About the Diocese of Brooklyn


“The interaction of disparate cultures, the vehemence of the ideals that led the immigrants here, the opportunity offered by a new life, all gave America a flavor and a character that make it as unmistakable and as remarkable to people today as it was to Alexis de Tocqueville in the early part of the nineteenth century.”

– John F. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants

This quote aptly captures the history and essence of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. Founded in 1853, the Diocese of Brooklyn sought to address the needs of the more than five million Irish Catholic immigrants who, tired and poor, arrived at the port of New York in search of a better life, many of whom settled in Brooklyn and Queens. Today, the Diocese of Brooklyn continues its vibrant and diverse history, home again to an immigrant population, this time driven by Hispanics.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn serves the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. It is presided by the eighth and current Bishop of Brooklyn, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan.

The boroughs’ combined population stands at more than 4.9 million, of which 1.3 million identify themselves as Catholics. The diocesan cathedral is the Cathedral Basilica of St. James in downtown Brooklyn. The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights was elevated in February 2013 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and was dedicated on May 13, 2014, by Bishop DiMarzio. The faces of the people in the pews of St. Joseph’s reflect the diversity of the many cultures that call the Diocese of Brooklyn home. It is also among the largest churches in Brooklyn and Queens.

Due to its multicultural and diverse populations, Masses are regularly held in 26 different languages across the Diocese, throughout 175 parishes in over 200 churches. Its 26 ethnic ministries promote cultural events and provide an opportunity for immigrants to belong to the larger community while preserving and sharing their uniqueness and traditions.

Within its borders is the seventh-largest Catholic school network in the United States, with 69 elementary schools and academies that educate 17,981 students.

The Diocesan Statistical Overview from December 2023 reported the celebration of 9,880 Baptisms, 7,488 First Communions, 7,364 Confirmations, and 1,254 Catholic Marriages annually.