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Archdiocese established 29 July 1853 to include the Counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sonoma, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Salano, and Merced lying north of 37° 5' N. lat. in the State of California, U.S.A.; an area of 16,856 square miles. Its suffragans are: the Diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles, and the Diocese of Sacramento, in California ; and the Diocese of Salt Lake, which comprises the State of Utah and six counties of the State of Nevada ; the province including the states of California and Nevada and all the territory east to the Rio Colorado.

All California -- Lower, or Old California, and Upper, or the present state -- was originally under Spanish and Mexican jurisdiction, and later formed the Diocese of Both Californias, of which the Right Reverend Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno was the first bishop. The Franciscans who landed with Cortes at Santa Cruz Bay on 3 May, 1535 began the first mission work, under the leadership of Father Martin de la Coruna. Their labors in this field, and those of the Jesuits who followed them half a century later, are detailed in a special article devoted to that topic (see CALIFORNIA MISSIONS). Portola discovered the present San Francisco Bay 1 Nov., 1769, and as one of the chain of missions projected by Father Junipero Serra, the mission of San Francisco de Asis, called also the Mission Dolores, was founded 9 Oct., 1776 by his two Franciscan brethren Fathers Francisco Palou and Benito Cambon, both natives of Spain. Under the fostering care of the Franciscans the mission prospered without interruption for more than half a century. Then came the secularization and plunder of the California missions by the Mexican Government in 1834, and San Francisco suffered ruin with the others. The village of Yerba Buena was established on its site, and colonization invited by the civil authorities . Some outside trading was done, and a few ships entered the harbour. In the midsummer of 1846, a man-of-war took possession of the place in the name of the United States, and on 30 Jan. of the following year the name of the town Yerba Buena was changed to San Francisco. Gold was discovered in the spring of 1848, and with this came the thousands of fortune-hunters of all nations and the beginning of the city as a great centre of commerce (see CALIFORNIA).

Previous to this the Holy See had established the Diocese of Both Californias, suffragan to the Archbishop of Mexico, and appointed as its bishop, on 27 April, 1840, Father Francis Garcia Diego y Moreno , who was consecrated at Zacatecas, 4 Oct., 1840. He was born at Lagos, State of Jalisco, Mexico, 17 Sept., 1785, and joined the Franciscans at the age of seventeen. Ordained priest 13 Nov., 1808 he was successively master of novices and vicar of the monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and laboured zealously giving missions in the towns and cities of Mexico. In 1830 he was appointed Prefect of the Missions for the Conversion of the Indians in California, and set out for this new field with ten missionaries from the college of Our Lady of Guadalupe, reaching Santa Clara, where he took up his residence. The missions of Upper California were then in a very demoralized state, owing to secular and political interference and persecution. Their utter ruin was averted by the zeal of these priests until the passage of the decree of secularization by the Mexican Congress in August, 1834. The destruction that followed this was so widespread that in the summer of 1836 he went back to Mexico, and by a persistent appeal to its congress secured the repeal of the decree of secularization and an order for the restoration of the missions to the Church. Business in connection with his order detained him in Mexico for several years, and then as he was about to return to California he received notice of his appointment as bishop of the newly-created diocese which contained eighteen of the twenty-one historic California missions. Most of them were in ruins when he arrived at San Diego on 11 December, 1841, to commence the disheartening task of saving what he could of the wreck left by the plunderers of the era of secularization. By heroic effort he opened a seminary at Santa Ynez 4 May, 1844, and by word, deed, and example did everything possible to re-establish the missions, but his health failed, and returning to Santa Barbara in January, 1842 he died there 13 April, 1846.

Very Rev. José Maria Gonzalez Rubio, O.F.M., the vicar-general, was appointed administrator before the bishop died, and the choice was ratified by the Archbishop of Mexico. The condition of the diocese may be seen from the statement of the administrator made in a circular letter dated 30 May, 1848, and addressed to the people. "Day by day" he said, "we see that our circumstances grow in difficulty; that helps and resources have shrunk to almost nothing; that the hope of supplying the needed clergy is now almost extinguished; and worst of all that through lack of means and priests Divine worship throughout the whole diocese stands upon the brink of total ruin." The date of this letter is the same as that on which the Treaty of Queretar was signed, ceding California to the United States.

American Rule

When Upper California thus became part of the United States, the Mexican Government refused to permit an American bishop to exercise jurisdiction in Lower California. To meet his difficulty Pope Pius IX detached the Mexican territory from the Diocese of San Diego or Monterey, which had been erected by Pope Gregory XVI 27 April, 1840, and by decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda, 1 July, 1854, divided Upper California into the two dioceses of San Francisco and Monterey. By Brief of 29 July, San Francisco was made an archbishopric, with Monterey its suffragan see. As Bishop of San Diego or Monterey, the Reverend Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P. had been consecrated in Rome by Cardinal Fransoni 30 June, 1850. He was appointed Archbishop of San Francisco, and took possession 29 July, 1853. Before all this occurred, Father Gonzalez as administrator began to take measures to provide for the needs of the people, and in a circular appeal for aid, dated Santa Barbara, 13 June, 1849, he tells his flock that he has asked for priests from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and from the Jesuits of Oregon.

In the autumn of 1849 Father John Brouillet, then Vicar-General of Nesqually, Oregon, landed at San Francisco on a visit, and as he was the only priest in the vicinity who could speak English, the spiritual destitution of the thousands about the town trying to reach the newly-discovered gold fields touched him, and he remained there to minister to them. A few months later Father Antoine Langlois, a Canadian secular priest who had been labouring for six years in the north-west and was then on his way to Canada to enter the Society of Jesus, joined him, and by direction of his superiors also remained at San Francisco. He has left an "Ecclesiastical and Religious Journal for San Francisco" in manuscript, which is preserved at Santa Clara College, and in this he relates: "The first Mass said in the Mission established in the city of St. Francis Xavier [sic] was on June 17th, 1849, the third Sunday after Pentecost; Father Brouillet . . . was specifically charged to yield to the wishes of the people and labour towards the building of a Church and hold divine service therein. A beginning was made by the purchase of a piece of ground 25 by 50 varas, after he had called the more zealous Catholics together and opened a subscription of $5000 to pay for the lot and the building to be erected on it . . . Religion now began to be practised in spite of the natural obstacles then in its way by the thirst of gold".

Father Brouillet then returned to Oregon, and to succeed him in the mission Fathers Michael Accolti and John Nobili, S.J. reached San Francisco from Oregon 8 Dec., 1849 to establish in the diocese, in response to the invitation of the administrator, a house and college of their order either at Los Angeles or San José, the latter being at that time the chief city of Northern California. These two priests played a very prominent part in the subsequent development of the Church and Catholic education in the diocese. Father Accolti tried to obtain assistance from his brethren of the Missouri and other provinces of his order, and finally in May, 1854 succeeded in having the California mission adopted by the Province of Turin, Italy. In May, 1852 Father James Ryder, S.J., of the Maryland Province visited San Francisco and remained four months on business connected with the society. In March, 1850 two fathers of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary arrived from the Sandwich Islands, and shortly after four others of the same Congregation from Valparaiso. They were immediately invited to establish themselves in the old missions in Southern California and only one of them remained at San Francisco. This was Father Flavian Fontaine, who started a school there, as he spoke English fluently. This school failed after some time, and occasioned much trouble owing to the debts he left on the property, which were assumed by Father Nobili, who undertook to continue the school as an adjunct to Santa Clara College which he had founded near San José. The Dominicans, represented by Father Anderson, were also established. He received faculties from the administrator 17 Sept., 1850 and was appointed pastor at Sacramento, where he fell a victim to cholera early the following year. The "Catholic Directory" for 1850 has this report from California : "The number of clergymen in Northern California is about sixteen, two of whom, the Rev. John B. Brouillet and Rev. Antoine Langlois, are in the town of San Francisco, where a chapel was dedicated to Divine worship last June. The reverend clergy there have also made arrangements for the opening of a school for the instruction of children. The Catholic population is variously estimated at from fifteen to twenty thousand".

Racial differences had made some trouble which the administrator hoped the advent of the English-speaking Jesuits would help to settle. In a letter to Father Accolti from Santa Barbara on 5 March, 1850, he says: "Strangers have not been wanting, who, despising the priests of the country, have desired to build a church apart, and have it attended by priests of their own tongue. Such pretensions, though based on some specious reasons, have to some of the parish priests savoured of schism ".

Such were the conditions in the new diocese to which Bishop Alemany was appointed. He was born at Vich, Spain, 13 July, 1814, entered the Dominican Order in 1829, and in the following year, driven from Spain by government persecution, he went with a fellow novice Francis Sadoc Villarasa to Rome, where they continued their studies and were ordained priests on 27 March, 1837, at Viterbo. They applied to be sent to the Philippine mission, but were assigned instead to the United States, where Father Alemany became Provincial of St. Joseph's Province of the order. Ten years were spent in missionary work in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, during which time they learned to speak and write English fluently. After Bishop Alemany'sconsecration he remained in R+ome for a short time, and then, on his way back to his diocese, he stopped at Lyons and Paris, where he collected some gifts of much-needed church furnishings, and in Ireland, where he arranged for volunteer teachers for his schools, and priests for his people. He finally reched San Francisco on the night of 6 Dec., 1850, accompanied by Father Villarasa, O.P., and Sister Mary Goemare, a religious of the Dominican sisterhood. Father Villarasa was for forty years subsequently commissary general of the Dominicans in California, and died there in 1888. They found at San Francisco only two churches: St. Francis's, a frame building attended by those who did not speak Spanish, and the old Mission Dolores for those who did. At Monterey the bishop established the first convent of nuns in California and St. Catherine's Academy, where he and Father Villarasa taught until the arrival of Mother Louisa O'Neill and a band of nuns. The first English-speaking student to enter the priory there in 1852 was Thomas O'Neill, b. in 1832 at Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, Ireland. After his ordination he spent more than fifty years in missionary work in the houses of the Dominicans in California.

Bishop Alemany devoted much time to meeting the many difficulties which the differences of ideas and forms held by the Catholics of English-speaking countries from those reared under the Spanish system occasioned. In this he was aided by several pioneer priests, notably the Rev. John Shanahan, who, ordained at Mt. St. Mary's, Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1823, after working many years in New York had gone out to California with the gold-seekers; Rev. Eugene O'Connell, and Rev. John McGinnis. Father O'Connell was born 18 June, 1815 in Co. Meath, Ireland, and ordained priest in 1842. When Bishop Alemany visited Ireland on his way home from Rome, he persuaded Father O'Connell, who was then a professor in All Hallows College , to come out to San Francisco and direct the diocesan seminary which he opened at once at Santa Inez. The bishop attended the first Plenary Council at Baltimore in May, 1852, and he was thus able to report substantial progress in his charge, with foundations of the Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Fathers of the Sacred Hearts, Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of St. Dominic, 31 churches, 38 priests and an estimated Catholic population of 40,000. A band of Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg, Maryland arrived in August, 1852, and began their work in the schools. On 7 July, 1853 the bishop laid the cornerstone of St. Mary's Church, San Francisco, and having been notified of his elevation to the newly-created Archbishopric of San Francisco formally assumed the title 29 July, 1853. In order to obtain more priests and religious he sent Father Hugh P. Gallagher, who had gone to San Francisco from Pittsburg, Penn., to Ireland, where he succeeded in securing two bands of Presentation Nuns and Sisters of Mercy, who arrived at San Francisco 15 Nov., 1854. The Sisters of Mercy came from Kinsale, Co. Cork, and were led by the famous Mother Mary Baptist (Kate Russell) sister of Lord Russell of Killowen. After a life full of great utility, she died in Aug., 1898 at St. Mary's Hospital, San Francisco, which she founded and directed for more than forty years. Father Gallagher, who had edited a Catholic paper at Pittsburg, took up that work also in san Francisco, where he directed its first Catholic weekly, the "Catholic Standard". He was for many years rector of St. Mary's Cathedral. Among other pioneer priests should be mentioned Fathers John Ingoldsby, John Quinn, John McGinnis, Patrick Mackin, William Kenny, Richard Carroll, who was head of the Diocesan Seminary of St. Thomas Acquinas, Jame Croke, for a long period vicar-general, Peter Grey, and John Prendergast, also vicar-general.

Progress was manifest in the rural sections, churches also springing up at Sacramento, Weaverville, Marysville, Grass Valley, Stockton, Placerville, San Mateo, Dalton, and Nevada. A Chinese priest, Father Kian, was even present (1854) for the benefit of his fellow-countrymen. The titles to the old mission property were also secured by legal action. In 1858 the archbishop visited Rome and on 15 July, 1862 convened the first diocesan synod, which was attended by forty-four priests. At this the decrees of the Baltimore Council were promulgated, and rules prescribed for the administration of the diocese. The year before the increase of churches in the northern section of the diocese prompted the Holy See to establish there a Vicariate Apostolic of Marysville and the Rev. Eugene O'Connell was appointed to take charge. He was consecrated titular Bishop of Flaviopolis, and Vicar Apostolic of Marysville, 3 Feb., 1861, in All Hallows College , Dublin, Ireland. He reached Marysville 8 June, and was inducted on the following day at St. Joseph's Pro- cathedral by Archbishop Alemany. He had only four priests in his vicariate, which included the territory from 39x to 40x N. lat. and from the Pacific Coast to the eastern boundary of Nevada. In 1868 the vicariate was erected into the Diocese of Grass Valley, and Bishop O'Connell was transferred to this title 3 Feb. of that year. On 28 May, 1884, the Diocese of Sacramento (q.v.) was created out of this Grass Valley district, with the addition of ten counties in California and one in Nevada, and Bishop O'Connell ruled it until 17 March, 1884, when he resigned and was made titular Bishop of Joppa. He died at Lost Angeles 4 Dec., 1891.

The succeeding decades gave no respite to the activity and zeal of Archbishop Alemany in furthering the progress of the Church, and the weight of years and the stress of his long but willing toil began to tell on him. He asked for a coadjutor, and the Rev. Patrick William Riordan, pastor of St. James's Church, Chicago, was selected by the pope for the office. He was consecrated titular Bishop of Cabesa and coadjutor of San Francisco with right of succession, 16 Sept., 1883. Archbishop Alemany resigned the title of San Francisco 28 Dec., 1884 and retired to his native Spain, where he d. 14 April, 1888 at Valencia. When he resigned the diocese had 131 churches, 182 priests, 6 colleges, 18 academies, 5 asylums, 4 hospitals, and a Catholic population of about 220,000.

Archbishop Patrick William Riordan, who immediately succeeded him, was born 27 Aug., 1841, at Chatham, New Brunswick. His early studies were made at Notre Dame University, Indiana, whence he went to Rome as one of the twelve students who formed the first class that opened the North American College, 7 Dec., 1859. From there he went to the University of Louvain, and received the degree of S.T.D. He was ordained priest at Mechlin, Belgium, 10 June, 1865 and returning to the United States was appointed professor of theology at the Seminary of St. Mary of the Lake, Chicago. Later he served as pastor at Joliet, Illinois, and in Chicago. At the outset of his administration he made the cause of Catholic education his special endeavour. There had been two earlier attempts to carry on a diocesan seminary. One had failed for lack of teachers, the other for want of pupils. In 1884 Archbishop Riordan made an appeal for a new seminary, and Mrs. Kate Johnson gave him 80 acres of fine land at Menlo Park. Here St. Patrick's Seminary, a large and elaborate building was erected and he gave its management to the Sulpicians. In Aug., 1887 he encouraged the Religious of the Sacred Heart who had come into the diocese in 1882, to begin their academy in the city and develop it into the flourishing institute that was transferred to Menlo Park in August, 1898. The Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1889 moved their St. Mary's College from Bernal Heights to Oakland. The college was started by the Reverend James Croke, V.G., in 1863, and for five years was managed by secular priests and laymen. In 1868 seven Brothers from New York under Brother Justin took over the care of the college, which was chartered by the State in 1872. The Brothers also started their Sacred Heart College in 1878.

Archbishop Riordan brought in the Salesian Fathers to take care of the Italians in 1888, Father O. Franchi, a Genoese, being the first to arrive. In 1893 they were also given charge of the Portuguese colony in Oakland. The Paulist Congregation of New York were also invited into the diocese and given charge of Old St. Mary's Church. The archbishop took up the claim on Mexico for the arrears of the Pious Fund of the Californias due the diocese, and prosecuted it to a successful issue before the International Arbitration Tribunal at the Hague, where it was the first case tried. He was a delegate to the Hague in 1902. The English Capuchins were given charge of the scattered missions along the coast of Mendocino in August, 1903. In 1905 the archbishop presided over the golden jubilee of St. Ignatius's College and Church, which had been founded at San Francisco in 1855 by Father Anthony Maraschi, S.J.

As his health failed Archbishop Riordan requested the appointment of a coadjutor, and the Right Rev. George Montgomery, Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles, was elevated to the titular Archbishopric of Osino and made his coadjutor in January, 1903. He was born in Davies County, Kentucky, 30 Dec., 1847, and was ordained priest at Baltimore 20 Dec.,1879. He was chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Francisco when he was chosen for the See of Monterey, in which diocese his administration was most successful, especially in defending the rights of the Catholic Indians. He had just settled down as Archbishop Riordan's assistant, and that prelate had started on a tour for recuperation, when San Francisco was visited by the terrible calamity of the earthquake of 18 April, 1906, and its subsequent fire. Twelve churches were burned and their parishes absolutely wiped out of existence. In the burned district, along with the churches all the institutions, schools, asylums, hospitals, the great Jesuit church and College of St. Ignatius, and the Sacred Heart College of the Christian Brothers -- were destroyed. Four churches in the city were wrecked by the earthquake, and others, including the cathedral and St. Patrick's Seminary at Menlo Park, more or less damaged. Happily no lives of priests, religious, or of children in their care were sacrificed. Archbishop Montgomery took a prominent and very active part in the rescue work that began at once, and Archbishop Riordan returned to the city and commenced the gigantic task of restoration which was rapidly accomplished in two or three years, aided by the generosity of the Catholic congregations of the United States, who sent more than $300,000 at once to the stricken diocese ; this great exertion, however, had a debilitating effect on Archbishop Montgomery, who d. 10 Jan., 1907. (see MONTEREY AND LOS ANGELES, DIOCESE OF).

On 24 Dec., 1908 Bishop Denis J. O'Connell was appointed auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco. Bishop O'Connell was born at Donoughmore, Co. Cork, Ireland, 28 Jan., 1849, and made his studies at the American College, Rome. After his ordination he carried the decrees of the last Plenary Council of Baltimore to Rome, and returned as secretary to Bishop Conroy, ablegate to Canada. He was made a domestic prelate 20 March, 1887, and rector of the American College, Rome, after the death of Mgr. Hostlot in 1884, and held that office until July, 1895, when he resigned, and acted as the vicar of Cardinal Gibbons for his titular church, S. Maria in Trastevere, Rome. He was appointed rector of the Catholic University, Washington, in 1903; on 3 May, 1908 was consecrated titular Bishop of Sebaste ; and on 24 Dec., 1908 was appointed auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco. On 19 Jan., 1912 he was transferred from San Francisco to Richmond, Virginia, as successor to Bishop van de Vyver.


The following religious are now established in the archdiocese (1911):

Men:-- Capuchin Fathers (Province of England ), Mendocino; Ukiah. Dominican Fathers (Western Province), St. Dominic's , San Francisco; Antioch; Benicia; Martinez; Vallejo, Valona. Fathers of the Sacred Hearts (Belgium), Olema. Franciscan Fathers (St. Louis Province), St. Anthony's, St. Boniface's and Franciscan Monastery, San Francisco; St. Elizabeth's, Fruitvale; St. Turibius, Kelseyville, Lake Co. Jesuit Fathers (California Province), St. Ignatius's Church and College, San Franciscop; Los Gatos; San José; Santa Clara. Marist Fathers (American Province), Notre Dame, San Francisco. Paulist Fathers (New York), St. Mary's, San Francisco. Salesian Fathers from Turin, Italy, for the Italians, Sts. Peter and Paul, Corpus Christi Church, San Francisco; St. Joseph's Church (for the Portuguese), Oakland. Sulpician Fathers, St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park. Christian Brothers (Province of San Francisco), Sacred Heart College, St. Peter's School, San Francisco; Martinez; St. Mary's College, St. Patrick's School, San Francisco, Oakland; St. Anthony's School, East Oakland; St. Joseph's Academy, Berkeley; St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum, St. Vincent. Brothers of Mary (Eastern Province), St. James's and St. Joseph's Schools, San Francisco; Stockton; St. Joseph's School, San Francisco; Stockton; St. Joseph's Schools, San José; Agricultural School, Rutherford.

Women:-- Sisters of Charity (St. Louis, Missouri ), Orphan Asylum, Infant Asylum, Technical and St. Vincent's Schools, Mary's Help Hospital, San Francisco; O'Connor Sanitarium, San José. Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dubuque, Iowa ), St. Bridget's School, San Francisco; Petaluma. Sisters of St. Dominic (Mission San José, California ), Immaculate Conception Academy; St. Anthony's and St. Boniface's School, San Francisco; Fruitvale; Mission San José; Ukiah. Sisters of St. Dominic (San Rafael, California ), Academy, San Rafael; St. Rose's Academy, St. Dominic's and Sacred Heart Schools, San Francisco; San Leandro; Stockton; Vallejo; Academy and School, Benicia, Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Joliet, Illinois), St. Joseph's Hospital, San Francisco. Sisters of the Holy Cross (Notre Dame, Indiana ), St. Charles's School, San Francisco. Sisters of the Holy Family (San Francisco), San José; Oakland. Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (Hochelaga, Montreal, Province of Quebec ), St. Joseph's, San Francisco; Convent of the Holy Names, Immaculate Conception School, St. Francis de Sales School, Sacred Heart School, Oakland. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (Los Angeles, California ), St. Patrick's School and St. Joseph's Home, Oakland; Star of the Sea, San Francisco. Sisters of Mercy (San Francisco, California ), mother-house and St. Mary's Hospital, St. Catherine's Home, St. Peter's School, San Francisco; school and academy, East Oakland; Home for the Aged, Fruitvale. Sisters of Mercy, Rio Vista; Sausalito. Sisters of Notre Dame (San José, California ), mother-house, college, high school, institute, and 3 schools, San José; College and Mission Dolores School, San Francisco; Alameda; Redwood; Santa Clara; Saratoga. Presentation Nuns (San Francisco, California ), mother-house, cathedral school, and 2 academies, San Francisco; Berkeley; Sonoma. Sisters of Charity of xxyyyk.htm">Providence (Montreal), hospital, Oakland. Little Sisters of the Poor (Chicago, Illinois), San Francisco; Oakland. Little Sisters of the Holy Family (Sherbrooke, Canada ), St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park. Helpers of the Holy Souls (Paris, France ), San Francisco. Carmelite Sisters, San Francisco. Religious of the Sacred Heart (Chicago Province), San Francisco; Menlo Park. Ursuline Sisters (Santa Rosa, California ), Santa Rosa; St. Helena.

Archbishop, 1; secular priests, 206; priests of religious orders, 146; total, 352; churches with resident priest, 113; missions with churches, 63; total churches, 176; stations, 31; chapels, 57; seminary, 1; ecclesiastical students, 96; seminaries of religious orders, 3; colleges and academies for boys, 7; students, 340; academies for young ladies, 21; normal school, 1; females educated in higher branches, 5,000; parishes with parochial schools, 42; pupils, 17,000; orphan asylums, 4; orphans, 1,800; infant asylums, 1; inmates, 480; industrial and reform schools, 2; inmates,173; protectory for boys, 1; inmates, 90; total of young people under Catholic care, about 23,000; deaf-mute asylum, 1; hospitals, 6; homes for aged poor, 4; other charitable institutions, 2; baptisms, 7,957; deaths, 3,710; Catholic population, about 250,000.

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