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Archdiocese of Saint John's



Saint John's, Archdiocese of (Sancti Joannis Terræ Novæ), in Newfoundland, erected 1904, with Right Rev. M. F. Howley as archbishop. It has two suffragans, Harbour Grace and St. George's. In 1796 the Island of Newfoundland was made a vicariate Apostolic, with Rev. James Louis O'Donel, O.S.F., as first vicar Apostolic. Dr. O'Donel returned to Ireland in 1807, and was succeeded by Right Rev. Patrick Lambert, O.S.F., from Wexford, Ireland. Bishop Lambert ruled until 1817, when he retired to Ireland. Right Rev. Dr. Seallan, also a Franciscan and a Wexford man, succeeded him, and held the see until 1829. When Dr. O'Donel was made vicar Apostolic, there were but six priests in the island; Dr. Scallan increased the number to ten. He was the first bishop who died in the country. In 1829 Right Rev. Dr. Fleming, O.S.F., succeeded to the episcopacy. During his administration of twenty-one years, the building of the great cathedral was started, schools and convents were erected, and nuns of the Presentation and Mercy Orders introduced. The fifth bishop was the learned Dr. Mullock, O.S.F., who was appointed coadjutor to Bishop Fleming, and arrived in the country in 1848. He was consecrated in Rome (1847); and ruled the Church of Newfoundland for nineteen years till 1869. He completed the cathedral, built the episcopal palace, the library and college, also many churches, chapels, and convents. He was the originator of the idea of the Atlantic telegraph cable. In 1856 the island was divided into two dioceses: St. John's and Harbour Grace. The Diocese of St. John's comprises the eastern, southern, and western shores of the island. Harbour Grace embraced the northeastern shore and Labrador. Bishop Mullock was succeeded by Right Rev. Bishop Power, previously president of Clonliffe College, Dublin, and canon of the cathedral, a man of high literary attainments, also a brilliant pulpit orator. His episcopacy lasted until 1894, being the longest in the annals of the diocese. He completed the Church of St. Patrick, Riverhead, St. John's; and during his episcopacy the Christian Brothers, to whom is due the high state of perfection of the educational system, were introduced. The western portion of the island, known as "The French Shore", was separated during his reign from the Diocese of St. John's and made a prefecture Apostolic, afterwards a vicariate Apostolic.

In 1895 Right Rev. Dr. Howley (born in St. John's, 1843), Vicar Apostolic of St. George's, "French Shore", was transferred to the See of St. John's, becoming the seventh bishop. He undertook extensive repairs on the exterior of the cathedral, and the completion of the interior. During his episcopate, the academy for young ladies at Littledale has been enlarged, the new college built, and many other works have been inaugurated. According to the census of 1901, the Catholic population of the diocese was 45,000. There are 70 churches; 50 chapels; 35 priests; 143 schools; 21 convent schools (the schools all receive aid from the State and full religious liberty is granted); 9953 pupils; 14 convents. The Irish Christian Brothers teach in the public schools, and conduct the College of St. Bonaventure's, which is also affiliated to the London University, the boys' orphanage with over 100 boys, and industrial school of Mount Cashel. The Sisters of Mercy have charge of the Orphanage of Belvedere with 100 orphan girls, teach in the public schools, and conduct several academies. The Presentation Sisters also teach in the public schools.

M. F. Howley.








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