Springfield. The Diocese of Peoria was established in 1877 from another territorial split from the Chicago diocese.
From 1844 to 1879, the residential bishop of the Diocese of Chicago held the title Bishop of Chicago. With the elevation of the diocese to an archdiocese in 1880, the residential bishop held the title Archbishop of Chicago. Since 1915, all Archbishops of Chicago have been honored inconsistory with the title of Cardinal Priest and membership in the College of Cardinals. The archbishops also have responsibilities in the dicasteries of the Roman Curia. All but two residential bishops were diocesan priests before assuming the episcopacy in Chicago. Two came from religious institutes: the Society of Jesus and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Our Lady of the Angels fire

The First Plenary Council of Baltimore concluded that the Roman Catholic population of Chicago was growing exponentially and was in dire need of an episcopal see of its own. With the consent of Pope Gregory XVI, the Diocese of Chicago was canonically erected on November 28, 1843. In 1844, William Quarter of Ireland was appointed as the first Bishop of Chicago. Upon his arrival, Quarter summoned a synod of 32 Chicago priests to begin the organization of the diocese. One of Quarter's most important achievements was his successful petitioning for the passage of an Illinois state law in 1845 that declared the Bishop of Chicago an incorporated entity, a corporation sole, with power to hold real and other property in trust for religious purposes. This allowed the bishop to pursue mass construction of new churches, colleges and universities to serve the needs of Chicago's Roman Catholic faithful. After four years of service as Bishop of Chicago, Bishop Quarter died on April 10, 1848.

Fire of 1871

The church lost nearly a million dollars in church property in the Chicago fire of 1871, leading to administrative instability for decades to come.

Archdiocese establishment

The southern section of the state of Illinois split from Chicago diocese in 1853, becoming the Diocese of Quincy. The Quincy diocese was renamed the Diocese of Alton in 1857, and eventually became Diocese of Springfield. The Diocese of Peoria was established in 1877 from another territorial split from the Chicago diocese.
From 1844 to 1879, the residential bishop of the Diocese of Chicago held the title Bishop of Chicago. With the elevation of the diocese to an archdiocese in 1880, the residential bishop held the title Archbishop of Chicago. Since 1915, all Archbishops of Chicago have been honored inconsistory with the title of Cardinal Priest and membership in the College of Cardinals. The archbishops also have responsibilities in the dicasteries of the Roman Curia. All but two residential bishops were diocesan priests before assuming the episcopacy in Chicago. Two came from religious institutes: the Society of Jesus and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Our Lady of the Angels fire

The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire occurred at the Our Lady of Angels School on December 1, 1958 in the Humboldt Park area of western Chicago. The school, which was operated by the Archdiocese, lost 92 students and three nuns in five classrooms on the second floor.

Archbishop's Residence

The Archbishop's Residence at 1555 North State Parkway is the official home of the Archbishop of Chicago and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1885 by Most Rev. Patrick Feehan, first Archbishop of Chicago, the Archbishop's Residence is a three-story, red brick building and is one of the oldest structures in the Astor Street District, according to the Landmarks Preservation Council.
When Pope John Paul II visited Chicago in 1979, he became the first Pontiff to stay at the Residence. Two previous popes stayed at the Residence as cardinals: Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII; and Giovanni Cardinal Montini, who became Pope Paul VI.
Before the establishment of the Archbishop's Residence, the Bishops of Chicago were in residence at a home on LaSalle Street and North Avenue.

Bishops

Diocesan bishops

Bishops

Archbishops

Coadjutor bishops (who did not become diocesan bishop)

Current Auxiliary Bishops

See Auxiliary bishop

Retired Auxiliary Bishops

Deceased Auxiliary Bishops

Bishops who once were priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago

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

Priests

Structure of the Archdiocese

Administration
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., is the Archbishop of Chicago. The Archdiocese Pastoral Centers are Archbishop Quigley Center, 835 North Rush Street and Cardinal Meyer Center, 3525 South Lake Park Avenue, both in Chicago.
Administrative Council to the Archbishop
Rev. Msgr. John F. Canary, Vicar General
Rev. Peter ?nieg, Moderator of the Curia
Mr. Jimmy M. Lago, Chancellor
Most Rev. Francis J. Kane, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicare, Vicariate II
Most Rev. John R. Manz, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate IV
Most Rev. Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate VI
Most Rev. George J. Rassas, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate I
Most Rev. Alberto Rojas, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate III
Most Rev. Andrew P. Wypych, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate V
Rev. Thomas A. Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary
Rev. Msgr. Michael M. Boland, Director, Department of Human Services
Mr. Christopher J. Cannova, Department of Personnel Services
Mr. Raymond P. Coughlin, Director, Department of Human Services
Ms. Colleen H. Dolan, Director, Department of Communications and Public Relations
Rev. Msgr. Richard P. Hynes, Director, Department of Parish Life and Formation
Mr. Kevin J. Marzalik, Director, Department of Financial Services
Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, O.P., Superintendent, Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Education

Office of Catholic Schools

The Office of Catholic Schools operates, manages, and supports diocesan and Catholic primary and secondary schools. Catholic education in the Chicago area began on June 3, 1844 with the opening of a boys' school. Chicago parochial schools served various ethnic groups, including Irish,GermansPolesCzechs and Bohemians, French, SlovaksLithuaniansAfrican AmericansItalians, and Mexicans. Many local nuns living in convents established and operated Catholic schools.
The school construction boom ended when Cardinal John Cody, the archbishop at the time, decided to limit construction of Catholic schools in Lake County and suburban areas in Cook County. Due to changes in demographics, the archdiocese has since closed more than half of its urban schools since 1966.
Between 1984 and 2004, the Office of Catholic Schools closed 148 schools and 10 school sites. An August 17, 2000 article by the Chicago Sun-Times refers to the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools as the largest private school system in the United States.

Seminaries

Cardinal George

Cardinal Francis George is the first Chicago native to become Archbishop of Chicago. Installed in May 1997, he arrived by way of the west coast, where he had spent less than a year as Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, and five years as Bishop of Yakima, Washington. He is the thirteenth Ordinary of Chicago since its establishment as a diocese in 1843.
The northwest side native, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is the sixth Cardinal to lead the Chicago Archdiocese's 2.3 million Catholics. He has assumed a prominent position among U.S. bishops, serving as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2010. His pastoral leadership encompasses international and national audiences

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.

His Eminence Francis Eugene Cardinal George, O.M.I., eighth Archbishop of Chicago, was born in Chicago to Francis J. and Julia R. McCarthy George on January 16, 1937. He is the first native Chicagoan to serve as Archbishop of Chicago.
After attending St. Pascal Grade School on Chicago’s northwest side and St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, Illinois, he entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on August 14, 1957.
He studied theology at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and was ordained a priest by Most Rev. Raymond Hillinger on December 21, 1963 at St. Pascal Church.
Cardinal George earned a master’s degree in philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1965 and a doctorate in American philosophy at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1970 and, in 1971, a master’s degree in theology from the University of Ottawa in Canada. During those years, he also taught philosophy at the Oblate Seminary, Pass Christian, Mississippi (1964-69), Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana (1968) and at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska (1969-1973).
From 1973-74 he was Provincial Superior of the Midwestern Province for the Oblates in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was then elected Vicar General of the Oblates and served in Rome from 1974-1986.
He returned to the United States and became coordinator of the Circle of Fellows for the Cambridge Center for the Study of Faith and Culture in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1987-1990). During that time, he obtained a Doctorate of Sacred Theology in ecclesiology from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome, Italy (1988).
Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Yakima on July 10, 1990. He was ordained and installed as the fifth bishop of Yakima on September 21, 1990 in Holy Family Church, Yakima.
He served there for five and a half years before being appointed Archbishop of Portland in Oregon by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 1996. He was installed on May 27, 1996 as the ninth Archbishop of Portland in St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland.
Less than a year later, on April 8, 1997, Pope John Paul II named him the eighth Archbishop of Chicago, to the See left vacant by the death of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin on November 14, 1996. His installation by the Most Rev. Agostino Cacciavillan, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio, took place at Holy Name Cathedral on May 7, 1997.
On January 18, 1998, Pope John Paul II announced Archbishop George’s elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals. At the Consistory of February 21, 1998, Cardinal George was assigned San Bartolomeo all’Isola in Rome, as his titular church. He was also appointed a member of the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.” In 1999, Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal George to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church. In 2001, the Pope appointed him to the Congregation for Oriental Churches, and in 2004, he appointed Cardinal George to the Pontifical Council for Culture. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal George to the Pontifical Council for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See.
He was a papal appointee to the 1994 World Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life and a delegate and one of two special secretaries at the Synod of Bishops for America in 1997. He was a delegate of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the 2001 World Synod of Bishops and was also elected to the Council for the World Synod of Bishops in 2001. He served as a delegate of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the 2008 World Synod of Bishops on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”
He is a member of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship and the ad hoc Committee on Shrines. He also serves as consultant to the USCCB Committees on Doctrine and Pro-Life Activities and the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry. He was President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007-2010, and Vice-President of the USCCB from 2004-2007. He has also served on USCCB Committees on Doctrine, on Latin America, on Missions, on Religious Life, the American Board of Catholic Missions, and on World Missions; on the ad hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism and the Subcommittee on Campus Ministry.
He was chair of the USCCB Commission for Bishops and Scholars from 1992-1994, and of the USCCB Committee on Liturgy from 2001-2004, and a consultant to the USCCB Committees on Evangelization (1991-93), Hispanic Affairs (1994-97), Science and Values (1994-97), and African American Catholics (1999-2002). He was the USCCB Representative to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy from 1997-2006.
He is the Chancellor of the Catholic Church Extension Society (since 1997) and the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois (since 1997). He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America (since 1993), a Trustee of the Papal Foundation (since 1997), a member of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia (since 1994), and a member of the Board of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (since 1997). He has been the Episcopal Liaison to the Catholic Campus Ministry Association Executive Board since 1998 and is now also Episcopal Moderator for the Ministry of Transportation Chaplains (2003). He also served as Episcopal Advisor to the Cursillo Movement, Region XII, from 1990 to 1997.
From 1990 to 2008, he was Episcopal Moderator and member of the board of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities (now known as the National Catholic Partnership on Disability). He brought personal experience to his role after a five-month bout with polio at age 13 left him with permanent damage to his legs.
Cardinal George is Conventual Chaplain ad honorem of the Federal Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Grand Prior of the North Central Lieutenancy of the United States for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a member of the Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Awards Advisory Board. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Oblate Media, Belleville, Illinois, since 1988.
He is publisher of The Catholic New World and Chicago Cat?lico, the official newspapers of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and writes a column for these newspapers.He is also interviewed monthly on “Catholic Community of Faith,” a radio program sponsored by the Archdiocese on WNTD 950-AM, and he is on the Chicago Loop Cable Ch. 25 program “The Church, The Cardinal and You.”
As Archbishop of Chicago, he has issued two pastoral letters: on evangelization, “Becoming an Evangelizing People,” (November 21, 1997) and on racism, “Dwell in My Love” (April 4, 2001). His book, The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture, was published in October, 2009, by The Crossroad Publishing Company. It is a collection of essays exploring our relationship with God, the responsibility of communion and the transformation of culture. His most recent book, God in Action: How Faith in God Can Address the Challenges of the World, was published in May, 2011, by Doubleday Religion. In this collection of essays, he reflects on the significance of religious faith in the public sphere and underscores the unique contributions of religion to the common good.
He is a member of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the American Society of Missiologists and the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs. In addition to English, he speaks French, Italian, Spanish and some German.
Archdiocese of Chicago
835 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2030
312-534-8200
Archbishop Quigley Center
835 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2030
312-534-8200
Cardinal Meyer Center
3525 S. Lake Park Ave. 
Chicago, IL 60653-1402
312-534-8200
Mailing Address for Archdiocesan Centers:
PO Box 1979
Chicago, IL 60690-1979

 

 

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