The Diocese of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands (Latin: Diœcesis Sancti Thomae in Insulis Virgineis) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church for the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is the only suffragan diocese in the ecclesiastical province of the metropolitan Archdiocese of Washington.
Diocese of Saint Thomas in Virgin Islands
Diœcesis Sancti Thomae in Insulis Virgineis
|Territory||Saint Thomas, Saint Croix and Saint John in the United States Virgin Islands|
|Area||135 km2 (52 sq mi)|
|(as of 2010)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||April 30, 1960 (63 years ago)|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul|
|Patron saint||Saints Peter and Paul|
|Vicar General||Andrea Filippucci|
|Bishops emeritus||Herbert A. Bevard|
The U.S. Virgin Islands of Saint Thomas, Saint Croix and Saint John
The mother church of the diocese is Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Thomas. The bishop of St. Thomas belongs to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is an observer with the Antilles Episcopal Conference. As of 2023 – the bishop of St. Thomas is Jerome Feudjio
1700 to 1960 Edit
By 1733, the present day US and British Virgin Islands were a colony of Denmark, but were under the Catholic jurisdiction of the Diocese of San Juan in Puerto Rico, a Spanish colony. The first catholic church in the Virgin Islands was Holy Cross Catholic Church in Christiansted on the island of St. Croix, opening in 1755. On the island of St. Thomas, the first Catholic building opened in 1802 in Charlotte Amalie.
The Vatican in 1804 asked Bishop John Carroll from the Diocese of Baltimore in the United States to send priests to the Virgin Islands. These priests tended to Spanish merchants and French planters living there. The current Saints Peter and Paul church in Charlotte Amalie was constructed in 1848. In 1917, during World War I, the Government of Denmark sold the islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas to the United States.
1960 to 1993 Edit
Pope Paul VI erected the Territorial Prelature of the Virgin Islands in 1960, taking the Virgin Islands from the Diocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico. He named Edward John Harper of the Diocese of Brooklyn as the apostolic prefect. In 1977, Paul VI elevated the prefecture to the Diocese of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands, naming Harper as its first bishop.
Pope John Paul II in 1984 appointed Seán Patrick O'Malley from Washington as coadjutor bishop in St. Thomas to assist Harper. After 25 years of service, Harper retired in 1985. O'Malley automatically succeeded him as the next bishop of St. Thomas. While bishop, O'Malley worked with the homeless and opened a home for people with HIV/AIDS. In 1992, O'Malley became bishop of the Diocese of Fall River.
1993 to present Edit
The next bishop of St. Thomas was Elliot Thomas, appointed by John Paul II in 1993. Auxiliary Bishop George V. Murry from the Archdiocese of Chicago was appointed as coadjutor bishop by John Paul II in 1998. When Thomas retired in 1999, Murry replaced him. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Murry as bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown.
To replace Murry, Benedict XVI named Herbert Bevard from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2008. A health emergency forced Bevard to retire as bishop in 2020. Pope Francis then named Jerome Feudjio in 2021 as the new bishop.
As of 2023, Feudjio is the current bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
Apostolic Prefect of the Virgin Islands Edit
Edward John Harper (1960–1977)
Bishops of Saint Thomas Edit
- Edward John Harper (1977–1985)
- Seán Patrick O'Malley (1985–1992), appointed Bishop of Fall River and later Bishop of Palm Beach, Archbishop of Boston, and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (elevated to Cardinal in 2006)
- Elliot Griffin Thomas (1993–1999)
- George Murry (1999–2007), appointed Bishop of Youngstown
- Herbert Bevard (2008–2020)
- Jerome Feudjio (2021–present)
Coadjutor Bishops Edit
- Seán Patrick O'Malley (1984–1985)
- George Murry (1998–1999)
Other diocesan priest who became bishop Edit
Adalberto Martínez Flores (priest here, 1985–1993), appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Asunción, Paraguay in 1997
High schools Edit
See also Edit
- Catholic Church by country
- Catholic Church in the United States
- Ecclesiastical Province of Washington
- Global organisation of the Catholic Church
- List of Roman Catholic archdioceses (by country and continent)
- List of Roman Catholic dioceses (alphabetical) (including archdioceses)
- List of Roman Catholic dioceses (structured view) (including archdioceses)
- List of the Catholic dioceses of the United States
- "Historic Churches". St. Croix Landmarks Society. Retrieved 2023-05-26.
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- Sheehan, Pete (June 5, 2020). "Retired Bishop George Murry dies after two-year battle with leukemia". Crux. Catholic News Service. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
- "Bishop George Vance Murry". Kansas City: Catholic-Hierarchy.org. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
- "Bishop Herbert Armstrong Bevard [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved 2022-01-17.
- "Diocese of Saint Thomas". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- "Diocese of Saint Thomas". Gcatholic. Retrieved 2014-04-14.