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, a champion of immigrant rights.
The boroughs’ combined population stands at more than 4.9 million, of which 1.5 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 33 different languages across the Diocese, throughout 177 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 70 elementary schools and academies that educate 19,174 students.
The Diocesan Statistical Overview from January 2021 reported the celebration of 7,199 Baptisms, 5,507 First Communions, 6,115 Confirmations, and 1,021 Catholic Marriages annually. The Diocese average weekly attendance of almost 230,000 faithful throughout 1,000 weekly Sunday Mass said in Brooklyn and Queens.