Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine

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The Diocese of St. Augustine is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory of the Catholic Church, located in the U.S. state of Florida. It is a suffragan diocese in the Ecclesiastical Province of Miami, covering much of North Florida, including the cities of St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and Gainesville. The bishop's seat is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine; the current bishop is Felipe de Jesús Estévez.

Diocese of St. Augustine

Dioecesis Sancti Augustini

Diócesis de San Agustín
Cathedral-Basilica in St. Augustine.JPG
Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine
CoA Roman Catholic Diocese of Diocese of St Augustine.svg
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritoryFlorida 17 Counties in Northeastern Florida: Alachua Baker Bradford Clay Columbia Dixie Duval Flagler Gilchrist Hamilton Lafayette Levy Nassau Putnam St. Johns Suwannee Union
Ecclesiastical provinceProvince of Miami
- Catholics (including non-members)

149,070 (6.6%%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedMarch 11, 1870
CathedralCathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine
Patron saintSt. Augustine
Current leadership
Bishop ElectErik T. Pohlmeier
Metropolitan ArchbishopThomas Wenski
Bishops emeritusVictor Galeone
Felipe de Jesús Estévez
Diocese of St. Augustine map 1.png

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the continental United States. The city was part of other dioceses until March 11, 1870, when the Diocese of St. Augustine was created. It covered most of the Florida peninsula until the 1950s, when Florida's expanding population necessitated the creation of new dioceses.



The history of the diocese dates to the beginnings of European settlement in North America, when Pedro Menéndez de Avilés secured Spanish supremacy in Florida by defeating the French and planting a permanent colony, Nombre de Dios Mission, in 1565 to evangelize the Indians. He had been accompanied by four priests, and there they celebrated the first Mass in what would become the United States.

Martin Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales became first the parish priest of St. Augustine, the first established parish in the United States. Pending the arrival of regular missionaries, Menéndez appointed soldiers he deemed qualified to give religious instructions to the Indians.

St. Augustine began its existence as a regularly constituted parish of the Diocese of Santiago de Cuba. Its church records, dating from 1594, are preserved in the archives of the present cathedral.

Catholic Heritage of Florida Plaque in Cathedral-Basilica

In 1793, Pius VI established the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, appointing the Right Rev. Luis Peñalver y Cardenas, with residence at New Orleans, as first bishop. After Bishop Peñalver's promotion to the Archbishopric of Guatemala in 1801, no successor having been appointed, Louisiana, which was annexed to the United States in 1803, came under the jurisdiction of Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore in 1806, the bishops of Havana reassuming authority over Florida until the appointment of Fr Michael Portier in 1825 to the new Vicariate of Alabama and Florida.

Bishop Portier undertook single-handed the work of his vast vicariate, not having a single priest, until at his request, Bishop John England of Charleston sent Father Edward Mayne to St. Augustine in 1828.

Formation of dioceseEdit

In 1850, the Diocese of Savannah was created and included that part of Florida which lies east of the Apalachicola River; this was constituted a separate vicariate in 1857 under Bishop Augustin Verot as vicar apostolic, and erected into the Diocese of St. Augustine in 1870, with Bishop Verot—who had headed the Diocese of Savannah since 1861—as first bishop.

Bishop Verot's unwearied activity and zeal in promoting religion and education soon bore fruit; schools were opened by the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy in 1858, but the outbreak of the Civil War frustrated all hopes of success. In 1866, the Sisters of St. Joseph were introduced from France, and despite the most adverse conditions, they had several flourishing schools and academies in operation before many years.

The era of progress inaugurated by Bishop Verot continued under the administration of Bishop John Moore (1877–1901), whose successor, the Right Rev. William John Kenny, was consecrated by Cardinal Gibbons 18 May 1902, in the historic cathedral of St. Augustine.

Modern eraEdit

Sex abuseEdit

In March 2020, the Diocese of St. Augustine removed former Gainesville Father John H. Dux from ministry after determining that sex abuse allegations against him from 1976, which were now well beyond the state of Florida statute of limitation for a criminal case, were credible.[1] In November 2020, the state of Florida released a list of 97 Catholic priests who were "credibly accused" of committing sex abuse, with five accused of committing sex abuse while serving in the Diocese of St. Augustine.[2] However, a total of 13 priests on this statewide list were tied to the Diocese of St. Augustine.[3]


Bishops of Saint AugustineEdit

The list of ordinaries of the diocese and their years of service:

  1. Augustin Verot, P.S.S. (1870–1876)
  2. John Moore (1877–1901)
  3. William John Kenny (1902–1913)
  4. Michael Joseph Curley (1914–1921), appointed Archbishop of Baltimore-Washington
  5. Patrick Joseph Barry (1922–1940)
  6. Joseph Patrick Hurley (1940–1967), Archbishop (personal title) in 1949
  7. Paul Francis Tanner (1968–1979)
  8. John J. Snyder (1979–2000)
  9. Victor Galeone (2001–2011)
  10. Felipe de Jesús Estévez (2011–2022)
  11. Erik T. Pohlmeier (2022-) (elect)[4]

Auxiliary BishopEdit

Other priests of this diocese who became bishopsEdit

High schoolsEdit

Elementary schoolsEdit

St. Michael Academy in Fernandina Beach, Florida
  • St. Michael Academy (PreK-8), Fernandina Beach
  • Annunciation (PreK-8), Middleburg
  • Blessed Trinity (PreK-8), Jacksonville
  • Cathedral Parish (K-8), St. Augustine
  • Christ the King (PreK-8), Jacksonville
  • Epiphany (K-8), Lake City
  • Holy Family (PreK-8), Jacksonville
  • Holy Spirit (PreK-8), Jacksonville
  • Morning Star (Ungraded), Jacksonville
  • Palmer Academy (PreK-8), Ponte Vedra Beach
  • Queen of Peace (PreK-8), Gainesville
  • St Elizabeth Ann Seton (PreK-8), Palm Coast
  • San Jose Catholic (PreK-8), Jacksonville,
  • San Juan del Rio (PreK-8), Saint Johns
  • Sacred Heart (PreK-8)
  • St. Paul's, Jacksonville Beach
  • St. Paul's Riverside (3 years old - 8th grade), Jacksonville
  • St. Matthew's (Prek- 8), Jacksonville
  • Holy Rosary, Jacksonville,
  • St. Pius, Jacksonville
  • Resurrection, Jacksonville
  • St. Patrick's (PreK-8), Gainesville


There are 53 active parishes in the Diocese of St. Augustine.[5]


Coat of ArmsEdit

Coat of arms of Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine
Arms was designed and adopted when the diocese was erected
The diocesan arms consists of background, quartered red (gules) and silver (argent). The main symbol of the field, a flaming heart transfixed by an arrow in gold.
The coat of arms of the Diocese of St. Augustine reflects the diocese's titular patron – St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 430) – as well as the history of the area of Florida that comprises the diocese. The background, quartered red (gules) and silver (argent) are reminiscent of the Spanish roots of Florida and the see city of St. Augustine which was founded in 1565. In the royal arms of Spain the fields of Castile and Leon are of these tinctures. The main symbol of the field, a flaming heart transfixed by an arrow in gold (or), is of the human heart transfixed by Divine Love. This is the traditional emblem of St. Augustine of Hippo depicting his famous quotation from Confessions, chapter 1: "Our hearts shall ever restless be, until they find their rest in Thee."

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Former Gainesville priest accused of sexual abuse".
  2. ^ Wiley, Kelly (November 9, 2020). "5 priests who worked in Diocese of St. Augustine were credibly accused of sexually abusing children". WJXT.
  3. ^ Wiley, Kelly (November 10, 2020). "Who are the 13 Diocese of St. Augustine priests credibly accused of sex abuse?". WJXT.
  4. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 24.05.2022" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. May 24, 2022. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  5. ^ "Diocesan Statistic Diocese of St. Augustine".
  6. ^ "Jacksonville's Immaculate Conception named a Minor Basilica". Florida Times Union. Retrieved 2016-12-12.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 29°53′39″N 81°18′48″W / 29.89417°N 81.31333°W / 29.89417; -81.31333