Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington

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Diocese of Wilmington

Dioecesis Wilmingtoniensis
Cathedral of Saint Peter - Wilmington, Delaware 01.jpg
Cathedral of St. Peter
Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.svg
Coat of arms
Country United States
Territory Delaware
Maryland The nine counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland: Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester
Ecclesiastical provinceBaltimore
Area5,375 km2 (2,075 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2014)
240,338 (17.6%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedMarch 3, 1868 (154 years ago)
CathedralCathedral of Saint Peter
Patron saintSt. Francis de Sales
Current leadership
BishopWilliam Edward Koenig
Metropolitan ArchbishopWilliam E. Lori
Bishops emeritusWilliam Francis Malooly
Diocese of Wilmington.jpg

The Diocese of Wilmington (Latin: Dioecesis Wilmingtoniensis) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in the eastern United States and comprises the entire state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland (i.e. the parts of the Delmarva Peninsula not in Virginia: the nine Maryland counties included here are Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester). The Diocese of Wilmington is one of four Catholic dioceses in the United States to have territory in more than one federal entity; the Diocese of Gallup and the Diocese of Norwich each span two states while the Archdiocese of Washington spans Washington, D.C. and five counties of Maryland.[citation needed]

On Thursday, April 30, 2021, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop William Francis Malooly and appointed William Edward Koenig as his successor.[1]


Rev. Patrick Kenney established the first Roman Catholic mission in Delaware was in 1804 on the site of the Coffee Run Cemetery in Mill Creek, Delaware. The Coffee Run Mission Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[2][a][3]

On 3 March 1868, Pope Pius IX erected the Diocese of Wilmington with territory consisting of the state of Delaware taken from the Diocese of Philadelphia, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Accomack and Northampton counties on the Eastern Shore of Virginia taken from the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The pope designated the new diocese, which encompassed the entire Delmarva Peninsula, as a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore.

On 28 May 1974, Pope Paul VI transferred both counties in Virginia to the Diocese of Richmond, establishing the present territory of the diocese, consisting of the entire state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Sexual abuse cases[edit]

In 2009, the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of financial liabilities from lawsuits regarding sexual abuse by priests.[4] In 2011, 150 victims received an average of $310,000 each, totaling $77.425 million. Defendants in the cases were not identified.[5]


Bishops of Wilmington[edit]

  1. Thomas Albert Andrew Becker (1868–1886), appointed Bishop of Savannah
  2. Alfred Allen Paul Curtis (1886–1896)
  3. John James Joseph Monaghan (1897–1925)
  4. Edmond John Fitzmaurice (1925–1960), appointed Archbishop ad personam upon retirement in 1960
    - Hubert James Cartwright (coadjutor bishop 1956–1958); died before succession
  5. Michael William Hyle (1960–1967; coadjutor bishop 1958–1960)
  6. Thomas Joseph Mardaga (1968–1984)
  7. Robert Edward Mulvee (1985–1995), appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Providence and later succeeded to that see
  8. Michael Angelo Saltarelli (1995–2008)
  9. William Francis Malooly (2008–2021)
  10. William Edward Koenig (2021-present)

Other priests of the diocese who became bishops[edit]


High schools[edit]

Closed schools[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The title of the on-line article differs from the title of the article as it appeared in print
  1. ^ "Welcome Bishop - Diocese of Wilmington". Wilmington, DE: Diocese of Wilmington.
  2. ^ Tangel, Andrew (December 1, 2005). "Death knell may sound for historic farm buildings". The News Journal. pp. B1, B2. Archived from the original on February 22, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2006.
  3. ^ "Coffee Run Mission Site (added 1973 - New Castle County - #73000509)". National Register of Historic Places.
  4. ^ Urbina, Ian (October 19, 2009), "Delaware Diocese Files for Bankruptcy in Wake of Abuse Suits", The New York Times, retrieved May 15, 2011
  5. ^ Rowe, Peter (September 10, 2017). "Largest sexual abuse settlements by Roman Catholic institutions in the U.S." The San Diego Union-Tribune.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°44′34.7″N 75°33′11.56″W / 39.742972°N 75.5532111°W / 39.742972; -75.5532111