Diocese of Albany History

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany has a rich history of leadership and service that reaches back more than 150 years. Diocesan priests and religious communities have long worked alongside laypeople in our churches, schools, and social service outreach efforts, spreading the good news of God’s love through corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Learn more about the dynamic milestones and ministries of Catholics in our region since the 17th century, as we prepare for a bright future dedicated to serving the needs of the faithful and our community across 14 counties.

1642-04-23 00:00:00

Father Isaac Jogues

1642 – Jesuit Missionary Father Isaac Jogues was first known to have appeared in what eventually became New York State. Taken captive by the Mohawk, he suffered torture which left him maimed for life. He was killed by Mohawk natives at the village of Ossernenon near Auriesville on October 18, 1646. He was canonized in 1930 with Rene Goupil and John Lalande as the first American martyrs.

1676-03-01 10:12:43

The First Albany County Catholics

1697 –While only two Catholic residents were listed in the Albany County census, the next 75 years saw a large influx of Catholics who emigrated from European countires like Germany, Ireland, and Scotland.

1676-04-23 00:00:00

First Baptism in Albany Region

Easter Sunday, 1676 – Kateri Tekakwitha was baptized by Father Jacques de Lamberville and given the name Kateri (Mohawk for Catherine). She died at the age of 24 in 1680.

1797-03-01 10:12:43

First Parish Established

September 13, 1797 – The cornerstone of St. Mary’s Church in Albany was laid. St. Mary’s was the first parish established in what would become the Albany Diocese and only the second parish established in New York State after St. Peter’s in Manhattan.

1828-05-11 22:44:01

First Sunday School Established

1828 – The first Sunday school in upstate New York formed at St. Mary’s in Albany followed soon after by a grammar school run by the Sisters of Charity. Three sisters arrived from Emmitsburg, Maryland, marking the beginning of the presence of women religious in the area. Within five years, the Sisters also organized an orphan asylum adjoining St. Mary’s Church in Albany following a severe cholera epidemic.

1847-04-23 22:44:01

Pope Establishes Albany Diocese

•1847, April 23 – Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Albany. The first decades were characterized by growth and service. Many Catholic parishes opened during this era to meet the religious needs of the faithful. The diocese also engaged with several religious and lay organizations to help meet the social, educational, and healthcare needs of Catholics and others, including the Brothers of Saint John the Baptist de La Salle and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.

1847-09-19 18:52:13

Father McCloskey Becomes First Bishop

1847, September 19 – Father John McCloskey, then coadjutor bishop of the Archdiocese of New York with right of succession, was installed as first bishop of the new Diocese of Albany.

1848-07-02 18:52:13

Works Starts on Cathedral

July 2, 1848 – The cornerstone was laid for the Gothic Revival-style Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by New York’s Archbishop Hughes. It was dedicated in 1852.

1864-03-01 18:52:13

McCloskey Becomes Archbishop

1864 – Bishop John McCloskey left the Albany Diocese to become Archbishop of the See of New York.

1865-10-15 18:52:13

Father Conroy Named Bishop

October 15, 1865 – Father John J. Conroy was consecrated as the second Bishop of Albany.

Diocese of Albany History

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