Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

DIOCESE OF MONTEREY AND LOS ANGELES (MONTEREYENSIS ET ANGELORUM).

Comprises that part of the State of California which lies south of 37 deg. 5 min. N. lat. and covers an area of 80,000 square miles. It thus embraces eighteen of the twenty-one Indian missions which made California famous. Originally the whole state with the peninsula of Lower California formed the Diocese of Both Californias whose first bishop was the Rt. Rev. Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno . On his arrival in Upper California he established his residence at Santa Barbara Mission. On 1 May, 1850, the pope organized the Diocese of Monterey and named Rt. Rev. Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P. , its first bishop, but Lower California was not withdrawn from his jurisdiction until 21 Dec., 1851. In 1853 the peninsula was placed under the administration of the Metropolitan of Mexico. When on 29 July, 1853, the Archdiocese of San Francisco was erected, the boundaries of the Monterey Diocese were drawn, as they exist at present. Archbishop Alemany on 29 July, 1853, was promoted to the See of San Francisco , and on the same date Rt. Rev. Thaddeus Amat, C.M. , was appointed Bishop of Monterey. The new bishop resided at Santa Barbara, however, until 9 July, 1859, on which date the pope permitted him to remove his residence to Los Angeles, but with instructions to retain the old title.

Around the former missions and the four military garrisons in the course of time immigrants from almost every part of the world took up their abode and founded cities, but the names of the saints under whose invocation the Indian missions had been established were retained, and thus it is that so many of the towns, rivers, and mountains still bear the names of various saints. The most noted among the early missionaries were the holy and energetic Fr. Junipero Serra, the founder of the missions; Fr. Francisco Palou, his biographer and the historian of the early missionary period; Fr. Fermin de Lasuen, the wise and firm successor of Fr. Serra ; Fr. Luis Jayme, the first martyr ; Fr. Juan Crespi, one of the discoverers of San Francisco and Monterey Bays and author of a lengthy description of the expedition; Fr. Buenaventura Sitjar , author of a dictionary of the Telame language (New York, 1861); Fr. Geronimo Boscana, author of "Chinigchinig," an account of the Indian character and customs (New York, 1846); Fr. Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta, author of a dictionary of 2884 words and expressions in the Mutsun language (New York, 1862); Fr. Vincente de Sarriá, first comisario-prefecto and eminent for learning and piety ; Fr. Mariano Payeras, author of an Indian catechism ; Fr. Narciso Duran; Fr. Magin Catalá ; Fr. Francisco Dumetz ; Fr. José Señan ; Fr. Estévan Tapis; and Fr. José Maria Gonzalez Rúbio, administrator of the diocese after Bishop Diego's death. The first bishop of both Californias, Rt. Rev. Francisco García Diego y Moreno, O.F.M., was consecrated, 4 October, 1840, and died 30 April, 1846, at Santa Barbara Mission, where his remains were interred on the Epistle side of the altar. During his administration the first seminary for the education of secular priests on the western coast was opened, 4 May, 1844, at Mission Santa Inez; Fr. José Joaquin Jimeno, O.F.M., was the first rector. Very Rev. José Maria Gonzalez Rúbio, O.F.M., was administrator from 1846 to 1851 when Bishop Alemany arrived. Fr. Rúbio was later proposed for a diocese but declined the mitre. While in charge of the See of Monterey, which included both Californias, he enjoyed the privilege of administering the sacrament of Confirmation. Unable to procure priests to replace the old missionaries who were fast dying away, Fr. Rúbio in 1849 invited the Jesuit Fathers to come to California and found a college in the territory. They consented and opened their college in 1851. He was born at Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1804, and entered the Franciscan Order at Zapópan in 1824. In 1833 he arrived in California and was given charge of Mission San José. In 1842, at the request of the bishop, he removed to Santa Barbara, and lived there continuously until his death, 2 November, 1875. His remains were buried in the vaults of the mission church.

Rt. Rev. Thaddeus Amat, C.M., after his consecration at Rome, 12 March, 1854, reached California in 1855. In 1856 he called the Sisters of Charity (Vincentians) to the diocese. They founded and still conduct the orphan asylums at Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz, and an academy at Hollister. He also brought the Lazarists or Vincentian Fathers to Los Angeles where they erected St. Vincent's College. At his request the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary came from Spain to California, 30 August, 1871, and opened schools for girls at Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, and San Bernardino. In 1871 Bishop Amat laid the cornerstone for the cathedral at Los Angeles, and placed it and the diocese under the patronage of St. Vibiana (Bibiana), virgin and martyr. The building was completed and dedicated, 30 June, 1876. In 1870 he attended the Vatican Council . Owing to constant ill-health he asked for a coadjutor who was given him in the person of Rt. Rev. Francis Mora. Bishop Amat died, 12 May, 1878. His remains lie buried in the cathedral which he erected.

Rt. Rev. Francis Mora was born at Vich, Catalonia, Spain, 25 Nov., 1827; he attended the seminary of his native city; in 1855 he accompanied Bishop Amat to California, and was ordained priest at Santa Barbara, 19 March, 1856. From July of that year to the end of 1860 he was stationed at the Indian mission of San Juan Bautista, and from September, 1861, to July, 1866, he had charge of Mission San Luis Obispo. After that he resided at Los Angeles. On 20 May, 1873, Father Mora was consecrated Bishop of Mosynopolis in partibus infidelium and made coadjutor of Bishop Amat. At the death of the latter he succeeded to the See of Monterey and Los Angeles. In 1894 he asked for a coadjutor, who was appointed in the person of Rt. Rev. George Montgomery. On 1 February, 1896, Bishop Mora resigned, and when Rome, 20 June, accepted his resignation he returned to Spain. He died at Sarria, Catalonia, 3 August, 1905. During his administration the Sisters of St. Joseph and of St. Dominic were invited into the diocese to open schools. Bishop Mora was remarkable for his financial ability, and succeeded in paying off many of the important debts of the diocese, and by his careful investments left it in a splendid financial condition.

Rt. Rev. George Montgomery was born in Daviess County, Kentucky, 30 December, 1847, and was ordained priest at Baltimore, 20 December, 1879. He held the post of Chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Francisco until his consecration as titular Bishop of Tumi, 8 April, 1894, when he became coadjutor to Bishop Mora. Two years later he succeeded to the see and at once displayed remarkable energy. At this period immigrants from the eastern States began to flock to southern California in great numbers. Los Angeles more than doubled its population. New needs arose which it was the endeavour of the bishop to meet by building churches and schools, and by calling to his aid more priests and religious. In season and out of season Bishop Montgomery insisted on the necessity of educating children in Catholic schools. It was his fearless attitude which compelled the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to recognize the right of Indian parents and guardians to send their children to the schools of their choice independent of the reservation agent. Subsequently this same view was adopted by the Government, and made the rule for all the Indians in the United States. The bishop thus in every way manifested a watchful solicitude for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the diocese. His personality won friends for the Church on all sides, whilst his vigorous defence of Catholic doctrine, as well as his clean-cut, outspoken advocacy of American rights and duties, gave to the Church in southern California a great onward movement and prepared the way for Bishop Conaty's administration. In 1903 Bishop Montgomery was appointed Archbishop of Osino in partibus and made coadjutor to the Archbishop of San Francisco. He died, 10 January, 1907, sincerely lamented by all classes, especially by the poor. During his administration the following congregations of religious were received into the diocese : Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of the Holy Cross, Sisters of the Holy Names, Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of the Presentation, and the Ursuline Sisters.

Rt. Rev. Thomas James Conaty was born in Kilnaleck, County Cavan, Ireland, 1 August, 1847, and came to America with his parents in 1850. He attended the home schools of Taunton, Massachusetts, graduated from Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1869, was ordained priest at Montreal Seminary, 21 December, 1872, was made assistant at St. John's Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1 January, 1873, and pastor of the church of the Sacred Heart, Worcester, 10 January, 1880. During these years he was actively engaged in the cause of total abstinence and education. He was president of the Total Abstinence Union of America, and for several years president of the Catholic Summer School at Cliff Haven. At different times he was elected to public positions of trust in the city of Worcester. On 10 January, 1897, he was appointed Rector of the Catholic University, Washington, D.C., by Leo XIII. On 1 November, 1897, he was made domestic prelate, and 14 July, 1901, named titular Bishop of Samos, and was consecrated at the cathedral, Baltimore, 21 November, 1901, by Cardinal Gibbons. On 27 March, 1903, he was appointed Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles to succeed Bishop Montgomery. The influx of immigrants from the East, especially into the city of Los Angeles, has been phenomenal. From his arrival in the latter part of 1903 to the latter part of 1910 twelve new parishes have been added to the episcopal city, and nine parish schools have been erected in various parts of the diocese for 2500 additional pupils. The number of priests has increased from 101 in 1903 to 206 in 1910, 73 of whom belong to eight different religious orders. The character of the Catholic population numbering 100,000, of whom 60,000 live in Los Angeles, is cosmopolitan. The percentage of Catholics to the inhabitants of the diocese is about one-sixth. Beside the English-speaking races, there are large colonies of Spaniards and Mexicans, Germans, Portuguese, Poles, Slavonians French, Basques, Lithuanians, and Syrians. Churches and priests are caring for the Spiritual interests of these different nationalities. One feature of the diocesan work is the care of the Indians, most of whom are descendants of the former Mission Indians. About 4000 are cared for by seven priests who devote themselves entirely or to a great extent to their spiritual needs, speaking to the young people in English and their elders in Spanish which is generally understood by the natives. Churches have been built for them at all reservations. A church and parochial residence have also been erected near the Government Indian School at Sherman, and a priest acts as chaplain for the Catholic children of that institution. The Catholic Indian Bureau maintains a large boarding school for Indian children at Banning which is in charge of the Sisters of St. Joseph. As the diocese annually receives its share of the Pious Fund of Mexico, it has been able to provide for many of the religious necessities of the Indians, but there are many demands calling for diocesan help. The rapidly growing population of the diocese impelled Bishop Conaty to call to his assistance the following additional religious orders and congregations: Benedictine Fathers for the Basques, Fathers of the Society of the Divine Saviour for the Poles, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Mexicans, Jesuit Fathers, Redemptorist Fathers, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Little Sisters of the Poor , Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart (Italian), and Sisters of St. Francis.

STATISTICS

Besides the items already mentioned above, there are 166 churches and chapels, 43 stations without churches, 33 ecclesiastical students, 1 seminary for Franciscan Fathers, 2 colleges for young men with 407 students, 1 college and 16 academies for girls and young ladies, 29 parochial schools with (including the pupils of the academies) 5424 children, 9 orphan asylums with 1048 inmates, 1 Catholic Indian boarding school with 118 pupils, 2 Government Indian schools with 355 Catholic pupils, 5 hospitals and 3 homes for the aged. A new cathedral is contemplated which will be worthy of the city of Los Angeles.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter