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Diocese of Roermond
Diocese in Holland; suffragan of Utrecht. It includes the Province of Limburg, and in 1909 had 332,201 inhabitants, among whom were 325,000 Catholics. The diocese has a cathedral chapter with 9 canons, 14 deaneries, 173 parishes, 197 churches with resident priests, an ecclesiastical seminary at Roermond, a preparatory seminary for boys at Rolduc, about 70 Catholic primary schools, 2 Catholic preparatory gymnasia, 1 training college for male teachers, 24 schools for philosophical, theological, and classical studies, 35 higher schools for girls, about 60 charitable institutions, 45 houses of religious (men) with about 2400 members, and 130 convents with 3900 sisters. Among the orders and congregations of men in the diocese are: Jesuits, the Society of the Divine Word of Steyl, Brothers of the Immaculate Conception, Redemptorists, Marists, Reformed Cistercians, Dominicans, Benedictines, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Brothers of Mercy, Poor Brothers of St. Francis, Conventuals, Calced Carmelites, Missionaries of Africa, Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Brothers of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Brothers of St. Francis, Brothers of St. Joseph, the Society of Mary, the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Congregation of the Divine Spirit, and the Congregation of Missions. Among the female orders and congregations are: Benedictines, Brigittines, Ursulines, Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, Sisters of Tilburg, Sisters of the Child Jesus, Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters of the Divine Providence, Sisters of Mercy etc.
The Diocese of Roermond was established in 1559, during the reign of Philip II, when after long and difficult negotiations with the papacy the dioceses of the Netherlands were reorganized. By these negotiations all jurisdiction of foreign bishops, e.g. that of the Archbishop of Cologne, came to an end. In this way the Diocese of Roermond, the boundaries of which were settled in 1561, became a suffragan of Mechlin. The reorganization of the dioceses, however, met with violent opposition, partly from bishops to whose territories the new dioceses had formerly belonged, partly from a number of abbots whose abbeys were incorporated in the new bishoprics. Much difficulty was also caused by the rapid growth of Calvinism in the Netherlands. In Roermond the first bishop, Lindanus, who was consecrated in 1563, could not enter upon his duties until 1569; notwithstanding his zeal and charitableness he was obliged to retire on account of the revolutionary movement; he died Bishop of Ghent. The episcopal see remained vacant until 1591; at later periods also, on account of the political turmoils, the see was repeatedly vacant. In 1801 the diocese was suppressed; the last bishop, Johann Baptist Baron van Velde de Melroy, died in 1824.
When in 1839 the Duchy of Limburg became once more a part of the Netherlands, Gregory XVI separated (2 June, 1840) that part of Limburg which had been incorporated in the Diocese of Louvain in 1802, and added to this territory several new parishes which had formerly belonged to the Diocese of Aachen, and formed thus the Vicariate Apostolic of Roermond, over which the parish priest of Roermond, Johann August Paredis, was placed as vicar Apostolic and titular Bishop of Hirene. In 1841 a seminary for priests was established in the former Carthusian monastery of Roermond, where the celebrated Dionysius the Carthusian had been a monk. Upon the re-establishment of the Dutch hierarchy in 1853 the Vicariate-Apostolic of Roermond was raised to a bishopric and made a suffragan of Utrecht. The first bishop of the new diocese was Paredis. In 1858 a cathedral chapter was formed; in 1867 a synod was held, the first since 1654; in 1876 the administration of the church property was transferred, by civil law, to the bishop. During the Kulturkampf in Germany a number of ecclesiastical dignitaries driven out of Prussia found a hospitable welcome and opportunities for further usefulness in the Diocese of Roermond; among these churchmen were Melchers of Cologne, Brinkmann of Munster, and Martin of Paderborn. Bishop Paredis was succeeded by Franziskus Boreman (1886-1900), on whose death the present bishop, Joseph Hubertus Drehmann, was appointed.
Gallia Christiana, V, 371 sqq.: Neerlandia catholica seu provinciae Utrajectensis historia et conditio (Utrecht, 1888), 263-335; ALBERS, Geschiedenis van het herstel der hierarchie in de Nederlanden (Nymwegen, 1893-4); MEERDINCK, Roermond in de Middeleeuwen; Onze Pius Almanak. Jaarboek voor de Katholiken van Nederland (Alkmaar, 1910), 338 sqq.