Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlottetown

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlottetown (Latin: Dioecesis Carolinapolitana) is a diocese of the Catholic Church in Canada. It is a suffragan diocese comprising the entire province of Prince Edward Island.

Diocese of Charlottetown

Dioecesis Carolinapolitana

Diocèse de Charlottetown
Sgìre-easbaig Bhaile Shearlot
Cathedral–Basilica of Saint Dunstan
Country Canada
Territory Prince Edward Island
Ecclesiastical regionAtlantic
Ecclesiastical provinceNova Scotia Halifax–Yarmouth
HeadquartersCatholic Centre
#350 North River Rd., Charlottetown, PE C1A 7L9
Area5,686 km2 (2,195 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2021 [1])
68,150 (42.7%)
DenominationCatholic Church
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedAugust 11, 1829; 194 years ago (1829-08-11)
CathedralCathedral–Basilica of Saint Dunstan
Patron saintDunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury
Secular priests39
LanguageEnglish and French
Current leadership
BishopJoseph Andrzej Dabrowski, CSMA
Metropolitan ArchbishopBrian Joseph Dunn
Bishops emeritus
All current statistics are based from updated data taken by

Originally carved from the Archdiocese of Quebec on August 11, 1829, it was then transferred to the Archdiocese of Halifax–Yarmouth on May 4, 1852. It is the second-oldest English-speaking diocese in Canada.[2]

Its seat is the Cathedral–Basilica of Saint Dunstan, located at Great George Street in downtown Charlottetown.

History edit

Early history edit

Then known as Île Saint-Jean, the island was initially part of the vast Diocese of Quebec. In the spring of 1721, René-Charles de Breslay and Marie-Anselme de Metivier, priests of the Society of Saint Sulpice, arrived at the Acadian settlement of Port-LaJoye and built a small church dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist. It was then handed-over to Franciscan priests from Louisbourg (in modern-day Nova Scotia) two years later.[3]

By 1752, four more small parishes were then established. In 1758, however, following the Île Saint-Jean campaign, British authorities expelled the Acadians.

Scottish immigration and establishment edit

Roughly three years after separation from Nova Scotia and becoming its own colony, a further expansion of the Church on now-renamed Saint John's Island began in 1772, when the first band of about 200 Scottish Catholic immigrants set foot, led by the layman John MacDonald of Glenaladale.[4] The idea was conceived and the financed by two bishops of the Scottish Catholic Church — John MacDonald and George Hay — in order to relieve the persecution of Catholics on Uist. They were accompanied by James MacDonald, a cousin of John of Glenaladale. MacDonald was well-suited for the assignment, as he was fluent in Gaelic, English, Latin and French.[5]

Another group of Scots settled in 1790, led by Angus MacEachern, to join their families who had migrated earlier. MacEachern was fluent in English, French and Gaelic. He traveled extensively throughout the Maritimes as a missionary. He built the original Saint Dunstan's in 1816. MacEachern served as an auxiliary bishop of Quebec from 1821 until 1829, when he became the first-ever Bishop of Charlottetown.[6]

Split and transfer to new metropolitan see edit

On September 30, 1842, the diocese was then split off when the new Diocese of Saint John in New Brunswick was created. Ten years later, on May 4, 1852, the diocese was officially transferred to the recently elevated Archdiocese of Halifax (now Halifax–Yarmouth).

On July 20, 1946, another piece of its territory was split off again, as the Magdalen Islands were transferred to the Diocese of Gaspé.

Education edit

Saint Dunstan's University edit

In 1831, MacEachern established Saint Andrew's College. Although it was closed down by Bernard Donald Macdonald in 1844, he also supervised the construction of Saint Dunstan's College in Charlottetown in 1848 and its eventual opening on January 15, 1855. It was built to respond to the needs of Catholic students on the Island, as opposed to Prince of Wales College, which was a majority-Protestant public institution.

In 1969, as part of the Prince Edward Island Comprehensive Development Plan designed by the government of then-premier Alex Campbell, the two schools amalgamated to form the University of Prince Edward Island.[7]

Healthcare edit

Charlottetown Hospital was established in 1879, under the leadership of Peter McIntyre. It was the first hospital in Charlottetown.

In 1982, after 102 years of service, the Charlottetown Hospital finally closed its doors when the newly opened Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Riverside Drive opened. The campus that once stood on Haviland Street is now the Tourism and Culinary Centre of Holland College.

Community edit

Priests edit

As of 2021,[1] there are a total of 40 priests (39 diocesan and 1 religious) serving within the jurisdiction of the diocese.

Most of them are in the 52 parishes, but there are also others without a parish, carrying out diocesan or apostolate tasks. Some are outside the diocese, either on study-leave, on mission, working in other dioceses, or on-leave from the ministry, and some are retired.

There used to be three (3) male religious congregations serving the diocese over the course of more than a century, before the last congregation finally left the Island:

Nuns edit

Today, there are three (3) religious institutes of women in the diocese, although there also have been six (6) others that formerly served the Island over the course of more than a century.

Current edit

Past edit

  • Sisters of Charity of Montreal (1879–1925)
  • Filles de Jésus (1903–1909)
  • Little Sisters of the Holy Family (1909–1916)
  • Sisters of the Precious Blood (1929–2012)
  • Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur (1959–1979)
  • Servantes du Saint Cœur de Marie (1977–1989)[8]

Ordinaries edit

Diocesan Bishops edit

Bishop Period in Office Coat of Arms
1.   Angus Bernard MacEachern
August 11, 1829 – April 22, 1835
(5 years, 254 days)
2.   Bernard Donald McDonald
February 21, 1837 – December 30, 1859
(22 years, 312 days)
3. Peter McIntyre
August 15, 1860 – May 1, 1891
(30 years, 259 days)
4.   James Charles McDonald
May 1, 1891 – December 1, 1912
(21 years, 214 days)
5.   Henry Joseph O'Leary
January 29, 1913 – September 7, 1920
(7 years, 222 days)
6. Louis James O'Leary
September 10, 1920 – July 8, 1930
(9 years, 301 days)
7. Joseph Anthony O'Sullivan
February 6, 1931 – February 26, 1944
(13 years, 20 days)
8. James Boyle†
March 18, 1944 – June 3, 1954
(10 years, 77 days)
9. Malcolm Angus MacEachern†
November 27, 1954 – February 24, 1970
(15 years, 89 days)
10. Francis John Spence
August 17, 1970 – April 24, 1982
(11 years, 250 days)
11. James Hector MacDonald, CSC
(b. 1925)
August 12, 1982 – February 2, 1991
(8 years, 174 days)
12. Joseph Vernon Fougère
December 11, 1991 – July 11, 2009
(17 years, 212 days)
13. Richard John Grecco
(b. 1946)
July 11, 2009 – March 4, 2021
(11 years, 236 days)
14. Joseph Andrzej Dabrowski, CSMA
(b. 1964)
April 2, 2023 – present
(1 year, 11 days)

Affiliated Bishops edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b All current statistics are based from updated data taken by
  2. ^ MacMillan, J.C. (1908). "Diocese of Charlottetown" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. ^ Macmillan, John C., The Early History of the Catholic Church in Prince Edward Island, Evenement Printing Company, 1905  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ McDonell, James K; Campbell, Robert Bennett (1997). Lords of the North. pp. 53–54. ISBN 1896182712.
  5. ^ Bumsted, J. M., “MacDONALD, JAMES (1736-85)” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003
  6. ^ Mullally, Emmet J. "Life of Angus Bernard MacEachern, First Bishop of Charlottetown". CCHA Report. 13 (1945–46): 71–106.
  7. ^ Bolger, Francis. "University of Prince Edward Island", The Canadian Encyclopedia, March 4, 2015
  8. ^ "History", Diocese of Charlettetown

External links edit

46°14′02″N 63°07′30″W / 46.2338°N 63.1251°W / 46.2338; -63.1251