Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington: Wikis


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Diocese of Burlington
Dioecesis Burlingtonensis
Basic information
Location Burlington, Vermont, United States
Territory State of Vermont
Population 147,918 Catholics
Rite Roman Rite
Patron Immaculate Conception
Saint Joseph
Ecclesiastical province Archdiocese of Boston
Established July 29, 1853
Cathedral Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Co-cathedral Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph
Bishop Bishop of Burlington
Website Diocese of Burlington
Current leadership
Pope Benedict XVI
Metropolitan Sean Patrick O'Malley
Archbishop of Boston
Diocesan Bishop Salvatore Ronald Matano
Bishop of Burlington

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the New England region of the United States, comprising of the entire state of Vermont. It is led by a prelate bishop, currently Salvatore Matano, who serves as pastor of the motherchurch, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception[1] in the City of Burlington.

During the Easter Vigil of April 14, 2001 Saint Joseph Church was rededicated as the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph[2]. Burlington became only the third American diocese to have two active cathedral parishes in the same city — the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Diocese of Honolulu are the other two[1].

The Diocese of Burlington was canonically erected on July 29, 1853 by Pope Pius IX. Its territories were taken from the former Diocese of Boston. Today, the Burlington See remains a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Boston[3].



Originally Vermont was included within the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Baltimore, established in 1789. The bishops of Quebec continued, as they had in the past, to look after the spiritual interests of the Catholic settlers and Indians. When the Diocese of Boston was formed in 1810 Vermont became part of its territory.

In 1801, Bishop John Carroll of Diocese of Baltimore accepted the offer of Bishop Denault of Diocese of Quebec to care for French-speaking Catholics in Vermont.

In 1808 Fanny Allen, daughter of General Ethan Allen, converted to the Catholic Faith, and entered the novitiate of Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, where she was received as a member of the order. Orestes Brownson, the noted Catholic author and philosopher, was a native of the state. He was born in Stockbridge in 1803.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, there were no priests residing in Vermont. Father Matignon, of Boston, visited Burlington in 1815 and counted about 100 Catholic Canadians. About 1818 Father Migneault, from Chamblay, Canada, looked after the apiritual needs of the settlers on the shores of Lake Champlain for several years. He was appointed vicar-general of this part of the diocese by the Bishop of Boston and continued in that capacity until 1853.

Father Fitton, of Boston, came to Burlington for a short time in the summer of 1829. Bishop Fenwick, second Bishop of Boston, visited Windsor in 1826. The first resident priest in Vermont was Rev. Jeremiah O'Callaghan in 1830 until 1847. He was sent by Fenwick to Vermont, and visited successively Wallingford, Pittsford, Vergennes, and Burlington. He settled at Burlington, where he ministered for nearly a quarter of a century. His field of labor extended from Rutland to the Canadian line, a distance of about 100 miles, and from the shores of Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River.

Fenwick made his first pastoral visit, as Bishop of Boston, to Vermont in 1830, and in 1832 he dedicated the first church built in Vermont in the nineteenth century. This was erected at Burlington under the supervision of Father O'Callaghan.

In 1837 Rev. John Daley came to the southern part of the state. He is described as an "eccentric, but very learned man". During the time of his zealous labors in Vermont, he had no particular home. He usually made his headquarters at Rutland or Middlebury. He acted as a missionary, traveling from place to place wherever there were Catholics, and stopping wherever night overtook him. He remained in the state until 1854 and died at New York in 1870.

A census of the Catholic population of Vermont, taken in 1843, showed the total number to be 4940. At about this time emigration from European countries, particularly from Ireland, increased. The Catholic population increased.

During 1837 to 1854, Father John B. Daly performed missionary work in southern Vermont.

In 1852 a meeting of the bishops of the province of New York decided to ask the Holy See to erect Vermont into a diocese, with Burlington as the see city. Bishop Fitzpatrick of Boston proposed for Bishop of Burlington, Louis De Goesbriand, Vicar-General of Cleveland, Ohio. On 29 July, 1853, the Diocese of Burlington was created and Father De Goesbriand named as bishop. He was consecrated at New York by the apostolic delegate,[4] Mgr Bedini, on October 30, 1853, On November 5, he arrived at Burlington. He was installed the following day by Bishop Fitzpatrick. Bishop De Goesbriand visited the entire diocese. He found about 20,000 Catholics scattered throughout Vermont. In 1855 he visited France and Ireland for the purpose of securing priests for the Diocese of Vermont. He brought to the diocese in the succeeding years, several priests who helped build the Church in Vermont.

The first diocesan synod was held at Burlington October 4, 1855. Rev. Thomas Lynch was appointed vicar-general in 1858. The gothic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was built in Burlington starting in 1861 under the supervision of Bishop De Goesbriand. It was completed and dedicated on December 8, 1867. By 1881 DeGoesbriand had a dozen priests to serve 6,000 congregants scattered throughout the state.[5]

In 1891, the ratio of French priests to francophone parishioners was the highest in New England in the diocese of Burlington(1610:1).[6]

Bishop De Goesbriand served for thirty-eight years. In 1892, because of his advancing years and failing health, he requested the appointment of a coadjutor. Rev. J. S. Michaud, then pastor of Bennington, Vermont, was appointed. Bishop De Goesbriand retired to the orphanage, which he himself had founded.

Michaud completed the Cathedral Church, built the Fanny Allen Hospital and staffed it with the Religious Hospitalers of St. Joseph. The Sisters of Charity of Providence operated another new hospital in St. Johnsbury; the Loretto Home for the Aged in Rutland was served by the Sisters of St. Joseph. In 1904, the Bishop invited the dedicated Society of Saint Edmund to establish St. Michael's College at Winooski Park. In 1905, the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus came to Newport where they opened a mission to serve as teachers, nurses and catechists for the Northeast Kingdom.[7]

During his tenure, Michaud expanded the number of churches in Vermont from 72 to 94. There were 75,000 Catholics, 102 priests, 286 religious sisters, and 20 parochial schools serving some 7000 students.

On 3 November 3, 1899, he died at the age of 84. Bishop Michaud died on December 22, 1908. Rev. J.J. Rice, D.D., then pastor of St. Peter's Church, Northbridge, Massachusetts, was selected as his successor. Bishop Rice was consecrated on 14 April, 1910.

This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

In March 1972, an arsonist burned the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to the ground. A modern cathedral with the same name was erected on the same site in 1977.[8][9][10]

Catholic schools experienced a 24% drop in enrollment between 1998 and 2008 - from 3,190 to 2,431.[11]


There are twelve deaneries in the diocese.

  1. Addison
  2. Bennington
  3. Burlington
  4. Caledonia
  5. Capitol
  6. Franklin
  7. Orleans
  8. Rutland
  9. South Burlington
  10. Windham
  11. Windsor
  12. Winooski


  1. Louis De Goesbriand (1853-1899)
  2. John Stephen Michaud (1899-1908)
  3. Joseph John Rice (1910-1938)
  4. Matthew Francis Brady (1938-1944)
  5. Edward Francis Ryan (1944-1956)
  6. Robert Francis Joyce (1956-1971)
  7. John Aloysius Marshall (1971-1991)
  8. Kenneth Anthony Angell (1992-2005)
  9. Salvatore Ronald Matano (2005-present)[12]


Mona Faulkner is the superintendent of schools.[13]

There are eighteen Catholic schools in Vermont.[7][7] 2 Secondary/High Schools:

16 Parochial/parish elementary/middle schools: are:[14]

  • St. Monica School, Barre
  • St. Paul's Catholic School, Barton
  • Sacred Heart School, Bennington
  • St. Michael School, Brattleboro
  • Christ the King School, Burlington
  • Mater Christi School, Burlington
  • St. Joseph School, Burlington
  • St. Mary's School, Middlebury
  • St. Michael School, Montpelier
  • Bishop John A. Marshall, Morrisville
  • Sacred Heart, Newport
  • Christ the King School, Rutland
  • Mt. St. Joseph Academy, Rutland[7]
  • Good Shepherd, St. Johnsbury
  • Holy Family, Springfield[14]
  • St. Francis Xavier, Winooski[7]

Student enrollment dropped 24% from 3,190 to 2,431 from 1999 to 2008.[15]


In 2005, the Vermont diocese has net assets of $5,679,217. This figure includes assets acquired "at cost."[16] An insurance company has estimated that it would cost $400 million to replace the physical assets of the diocese, including churches, schools, and nursing homes.[17]

The Vermont Catholic Charities had total net assets of $3,874,935.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Cathedrals in United States" (Website). Giga-Catholic Information. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  
  2. ^ "Parish History" (Website). Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  
  3. ^ "Catholic-Hierarchy" (Website). David M. Cheney. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  
  4. ^ A special envoy of the pope
  5. ^ Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Charlotte
  6. ^ French Canadian Emigration to the United States, 1840-1930 - Readings - Quebec History
  7. ^ a b c d e retrieved June 19, 2007
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ Burlington Free Press, June 17, 2009, page 3B, ""Diocese to merge schools," From staff, wire reports
  12. ^ A bishop for Vermont, a pope for the world: Rutland Herald Online
  13. ^ "Diocese names school administrator". Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Free Press. 23 July 2009. pp. 2B.  
  14. ^ a b retrieved July 23, 2007
  15. ^ Ryan, Matt (February 18, 2009). SCHOOL:ST. Joseph must boost enrollment. Burlington Free Press.  
  16. ^
  17. ^ [4] retrieved July 18, 2009
  18. ^ retrieved on June 18, 2007

External references

  • Public domain copy of the 1913 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia


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