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Chatham

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DIOCESE OF CHATHAM (CHATHAMENSIS)

The Diocese of Chatham comprises the northern half of the Province of New Brunswick, Canada, i.e., the counties of Gloucester, Madawaska, Northumberland, Restigouche, Victoria, and the part of Kent north of the Richibucto River. This territory formerly belonged to the Diocese of St. John, itself originally a portion of the Diocese of Quebec. On 8 May, 1860, the Diocese of St. John was divided, and the present Diocese of Chatham created. The Rev. James Rogers was appointed the first bishop and consecrated 15 August in the same year. On his arrival at Chatham, Bishop Rogers found only seven priests to attend an immense stretch of country. During his episcopate of forty-two years a wonderful improvement was witnessed, and when he resigned, 7 August, 1902, he left a diocese of 47 parishes and 51 priests. He died 22 March, 1903. On the resignation of Bishop Rogers, the Rev. Thomas Francis Barry, consecrated titular Bishop of Thugga and Coadjutor of Chatham, on 7 August, 1902, succeeded to the See of Chatham. The steady march of development, facility of communication, and immigration, require the formation of new parishes each year; there are now in the diocese 57 churches with resident priests and 25 missions with churches. The Catholic population is about 66,000; a large percentage of which is French Acadian by descent and language. The secular clergy number 65 priests, with 5 theological students, and the regular 31 priests and 7 brothers. Sisters, numbering about 200, of several religious congregations, are in charge of various institutions. There are 8 parochial schools with about 1000 pupils, one classical college (at Caraquet) for boys, directed by the Eudist Fathers, with 130 pupils, and 3 schools taught by Sisters under the Government School Law, with about 400 pupils. Two orphan asylums support 100 orphans, and 4 hospitals are directed by the Hospital Sisters of St. Joseph, among them the government hospital for lepers at Tracadie. The Trappist Fathers and the Trappistine Sisters, expelled from France, have opened monasteries in the parish of Rogersville.

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