Archdiocese of Chicago
Coat of arms
|Territory||Counties of Cook and Lake|
|Area||1,411 sq mi (3,650 km2)|
|(as of 2017)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||November 28, 1843 (175 years ago)|
|Cathedral||Holy Name Cathedral|
|Patron saint||Immaculate Conception|
|Archbishop||Blase J. Cupich|
|Vicar General||Ronald A. Hicks|
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago (Latin: Archidioecesis Chicagiensis) was established as a diocese in 1843 and elevated to an archdiocese in 1880. It serves the more than 2.3 million Catholics in Cook and Lake counties in Northeastern Illinois, in the United States, an area of 1,411 square miles (3,650 km2). The archdiocese is divided into six vicariates and 31 deaneries.
Blase Joseph Cupich was appointed Archbishop of Chicago in 2014 (and Cardinal in 2016) by Pope Francis, and is assisted by six episcopal vicars, who are each responsible for a vicariate (region). The cathedral parish for the archdiocese, Holy Name Cathedral, is in the Near North Side area of the see city for the diocese, Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago is the metropolitan see of the Province of Chicago. Its suffragan dioceses are the other Catholic dioceses in Illinois: Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield.
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 to 1996, was arguably one of the most prominent figures in the Church in the United States in the post-Vatican II era, rallying progressives with his "seamless garment ethic" and his ecumenical initiatives.
A French Jesuit missionary, the 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.
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 the Most Rev. Joseph Rosati, Bishop of Saint Louis and Vicar 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, the 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.
At the cost of four hundred dollars, Father Saint Cyr purchased a plot of land at what is now the intersection of Lake and State Streets and 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. 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, the 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 and Madison Street. When Fr. O'Meara left Chicago, Saint Palais demolished the church and replaced it with a new brick structure.
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 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 large-scale 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.
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 diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Chicago held the title Bishop of Chicago. With the elevation of the diocese to an archdiocese in 1880, the diocesan bishop held the title Archbishop of Chicago. Since 1915, all Archbishops of Chicago have been honored in consistory 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 diocesan bishops were diocesan priests before assuming the episcopacy in Chicago. Two came from religious institutes: the Society of Jesus (James Van de Velde) and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Francis George).
A fire occurred at Our Lady of Angels School on December 1, 1958, in the Humboldt Park area of western Chicago. The school, operated by the Archdiocese, lost 92 students and three nuns in five classrooms on the second floor.
In 1959 the National Fire Protection Association's report on the blaze blamed civic authorities and the Archdiocese of Chicago for "housing their children in fire traps" - their words - such as Our Lady of the Angels School. The report noted that both the Chicago School Board and the Archdiocese continued to allow some schools to be legally operated despite having inadequate fire safety standards.
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 the Most Rev. Patrick Feehan, first Archbishop of Chicago, it 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, though two previous popes had stayed there 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.
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
Most Reverend Ronald Hicks, Vicar General
Stephen Kanonik, Moderator of the Curia
Jeffery Grob, Chancellor
Mark A Bartosic, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicare, Vicariate II
John R. Manz, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate IV
Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate VI
Alberto Rojas, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate I
Robert Casey, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate III
Andrew P. Wypych, Auxiliary Bishop, Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate V
Thomas A. Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary
Michael M. Boland, Director, Catholic Charities
Betsy Bohlen, Chief Financial Officer
George Puszka, Director, Finance
Christopher J. Cannova, Department of Personnel Services
Peter de Keartry, Interim-Director, Department of Human Services
Peter Wojik, Director, Department of Parish Vitality and Mission
Jim Rigg, Superintendent, Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Education
Departments, agencies and offices include:
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, Germans, Poles, Czechs and Bohemians, French, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Puerto Rican Americans, African Americans, Italians, and Mexicans. Many local nuns living in convents established and operated Catholic schools.
The school construction boom ended when Cardinal John Cody, 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 27, 2015, article in the Chicago Tribune refers to the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools as the largest private school system in the United States. In the 2015/2016 academic year, the archdiocese ran 193 elementary schools and 36 high schools. As of 2015 , the Superintendent of Catholic Schools is Jim Rigg, Ph D.
Cardinal Francis George established the Respect Life Office within the archdiocese. "It promotes the cause of life through advocacy and prayer. It has available educational resources, a speakers bureau and sponsors annual conferences, retreats and rallies for adults and youth. The Office also maintains Project Rachel, a program of reconciliation for those who participated in an abortion; and the Chastity Education Initiative, which serves youth and young adults of the Archdiocese, inspiring them to make positive choices about the gift of human sexuality."
The Respect Life Office has coordinated several pro-life initiatives in the Chicago area. These include the local 40 Days for Life campaign, annual trip to the March for Life in both Chicago and Washington, DC, for college and high school students.