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Diocese of Roseau
Diocese; suffragan of Port of Spain, Trinidad, B.W.I. The different islands of the Carribean Sea, which constitute the Diocese of Roseau, belonged to the Vicariate Apostolic of Port of Spain up to 1850, when Pius IX by Brief of 30 April, 1850, erected the Diocese of Roseau, with the episcopal see at Roseau, the capital of Dominica. The Very Reverend Father Michael Monaghan was elected first bishop of the new diocese and consecrated 16 February, 1851. He died in St. Thomas, 14 August, 1855, and was succeeded in 1856 by Rev. Father Michael Vesque, who died 10 August, 1859. The third bishop was René Marie Charles Poirier, C.J.M., who governed the diocese from 1859 to 1878. Next came Bishop Michael Naughten from 1880 till 4 July, 1900. The present occupant is Philip Schelfhaut, C.SS.R., b. at St. Nicholas, Belgium, 27 September, 1850, ordained priest 18 October, 1878, and consecrated bishop, 16 March, 1902. The diocese comprises the Islands of Dominica, B.W.I., with 30,000 Catholics, 12 parishes 18 priests, 16 churches, and 4 chapels; Montserrat, B.W.I., with 600 Catholics, 1 parish, 1 priest, 1 church; Antigua, B.W.I., with 400 Catholics, 1 parish, 1 priest, 1 church; St. Kitts, B.W.I., with 1500 Catholics, 1 parish, 2 priests, 1 church, 2 chapels; St Croix, D.W.I., with 4100 Catholics, 2 parishes, 4 priests, 2 churches, 1 chapel; St. Thomas, D.W.I. with 3000 Catholics, 1 parish, 3 priests, 1 church, I chapel. The total Protestant population of the diocese is about 100,000. In the smaller British Islands of Nevis, Anguilla, Barbuda, Sombrero, and in the Virgin Islands, Tostola, Anegada, and Virgin Gorda, as also in the Danish Island of St. John, the Catholic Church has so few adherents that no priest has ever been resident there. With the exception of two parishes, which are served by secular priests, the whole diocese is under the care of the Redemptorist Fathers of the Belgian province, and the Fathers of Mary Immaculate (Chavagne en Paillers, France). There are also 14 Redemptorist Brothers on the mission. In Roseau, the Religious of the Faithful Virgin devote themselves to the education of the girls of both the lower and higher classes, while the Ladies of the Union of the Sacred Hearts conduct a high school for girls in St. Thomas. In Dominica nearly all the schools are in the hands of the local Government; however, religious instruction is given by the priests during school hours. In the other Islands, with the exception of Antigua, parochial schools are attached to the mission.
Ecclesiastical Bulletin of Roseau (Roseau, 1908-9), MSS.