Skip to main content

Archdiocesan History

The Diocese of Newark was first established in 1853 through a Papal Brief of Pope Pius IX to include all of New Jersey.

Until this time, northern New Jersey had been a part of the Archdiocese of New York and southern New Jersey was a part of the Diocese of Philadelphia. The first parish in Newark, St. John’s on Mulberry Street, was established in 1828. The first Ordinary of the Diocese of Newark was Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, a nephew of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. He established both Immaculate Conception Seminary and Seton Hall College in 1856, naming the college in honor of his aunt.

The first division of the Diocese was in 1881 when the Diocese of Trenton was created to serve the 14 counties of South and Central New Jersey. A second division came in 1937 with the creation of the Diocese of Paterson incorporating Passic, Morris, and Sussex. This established the current territory of the Archdiocese of Newark, which includes Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties.

On Dec. 10, 1937 the Diocese of Newark was elevated to the rank of Archdiocese. Archbishop Thomas J. Walsh, who had become Bishop of Newark in 1928, was installed in his new rank on April 27, 1938.
When the Diocese was founded in 1853, its seat was established at St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark. The site of the Sacred Heart Cathedral was acquired in Bishop Bayley’s time, but construction did not begin until 1899 under the third Bishop of Newark Winand M. Wigger. The Cathedral was completed in 1954 as the Archdiocese was celebrating its centennial year, and was elevated to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II when he visited there in 1995.

The Archdiocesan Archives

The Archives document the history of the archdiocese by collecting, preserving, and making available the permanent and official records of the Archdiocese of Newark, its people, parishes, offices, and institutions. The Archdiocesan Archives are located on the campus of Seton Hall University:

Archdiocesan Archives
Walsh Library, 1st floor
400 South Orange Ave.
South Orange, NJ 07079

For more information about the Archives or Archdiocese of Newark History please feel free to contact Brianna LoSardo, Archdiocesan Archivist via email at Brianna.losardo@rcan.org or by phone: 973-761-9126.