Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston
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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

Archdiocese of Boston

Archidioecesis Bostoniensis
Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.svg
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritoryCounties of Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth (the towns of Mattapoisett, Marion, and Wareham excepted)[1]
Ecclesiastical provinceBoston
Area2,465 sq mi (6,380 km2)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2015)
1,949,219 (47%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 8, 1808
CathedralCathedral of the Holy Cross
Patron saintSaint Patrick
Current leadership
ArchbishopSeán Patrick O'Malley, OFM Cap
Auxiliary Bishops
Vicar GeneralPeter J. Uglietto
Bishops emeritus
Archdiocese of Boston map 1.jpg

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (Latin: Archidioecesis Bostoniensis) is an ecclesiastical territory or Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the New England region of the United States. It comprises several counties of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is led by a prelate archbishop who serves as pastor of the mother church, Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End of Boston.

As of 2017, there are 288 parishes in the archdiocese.[2] In 2007, the archdiocese estimated that more than 1.8 million Catholics were in the territory, of whom about 315,000 regularly attended Mass.[3]


The original Diocese of Boston was canonically erected on April 8, 1808 by Pope Pius VII. It took its territories from the larger historic Diocese of Baltimore and consisted of the states of Connecticut, (future) Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

In the nineteenth century, as Catholicism grew exponentially in New England, the Diocese of Boston was carved into smaller new dioceses: on November 28, 1843, Pope Gregory XVI erected the Diocese of Hartford; Pope Pius IX erected the Diocese of Burlington and the Diocese of Portland on July 29, 1853, the Diocese of Springfield on June 14, 1870, and the Diocese of Providence on February 16, 1872. On February 12, 1875, Pope Pius IX elevated the diocese to the rank of an archdiocese.

In the 1920s, Cardinal William O'Connell moved the chancery from offices near Holy Cross Cathedral in the South End to 127 Lake Street in Brighton.[4] "Lake Street" was a metonym for the Bishop and the office of the Archdiocese.[4]

Clergy sexual abuse scandal and settlements

At the beginning of the 21st century the archdiocese was shaken by accusations of sexual abuse by clergy that culminated in the resignation of its archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, on December 13, 2002. In September 2003, the archdiocese settled over 500 abuse-related claims for $85 million.[5] Victims received an average of $92,000 each and the perpetrators included 140 priests and two others.[6]

In June 2004, the archbishop's residence and the chancery in Brighton and surrounding lands were sold to Boston College, in part to defray costs associated with abuse cases.[7][8][9] The offices of the Archdiocese were moved to Braintree, Massachusetts. The diocesan seminary, Saint John's Seminary, remains on the property in Brighton.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Archdiocese, shown in the information box to the right at the top of this article, has a blue shield with a gold cross and a gold "trimount" over a silver and blue "Barry-wavy" at the base of the shield. The "trimount" of three coupreaux represents the City of Boston, the original name of which was Trimountaine in reference to the three hills on which the city is was built. The cross, fleurettée, honors the Cathedral of the Holy Cross while also serving as a reminder that the first bishop of Boston and other early ecclesiastics were natives of France. The "Barry-wavy" is a symbol of the sea, alluding to Boston's role as a major seaport whose first non-indigenous settlers came from across the sea.[10]

Communications media

The diocesan newspaper The Pilot has been published in Boston since 1829.

The Archdiocese's Catholic Television Center, founded in 1955, produces programs and operates the cable television network CatholicTV. From 1964 to 1966, it owned and operated a broadcast television station under the call letters WIHS-TV.

Ecclesiastical province

The Archdiocese of Boston is also metropolitan see for the Ecclesiastical province of Boston. This means that the archbishop of Boston is the metropolitan for the province. The suffragan dioceses in the province are the Diocese of Burlington, Diocese of Fall River, Diocese of Manchester, Diocese of Portland, Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts, and the Diocese of Worcester.

Pastoral regions

The Archdiocese of Boston is divided into five pastoral regions, each headed by an episcopal vicar.

Pastoral Region Episcopal vicar Location Parishes Notable parishes Catholic institutions of higher education High schools Elementary schools Cemeteries
Central Very Rev. Brian McHugh Boston (all neighborhoods), Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, Winthrop 64 Cathedral, the Mission Church Boston College
Emmanuel College
St. John's Seminary
6 29 8
Merrimack Robert F. Hennessey Northern Essex County and northern Middlesex County 49 Merrimack College 3 (TBD) 4
North Mark W. O'Connell[11] Southern Essex County and eastern Middlesex County 64 none 4 6 (?) 11
South Very Rev. Robert Connors (Temporary) Plymouth County and eastern Norfolk County 59 Labouré College 3 (TBD) 3
West Robert P. Reed Southern Middlesex County and western Norfolk County 67 Regis College 3 11 7


Cardinal Seán O'Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston

The following are lists of the Bishops and Archbishops of Boston, Coadjutors and Auxiliaries of Boston, and their years of service. Also included are other priests of this diocese who served elsewhere as bishop.

Bishops of Boston

  1. Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus (1808-1823) appointed Bishop of Montauban and later Archbishop of Bordeaux (elevated to Cardinal in 1836)
  2. Benedict Joseph Fenwick, S.J. (1825-1846)
  3. John Bernard Fitzpatrick (1846-1866; coadjutor bishop 1843-1846)
  4. John Joseph Williams (1866-1875; coadjutor bishop 1866); elevated to Archbishop

Archbishops of Boston

  1. John Joseph Williams (1875-1907)
  2. Cardinal William Henry O'Connell (1907-1944)
  3. Cardinal Richard James Cushing (1944-1970)
  4. Cardinal Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983)
  5. Cardinal Bernard Francis Law (1984-2002), resigned; later appointed Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
  6. Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M.Cap. (2003-present)

Current Auxiliary Bishops of Boston

Former Auxiliary Bishops of Boston

Other priests of this diocese who became bishops




As of 2018, the archdiocese had 112 schools with about 34,000 students in pre-kindergarten through high school.[14][15]

In 1993 the archdiocese had 53,569 students in 195 archdiocesan parochial schools. Boston had the largest number of parochial schools: 48 schools with a combined total of about 16,000 students.[16]


  • Msgr. Albert W. Low (1961-1972)[17]
  • Br. Bartholomew Varden, CFX (1972-1975)[17][18]
  • Eugene F. Sullivan (1978-1984)[19][20]
  • Sr. Kathleen Carr, CSJ (1990-2006)[21]
  • Mary Grassa O'Neill (2008-2014)[22]
  • Mary E. Moran (2013-2014)[22]
  • Kathleen Powers Mears (2014-2019)[15][22]
  • Thomas W. Carroll (2019-present)[23]

Colleges and universities

Primary and secondary schools

School Location Religious order Founded
Academy of Notre Dame Tyngsboro Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur 1854
Archbishop Williams High School Braintree Sisters of Charity of Nazareth 1949
Arlington Catholic High School Arlington Sisters of St. Joseph 1960
Austin Preparatory School Reading Order of Saint Augustine 1961
Bishop Fenwick High School Peabody Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur 1958
Boston College High School Dorchester Society of Jesus 1863
Cardinal Spellman High School Brockton Sisters of St. Joseph 1958
Cathedral High School Boston Sisters of St. Joseph 1926
Catholic Memorial School West Roxbury Congregation of Christian Brothers 1957
Central Catholic High School Lawrence Marist Brothers 1935
Cristo Rey Boston High School Dorchester 2010
Fontbonne Academy Milton Sisters of St. Joseph 1954
Lowell Catholic High School Lowell Xaverian Brothers 1989
Malden Catholic High School Malden Xaverian Brothers 1968
Matignon High School Cambridge 1945
Mount Alvernia High School Newton Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception 1935
Newton Country Day School Newton Society of the Sacred Heart 1880
Notre Dame Academy Hingham Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur 1853
Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School Lawrence Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur 2004
Sacred Heart High School Kingston Congregation of Divine Providence 1947
Saint Joseph Preparatory High School Brighton Sisters of St. Joseph 2012
Saint Sebastian's School Needham 1941
St. John's Preparatory School Danvers Xaverian Brothers 1907
St. Mary's High School Lynn 1881
Ursuline Academy Dedham Ursuline Sisters 1819
Xaverian Brothers High School Westwood Xaverian Brothers 1963
Former high schools
School Location Religious order Opened Closed
Academy of the Assumption Wellesley
Academy of Notre Dame Boston
Blessed Sacrament High School Jamaica Plain
Boys' Catholic High School Malden Xaverian Brothers 1936 1968
Cardinal Cushing High School South Boston
Cheverus High School Malden
Christopher Columbus High School Boston Franciscan Friars 1945
Don Bosco Technical High School Boston Salesians of Don Bosco 1998 1998
Elizabeth Seton Academy Boston 2003
Girls' Catholic High School Malden 1992
Holy Trinity High School Roxbury 1966
Hudson Catholic High School Hudson 1959 2009
Keith Academy Lowell 1989
Keith Hall Lowell 1989
Marian High School Framingham Sisters of St. Joseph 1956 2018
Mission Church High School Mission Hill 1926 1992
Monsignor Ryan High School South Boston
Mount Saint Joseph Academy Boston Sisters of St. Joseph 1884 2012
Nazareth High School South Boston
North Cambridge Catholic High School Cambridge 1951 2010
Notre Dame Academy Roxbury Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur 1854 1954
Pope John XXIII High School Everett 1965 2019
Presentation of Mary Academy Methuen Sisters of the Presentation of Mary 1958 2020
St. Anne's School Arlington
St. Augustine High School South Boston
St. Bernard High School Newton
St. Clare High School Roslindale
St. Clement High School Medford Sisters of St. Joseph 1925 2017
St. Columbkille High School Brighton
St. John the Evangelist High School Cambridge 1921 1951
St. Joseph Academy Roxbury
St. Joseph's High School for Girls Lowell 1989
St. Louis Academy Lowell 1989
St. Patrick High School Lowell 1989
St. Patrick High School Roxbury
St. Peter's High School Cambridge
St. Thomas Aquinas High School Jamaica Plain
Savio Preparatory High School East Boston Salesians of Don Bosco 1958 2007
Trinity Catholic High School Newton 1894 2012
Our Lady of Nazareth Academy Wakefield Sisters of Charity of Nazareth 1947 2009

Other facilities

The archdiocese previously used a headquarters facility in Brighton but sold it to Boston College in 2004 for $107,400,000.[24]

See also


  1. ^ "Archdiocese of Boston". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kerber, Ross (January 29, 2007). "Bless you, we take Visa". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007.
  4. ^ a b Changes come to Lake Street. The Boston Globe, May 24, 2007
  5. ^ Kevin Cullen and Stephen Kurkjian (September 10, 2003). "Church in an $85 million accord". Boston Globe.
  6. ^ "Largest sexual abuse settlements by Roman Catholic institutions in the U.S."
  7. ^ Diocesan headquarters sold to BC The Boston Globe, April 21, 2004.
  8. ^ Statement of the Archdiocese of Boston and Boston College on sale of part of Brighton campus The Boston Globe, April 20, 2004.]
  9. ^ Oslin, Reid, "Campus Construction Update: Stokes, Brighton Campus Projects Begin", The Boston College Chronicle, September 9, 2010
  10. ^ Description of coat of arms on the web site of the Archdiocese of Boston.
  11. ^ "Most Reverend Mark O'Connell". Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ "Bishop Richard J. Malone | Diocese of Buffalo". Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ See: List of Catholic bishops of the United States#American bishops serving outside the United States.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b "Members of superintendent search committee named". Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ Nealon, Patricia. "Parochial pupils add X factor to city school-choice equation." Boston Globe. April 28, 1993. Retrieved on September 28, 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Xaverian brother named school head". The Lowell Sun. March 4, 1972.
  18. ^ O'Connor, Thomas H. (January 1, 2004). Boston's Histories: Essays in Honor of Thomas H. O'Connor. UPNE. ISBN 9781555535827.
  19. ^ "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ "Gainesville Sun - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ "Sister Kathleen Carr to step down as school superintendent". Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ a b c "Boston Archdiocese appoints career educator as superintendent of Catholic schools - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ "Carroll appointed Superintendent of Catholic Schools". Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ Paulson, Michael (April 21, 2004). "Diocesan headquarters sold to BC". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2020.

External links

Coordinates: 42°12?47?N 71°02?29?W / 42.21306°N 71.04139°W / 42.21306; -71.04139

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