Initially, the territory that now makes up the Archdiocese of New York was part of the Prefecture Apostolic of United States of America which was established on November 26, 1784. On November 6, 1789, the Prefecture was elevated to a diocese and the present territory of the Archdiocese of New York fell under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Baltimore, headed by Bishop John Carroll.
At the time, there was a dearth of priests to minister to the large territory. The first Roman Catholic Church in New York City was St. Peter's on Barclay Street. The land was purchased from Trinity Church with financial aid coming from the Spanish consul. The church was built in the federal style. Among its regular worshippers were Saint Elizabeth Seton and VenerablePierre Toussaint.
On April 8, 1808, the Holy See raised Baltimore to the status of an Archdiocese. At the same time, the dioceses of Philadelphia, Boston, Bardstown and New York were created. At the time of its establishment, the Diocese of New York covered all of the state of New York, as well as the New Jersey counties of Sussex, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Somerset, Middlesex, and Monmouth.
Since the first appointed bishop could not set sail from Italy due to the Napoleonic blockade, Fr. Kohlman was appointed administrator. He was instrumental in organizing the diocese and preparing for the Cathedral of St. Patrick to be built on Mulberry Street. Among the difficulties faced by Catholics at the time was anti-Catholic bigotry in general and in the New York school system. A strong Nativist movement sought to keep Catholics out of the country and to prevent those already present from advancing.
On April 23, 1847 territory was taken from the Diocese to form the Dioceses of Albany and Buffalo. The Diocese was elevated to an Archdiocese on July 19, 1850. On July 29, 1853 territory was again taken from the Diocese, this time to form the Diocese of Newark, New Jersey, and the Diocese of Brooklyn. Finally, territory was taken to form the Prefecture Apostolic of Bahama (now the Archdiocese of Nassau) on March 21, 1929.
As of 2010 the Catholic population of the Archdiocese was a little over 2.5 million. These Catholics were served by 932 archdiocesan priests and 913 priests of religious orders. Also laboring in the diocese were 359 permanent deacons, 1,493 religious brothers, and 3,153 nuns.
For comparison, in 1929, the Catholic population of the Archdiocese was 1,273,291 persons. There were 1,314 clergy ministering in the archdiocese and 444 churches. There were also 170,348 children in Catholic educational and welfare institutions. New York Times article
In 1959, there were 7,913 nuns and sisters ministering in the Archdiocese, representing 103 different religious orders.
Anniversaries of significance to the archdiocese
Gerald Thomas Walsh - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1967 and a bishop in 2004; titular bishop of Altiburus. Bishop Walsh is the current vicar general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and was the rector of St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers from 2007–2013.
Josu Iriondo - Ordained a priest in 1962 in Spain; became an archdiocesan priest in 1995. Ordained a bishop in 2001; titular bishop of Alton.
Robert Anthony Brucato, Emeritus - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1957 and a bishop in 1997; titular bishop of Temuniana.
Edwin Broderick † - Ordained a priest in 1942; appointed auxiliary bishop in 1967; appointed eighth bishop of Albany in 1969. died on July 2, 2006.
Thomas Cusack † - Ordained a priest in 1885; appointed auxiliary bishop in 1904; appointed fifth bishop of Albany in 1915. died on July 12, 1918.
Edward Vincent Dargin † - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1922 and a bishop in 1953; titular bishop of Amphipolis. died on April 20, 1981.
John Joseph Dunn † - Ordained a priest in 1896 and a bishop in 1921; titular bishop of Camuliana. died on August 31, 1933.
John Michael Fearns † - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1922 and a bishop in 1957; titular bishop of Geras. died on July 4, 1977.
Joseph Francis Flannelly † - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1918 and a bishop in 1948; titular bishop of Metelis. died on May 23, 1973.
George Henry Guilfoyle † - Ordained a priest in 1944; appointed auxiliary bishop in 1964; appointed fourth bishop of Camden in 1968. died on June 11, 1991.
Edward Dennis Head † - Ordained a priest in 1945; appointed auxiliary bishop in 1970; appointed eleventh bishop of Buffalo in 1973. died on March 29, 2005.
Walter P. Kellenberg † - Ordained a priest in 1928; appointed auxiliary bishop in 1953; appointed sixth bishop of Ogdensburg in 1954; appointed first bishop of Rockville Centre in 1957. died on January 11, 1986.
John Joseph Maguire † - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1928 and a bishop in 1959. died on July 6, 1989.
Henry J. Mansell- appointed auxiliary bishop on November 24, 1992; ordained a bishop on January 6, 1993; named twelfth bishop of Buffalo on April 18, 1995; named twelfth archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut.
Theodore Edgar McCarrick - Ordained an archdiocesan priest on May 31, 1958; appointed auxiliary bishop on May 24, 1977; ordained a bishop on June 29, 1977; named founding bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, on November 19, 1981; named fourth archbishop of Newark on May 30, 1986; named fifth archbishop of Washington, D.C., on November 21, 2000; created cardinal on February 21, 2001; retired on May 16, 2006.
Timothy Anthony McDonnell - appointed auxiliary bishop on October 30, 2001; ordained a bishop on December 12, 2001; named the eighth bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts on March 9, 2004.
James Francis McIntyre † - Ordained a priest in 1921; appointed auxiliary bishop on November 16, 1940; appointed coadjutor archbishop on July 20, 1946; appointed second archbishop of Los Angeles on February 7, 1948; created cardinal on January 12, 1953; retired on January 21, 1970; died on July 16, 1979.
Anthony Francis Mestice † - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1949 and ordained a bishop in 1973; titular bishop of Villa Nova; he was the first U.S.-born Italian-American priest to become a bishop of the New York Archdiocese. died on April 29, 2011
Emerson John Moore † - first African-American bishop in New York. died on September 14, 1995.
Edwin Frederick O'Brien - appointed auxiliary bishop on February 6, 1996; ordained a bishop on March 25, 1996; appointed fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA; appointed fifteenth archbishop of Baltimore. Created cardinal on February 18, 2012. Appointed Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre on February 18, 2012.
Joseph Thomas O'Keefe † - Ordained a priest in 1948; appointed auxiliary bishop in 1982; appointed eighth bishop of Syracuse in 1987. died on September 2, 1997.
Joseph Maria Pernicone † - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1926 and a bishop in 1954; titular bishop of Hadrianopolis in Honoriade. First Italian-American bishop in New York. died on February 11, 1985.
Fulton J. Sheen † – television personality; appointed auxiliary bishop in 1951; ordained a bishop on June 11, 1951; appointed bishop of Rochester in 1966; resigned in 1969; then elevated to titular archbishop. died on December 9, 1979; buried in crypt of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
William Jerome McCormack † - Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1959 and a bishop in 1986; titular bishop of Nicives. died on November 24, 2013.
† = deceased
Bishops who once were priests in the Archdiocese of New York
Charles Daniel Balvo – titular Archbishop of Castello, Apostolic Nuncio to New Zealand, Apostolic Nuncio to the Cook Islands (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to Fiji (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to Kiribati (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to the Marshall Islands (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to the Federated States of Micronesia (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to Nauru (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to Palau (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to Samoa (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to Tonga (non-residential), Apostolic Nuncio to Vanuatu (non-residential)
St. John Nepomucene Neumann † - Ordained for the diocese of New York in 1836, later became a Redemptorist; appointed the fourth bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. died on January 5, 1860.
Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle † - Ordained a priest in 1921; appointed the second archbishop of Washington, DC in 1947. Appointed a cardinal in 1967 and given the basilica of S. Nicola in Carcere. died on August 10, 1987.
Charles H. Colton † - Ordained a priest in 1876; appointed the fourth bishop of Buffalo in 1903. died on May 9, 1915.
John J. Conroy † - Ordained a priest in 1842; appointed the second bishop of Albany in 1865. died on November 20, 1895.
Philip Joseph Furlong † – Ordained a priest in 1918; appointed Bishop to the US Military Vicariate (a responsibility at the time of the archbishop of New York) on December 3, 1955. At the death of Cardinal Spellman on December 2, 1967, Furlong served as administrator of the military vicariate until the appointment of Cardinal Cooke as new military vicar on April 4, 1968. Furlong retired from the Vicariate in 1971 at 78. died on April 13, 1989.
Francis Patrick MacFarland † - Ordained a priest in 1845; appointed the third bishop of Hartford in 1857. died on October 2, 1874.
Charles Edward McDonnell† - Ordained a priest in 1878; appointed the second bishop of Brooklyn in 1892. died on August 8, 1921.
Francis McNeirny † - Ordained a priest in 1845; appointed coadjutor bishop of Albany and titular bishop of Rhesaina in 1871. Appointed the third bishop of Albany in 1877. died on January 2, 1894.
Bernard John Joseph McQuaid † - Ordained a priest in 1848; appointed the first bishop of Rochester (N.Y.) in 1868. died on January 18, 1909.
John Joseph Mitty † - Ordained a priest in 1906; appointed the third bishop of Salt Lake City in 1926. Appointed coadjutor archbishop of San Francisco and the titular bishop of Aegina in 1932. Appointed the fourth archbishop of San Francisco in 1935. died on October 15, 1961.
William Quarter † - Ordained a priest in 1829; appointed the first bishop of Chicago in 1843. died on April 10, 1848.
Francis Frederick Reh † - Ordained a priest in 1935; appointed the ninth bishop of Charleston in 1962. Appointed the rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome and the titular bishp of Macriana in Mauretania in 1964. Appointed the third bishop of Saginaw in 1968. died on November 14, 1994.
Joseph Rummel † - Ordained a priest in 1902; appointed the fourth bishop of Omaha in 1928. Appointed the tenth archbishop of New Orleans in 1935. died on November 8, 1964.
William Scully † - Ordained a priest in 1919; appointed coadjutor bishop of Albany and titular bishop of Pharsalus in 1945. Appointed the seventh bishop of Albany in 1954. died on January 5, 1969.
The following cemeteries are under the auspices of Calvary & Allied Cemeteries, Inc.:
Calvary Cemetery - Established in 1847; located in Queens. The cemetery, while located in the Diocese of Brooklyn, is property of the Archdiocese of New York as it was established before the Diocese of Brooklyn was canonically erected.
Francis Patrick Duffy – Ordained a priest of New York in 1896; chaplain during World War I, for the 69th Infantry Regiment (a military unit from New York City and part of the New York Army National Guard) — known as "The Fighting 69th" — which had been federalized and redesignated the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment.