Mass celebrated for the first time in Newport, Rhode Island.
Restrictive franchise against Catholics revoked by act of the assembly.
December 8:First Mass celebrated in Providence.
In November, the Sacrament of Confirmation was administered in Bristol
by Bishop Cheverus of Boston, when Marie Therese Maurice received this Sacrament.
Providence became a station to be visited at regular intervals and Mass
was celebrated in an old wooden schoolhouse on Sheldon Street, near Benefit.
The building was blown down in the great gale of 1815.
Parish of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence was established.
March 17, Rt. Rev. William Tyler, D.D., consecrated first Bishop of
Hartford with residence at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Providence, Rhode
April 11: Consecration of the "old" SS. Peter and Paul church,
Providence as a Cathedral following completion of additional wings.
June 18: Bishop Tyler dies.
November 10: Rt Rev. Bernard O'Reilly consecrated second Bishop of Hartford
with residence in Providence, Rhode Island.
Bishop O'Reilly brings the Sisters of Mercy into the diocese to staff
the Cathedral School.
January: Bishop O'Reilly perished at sea while returning to Providence
March 14: Rt. Rev. Francis P. McFarland consecrated third Bishop of
Hartford with residence in Providence, Rhode Island.
February 16: Providence established as a diocese comprising the state
of Rhode Island and the Massachusetts counties of Bristol, Barnstable, Dukes
and Nantucket. Rt. Rev. Thomas F. Hendricken, D.D. was consecrated first
Bishop of Providence.
Cornerstone laid for present Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
June 11: Bishop Hendricken dies. His Funeral Mass is the first Mass
celebrated in the unfinished Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
Rt. Rev. Matthew Harkins, D.D., consecrated as the second Bishop of
Consecration of present Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
Present boundaries of Diocese set when Diocese of Fall River was created
from Massachusetts counties and towns formerly located in the Diocese of
April 28: Bishop Thomas F. Doran, D.D., named Auxiliary Bishop to Bishop
Matthew Harkins, D.D. Died January 3, 1916.
October 23: Bishop Dennis M. Lowney, D.D., named Auxiliary Bishop to
Bishop Matthew Harkins, D.D. Died August 13, 1918.
May 23: Bishop Harkins dies. Bishop William A. Hickey, D.D., becomes
the third Bishop of Providence.
October 4: Bishop Hickey dies
Bishop Francis P. Keough, D.D., consecrated as the fourth Bishop of
Bishop Francis P. Keough, D.D., elevated to archbishop of the Archdiocese
July 14: Bishop Russell J. McVinney, D.D., consecrated the fifth Bishop
Providence included in establishment of the Hartford Province along
with the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Dioceses of Norwich and Bridgeport.
May 11: Bishop Thomas F. Maloney, D.D., named Auxiliary Bishop to Bishop
Russell J. McVinney, D.D.
September 10: Bishop Thomas F. Maloney dies.
January 30: Bishop Bernard M. Kelly, D.D., J.C.D., consecrated as Auxiliary
Bishop to Bishop Russell J. McVinney, D.D. Resigned: June 12, 1971.
August 10: Bishop Russell J. McVinney dies.
January 26: Bishop Louis E. Gelineau, D.D., consecrated the sixth Bishop
October 7: Bishop Kenneth A. Angell, D.D., consecrated as Auxiliary
Bishop to Bishop Louis E. Gelineau, D.D.
October 6: Auxiliary Bishop Kenneth A. Angell, D.D., named Bishop of
February 7: Bishop Robert E. Mulvee, D.D., J.C.D., named Coadjutor Bishop
Diocese celebrates 125th anniversary; Bishop Louis E. Gelineau celebrates
25th year of episcopal ordination.
The Diocese of Providence
A history: 1872-1997
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Bishop Russell J. McVinney and
the growth of the diocese
In December, 1947, Bishop Francis P. Keough was appointed Archbishop
of Baltimore. Msgr. Peter E. Blessing again served as administrator of the
diocese until it was announced in June that Father Russell J. McVinney,
a native Rhode Islander and the priest whom Bishop Keough had appointed
as rector of Our Lady of Providence Seminary, had been chosen to be the
fifth Bishop of Providence.
Bishop McVinney was born in Warren, on Nov. 25, 1898, and baptized in
St. Mary of the Bay in December. Shortly after he was born, the McVinney
family moved to the then sparsely settled but growing Mount Pleasant section
of Providence. Because his parish church in Providence, Blessed Sacrament,
did not have a parish school, Bishop McVinney attended the local public
schools. Like so many other young people in Mount Pleasant in the early
part of the century, he also attended Father Simmons' School of Religion
as Blessed Sacrament's religious education program was called. After grammar
school, he enrolled at La Salle Academy and graduated from there in 1916.
He continued his education at St. Charles Seminary, Catonsville, Md., the
Grand Seminary in Montreal, and St. Bernard Seminary, Rochester, N.Y. When
the American College in Louvain, Belgium, was reopened after World War I,
he was sent to Europe and was ordained in Louvain on July 18, 1924.
After a short, temporary assignment at the Cathedral, Father McVinney
was appointed assistant pastor at St. Patrick's, Harrisville, where he served
until 1929, when he was appointed assistant pastor in St. Edward's, Pawtucket,
and teacher at St. Raphael's Academy. In 1935, he went to study journalism
at the University of Notre Dame, after which he was again assigned to the
Cathedral as an assistant and associate editor of The Providence Visitor.
In 1941, he took up his new duties as rector of Our Lady of Providence Seminary.
Bishop McVinney would preside over the diocese during the years of the baby
boom and the growth of new suburbs around the cities of Rhode Island. In
order to provide for the growing and shifting Catholic population of the
diocese, Bishop McVinney created 28 new parishes, almost all of them in
the suburbs and rapidly growing rural areas. Because most pastors and parents
in the 1960s continued to stress the importance of a Catholic education,
Bishop McVinney also oversaw the establishment of 40 new parochial schools
and the building of many new buildings for existing schools. As the population
of school-age children expanded, both the public and private school systems
struggled to keep abreast of the need. The increasing number of schools
stretched not only the financial resources of the church, but also its personnel
resources. When the number of schools outpaced the number of vocations,
many parish schools had to resort to tuition payments for the first time
in order to pay the salaries of lay teachers.
Among the early projects Bishop McVinney undertook with Catholic Charity
Funds was the building of a new hospital for the chronically ill, Our Lady
of Fatima, in North Providence. The hospital opened in 1954 and soon expanded
into a community hospital.
As the ordinary, Bishop McVinney was not only concerned with meeting
the physical needs of his people but their spiritual needs as well. Within
the first year of his episcopacy, Bishop McVinney sought to revive the Holy
Name Societies in the diocese. They had played important roles in many parishes
in the years between the wars as the key to a spiritual revival of the whole
diocese. In October, 1949, over 51,000 men took part in a candlelight Holy
Hour at Narragansett Race Track in Pawtucket, organized by the Holy Name
Society. During the 1950-51 Holy Year, two other large public services were
held at Narragansett Park. The apostolic delegate presided at a Mass, attended
by 36,000 women and over 7,000 children on June 9, 1951. An estimated 60,000
men were present for a rosary service the following day. Later that same
year, Father Patrick Peyton preached at the Rosary Crusade held at the park
which drew large crowds and served as the kickoff for a campaign in the
parishes to secure pledges of the saying of the family rosary. Thousands
turned out once again for another outdoor rally at Narragansett Park during
the Marian Year in 1954.
The large rallies of the 1950s were complemented by the growing popularity
of the closed retreat. Individuals could make closed retreats at the Cenacle
in Newport, the Trappists in Cumberland and the Benedictines in Portsmouth.
In the 1930s, closed group retreats became very popular among the French
Canadians. In 1950, the Oblates of Mary opened Our Lady of Fatima Retreat
House in Manville to serve as a center for French-language retreats. When,
in 1939, Bishop Keough bought the Aldrich property at Warwick Neck, he envisioned
that the buildings would also be used as a retreat house during the summer.
Father Edmund Brock conducted the first closed retreat at Warwick Neck in
1950 as part of his work with the Labor Schools. In 1951, Father Brock persuaded
William J. Halloran, who was working on the retreat program, to sell to
the diocese the Hazard estate at Narragansett that he had recently purchased
for use as a retreat house. Father Brock held the first retreat at the Our
Lady of Peace Retreat Center in January, 1952. A few years earlier, on May
1, 1948, the Sisters of the Cross and Passion opened the Immaculate Heart
of Mary retreat center at Peace Dale. In 1954, Bishop McVinney dedicated
a youth retreat center to St. Dominic Savio on a donated farm, also in Peace
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