Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is a diocese of the Catholic Church in the Greater Rochester region of New York State in the United States. The region that the Diocese comprises extends from its northern border on the south shore of Lake Ontario through the Finger Lakes region to its southern border at the New York-Pennsylvania border.

Diocese of Rochester

Dioecesis Roffensis
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Coat of arms of the Diocese of Rochester
Coat of arms
CountryUnited States
TerritoryCounties of Monroe, Cayuga, Livingston, Wayne, Tioga, Tompkins, Ontario, Seneca, Schuyler, Yates, Steuben and Chemung, New York
Ecclesiastical provinceArchdiocese of New York
MetropolitanTimothy M. Dolan
Area8,772 sq mi (22,720 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
350,000 (23%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedMarch 3, 1868
CathedralSacred Heart Cathedral
Patron saintSt. John Fisher
Secular priests251
Current leadership
BishopSalvatore Ronald Matano
Vicar GeneralVery Rev. Paul J. Tomasso
Bishops emeritusMatthew H. Clark
Diocese of Rochester map 1.png

The Diocese of Rochester comprises 12 counties in New York, with approximately 350,000 Catholics and over 125 faith communities (parishes and chapels), 22 diocesan elementary schools and 7 independent parochial high schools. The bishop of the diocese is currently Salvatore Ronald Matano. The metropolitan for the diocese is the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, currently Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The cathedral parish for the diocese is Sacred Heart Cathedral.


St. Patrick's Cathedral in Rochester (1868-1937)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester began on March 3, 1868, when Pope Pius IX entrusted eight counties (Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga, Yates, and Tompkins) within the Diocese of Buffalo to Bernard J. McQuaid, the first bishop of Rochester. The new diocese had about 54,500 Catholics in 35 parish churches and 29 mission churches.

In 1896, the counties of Schuyler, Tioga, Chemung, and Steuben were added to the Diocese of Rochester from the Diocese of Buffalo, forming the current boundaries.

The diocese grew as Catholic immigrants came to western New York, peaking in the 1960s. Since then, the Catholic population has stabilized while the numbers of ordained presbyters (priests) and women religious (sisters) has fallen.[1]

  • In 1909, there were 121,000 Catholics in 93 parishes, 36 missions and 53 parish schools with 18,000 pupils. There were 164 priests and more than 500 sisters.
  • In 1938, there were 223,657 Catholics in 129 parishes, 36 missions and 72 parish schools serving 23,796 pupils. There were 289 active diocesan priests.
  • In 1966, there were 361,790 Catholics in 155 parishes, 36 mission churches and 99 elementary parish schools serving 45,540 pupils. There were 371 active diocesan priests and 1,549 sisters.
  • In 1978, there were 358,850 Catholics in 161 parishes, 29 mission churches and 75 schools serving 19,526 pupils. There were 311 active diocesan priests and 1,095 women religious.
  • In 1992, there were 361,384 Catholics in 162 parishes and 58 elementary schools serving 11,992 pupils. There were 208 active diocesan priests and 842 sisters.

On September 22nd 2017 the Diocese of Rochester inaugurated its sesquicentennial anniversary marked by a solemn mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. This event marks a year long celebration celebrating one hundred and fifty years and the year of the Eucharist which was proclaimed by Bishop Salvatore Matano on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Reports of sex abuse and bankruptcyEdit

In June 2018, it was revealed that the Diocese had secretly paid $1.6 million in compensation to 20 sex abuse victims.[2] On June 10, 2019, a man claiming that he had been molested between 1969 and 1971 by local priest Rev. Francis Vogt filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Rochester and several other local Catholic organizations affiliated the Diocese, claiming that they shielded Vogt from potential prosecution.[3] On September 12, 2019, the Diocese filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the wake of lawsuits against priests and other ministers who served in the Diocese.[4] [5] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is the first Catholic diocese in the state of New York to file for bankruptcy and also the 20th Catholic diocese in the U.S. states to do so as well.[5]


The following are lists of bishops and their years of service:

Bishops of RochesterEdit

  1. Bernard J. McQuaid (1868-1909)
  2. Thomas F. Hickey (1909-1928), appointed Archbishop (ad personam) upon retirement
  3. John Francis O'Hern (1929-1933)
  4. Edward A. Mooney (1933-1937), Archbishop (ad personam), appointed Archbishop of Detroit (elevated to Cardinal in 1946)
  5. James E. Kearney (1937-1966)
  6. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (1966-1969), appointed Archbishop (ad personam) upon retirement
  7. Joseph Lloyd Hogan (1969-1978)
  8. Matthew H. Clark (1979-2012)
  9. Salvatore Ronald Matano (2014-present)

Coadjutor BishopEdit

Auxiliary BishopsEdit

Other priests of this diocese who became bishopsEdit


Superintendents of the Monroe County Catholic School System
Name Tenure
Sr. Roberta Tierney, SSND[6] 1976 – 1978
Timothy Leahy 1978 - 1979
Rev. Richard C. Kinsky, CSB 1979 - 1981
Sr. Edwardine Weaver, RSM 1981 - 1986
Br. Brian Walsh, CFC[7] July 1986 – 1 July 1991
Sr. Mary Ann Binsack, RSM[8] 1991 – 1992
Timothy W. Dwyer[8] 1992 – 2001
Sr. Elizabeth Meegan, OP[9] 2001 – 2006
Sr. Elaine Poitras, CSC[9] 2006 – January 2008
Sr. Janice Morgan, CSJ[10] January 2008 – August 2008
Anne Willkens Leach August 2008 – July 2013
Anthony S. Cook III[11] 1 July 2013 – present

Primary schoolsEdit

School Parish Location Established Grades
All Saints Academy St. Mary Corning, Steuben County Pre-K through Grade 8
Holy Cross School Holy Cross Rochester, Monroe County 2011 Pre-K through Grade 6
Holy Family Primary School St. Mary Elmira, Chemung County Pre-K through Grade 6
St. Agnes School St. Agnes Avon, Livingston County 1878 Pre-K through Grade 6
St. Francis de Sales - St. Stephen School Our Lady of Peace Geneva, Ontario County Pre-K through Grade 8
St. John Neumann School St. John the Evangelist Irondequoit, Monroe County Pre-K through Grade 6
St. Joseph Elementary School St. Joseph Auburn, Cayuga County Pre-K through Grade 5
St. Joseph School St. Joseph Penfield, Monroe County 1960 Pre-K through Grade 6
St. Kateri School Christ the King Irondequoit, Monroe County Pre-K through Grade 6
St. Lawrence School St. Lawrence Greece, Monroe County Pre-K through Grade 6
St. Louis School St. Louis Pittsford, Monroe County Pre-School through Grade 6
St. Mary School St. Mary Canandaigua, Ontario County 1849 K through Grade 8
St. Mary Our Mother School St. Mary Our Mother Horseheads, Chemung County Pre-K through Grade 6
St. Michael School St. Michael Penn Yan, Yates County 1882 Pre-K through Grade 5
St. Pius X School St. Pius X Chili, Monroe County 1954 Pre-K through Grade 5
St. Rita School St. Rita Webster, Monroe County 1957 Pre-K through Grade 5
Seton Catholic School Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Anne Brighton, Monroe County 1948 Pre-K through Grade 6
Siena Catholic Academy St. Thomas More Brighton, Monroe County 1993 Grades 6, 7, and 8

Former primary schoolsEdit

Over the years, as Catholic populations moved to the suburbs, the Diocese has closed parishes and their schools. These include the former Holy Apostles, Holy Redeemer, Holy Rosary, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Victory, Sacred Heart, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Augustine, St. Casimir, St. Francis Xavier, St. Helen, St. John the Evangelist, St. Joseph, St. Lucy, St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Patrick, Ss. Peter and Paul, St. Stanislaus, and St. Theresa.

In 2008, facing growing deficits and declining enrollments, the Diocese closed the following schools:[13]

  • Holy Family School, Dansville, Livingston County
  • All Saints Catholic Academy, Gates
  • Catherine McAuley, Greece
  • Corpus Christi, Rochester
  • Good Shepherd, Henrietta
  • Holy Cross, Rochester (reopened in 2011)
  • Holy Family, Rochester
  • Holy Trinity, Webster
  • St. Andrews, Rochester
  • St. Boniface, Rochester
  • St. John of Rochester, Fairport
  • St. John the Evangelist, Spencerport
  • St. Margaret Mary, Irondequoit
  • St. Monica, Rochester

High schoolsEdit

There remain five traditionally Catholic high schools (or combined junior/senior high schools) in the diocese. These schools were founded by various Roman Catholic religious orders and operate independently of the diocese itself.

School Founding Religious Order Location Established Grades
Aquinas Institute Basilian Rochester, Monroe County 1902 Grades 6 through 12
Bishop Kearney High School Christian Brothers, Sisters of Notre Dame Irondequoit, Monroe County 1962 Grades 7 through 12
McQuaid Jesuit High School Jesuits Brighton, Monroe County 1954 Grades 6 through 12
Notre Dame High School Sisters of Mercy Elmira, Chemung County 1955 Grades 7 through 12
Our Lady of Mercy High School Sisters of Mercy Brighton, Monroe County 1928 Grades 6 through 12

Former high schoolsEdit

  • Academy of the Sacred Heart, Rochester, Monroe County, 1855–1969
  • Cardinal Mooney High School, Greece, Monroe County, 1962–1989
  • DeSales High School, Geneva, Ontario County, 1912–2012
  • Nazareth Academy, Rochester, Monroe County, 1871–2010
  • St. Agnes High School, Rochester, Monroe County, 1954–1982
  • King's Preparatory, Rochester, Monroe County, 1967-1970
  • St. Anthony of Padua College Prep School, Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, 1949-1970

Former seminariesEdit

Former liberal arts collegesEdit

Former charitable institutionsEdit

  • St. Ann's Home (now St. Ann's Community)
  • St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum (later St. Joseph's Villa, now Villa of Hope)[14]
  • St. Mary's Boys' Home
  • St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester, Monroe County
  • St. Patrick's Girls' Home


This is a list of the counties in New York State that fall into the Diocese of Rochester:


Coat of arms of Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester
Arms was designed and adopted when the diocese was erected. It was designed in the 1930s by Pierre LaRose
The arms of the diocese are composed of a saltire with a crescent in the center.
The St. Andrew's Cross (saltire) was taken from the coat of arms of the original Diocese of Rochester in England (now an Anglican diocese). The new design is distinguished from the original, by changing a scallop shell in the center to the crescent symbol of the Immaculate Conception. The cross emphasizes the bishop as the successor to the apostles, and the bishop's charge to preach and live the Word of God faithfully and to witness to the Resurrection.


  1. ^ Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester - Diocesan History
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Orr, Steve (September 12, 2019). "Diocese bankruptcy: Matano says it was 'a very difficult and painful decision'". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Sr. Roberta Tierney; directed education - Catholic Courier". Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  7. ^ "New schools head brings fresh ideas - Catholic Courier". Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  8. ^ a b Cullivan, Rob (May 28, 1992). "Schools superintendent to stress long view" (PDF). Catholic Courier. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "New schools head brings fresh ideas - Catholic Courier". Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  10. ^ "DOR Catholic: Update on Sister Janice Morgan". DOR Catholic. 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Discover Our Schools". Catholic Schools Diocese of Rochester. Rochester, New York: Diocese of Rochester. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  13. ^ "As Bishop Announces Closures, Catholic High Schools Plan to Expand", Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, 2008-01-19, ISSN 1088-5153, archived from the original on 2008, retrieved 2013-01-02
  14. ^ "Villa of Hope History". Organization website. Rochester, New York: Villa of Hope. 2020. Retrieved 2020-02-28.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 43°09′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139