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John Carroll, January 8, 1735 – December 3, 1815) was the first bishop and archbishop in the United States — serving as the ordinary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. He is also known as the founder of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic university in the United States, and the Georgetown Preparatory School, the oldest Catholic day and boarding school in the United States. John Carroll University, a Jesuit university in University Heights, Ohio; is named in his honor, as is the John Carroll School, in Bel Air, Maryland.


Carroll was born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and educated mainly at the College of St. Omer in French Flanders. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1753 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1761. Carroll remained in Europe until he was almost 40, teaching at St-Omer and Liège, and acting as chaplain to several British aristocrats traveling on the continent.

When the Society of Jesus was dissolved in 1773, Carroll made arrangements to return to Maryland, where he founded St. John the Evangelist Parish at Forest Glen (Silver Spring) in 1774. In 1776, the Continental Congress asked Carroll, his cousin Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, and Benjamin Franklin to travel to Quebec and attempt to persuade the French Canadian population to join the revolution. Although the group was unsuccessful, it made Carroll well known to the government of the new republic.

In 1783, the Jesuit Fathers, led by Carroll and five other priests, began a series of meetings at White Marsh beginning on 27 June, 1783 called the General Chapters that organized the Catholic Church in the United States on what is now the site of Sacred Heart Church in Maryland.

In 1784, based on Franklin's recommendation to the papal nuncio in Paris, Carroll was made Superior of Missions in the United States of North America, establishing a hierarchy in the United States and removing the Catholic Church in the U.S. from the authority of the Vicar Apostolic of the London District. He was appointed Bishop of Baltimore on November 6 1789, by Pope Pius VI, becoming the first bishop in the United States.

In 1791, Bishop Carroll convened the first synod of priests in the U.S. In 1806, he oversaw the construction of America's first Catholic Cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Maryland, which was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the United States Capitol. He became the first Catholic archbishop in the U.S. in 1808 when Baltimore was elevated to an archdiocese.

Carroll's remains are interred in the crypt of the Basilica of the National Shine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which can be visited by the public.

External links


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at John Carroll (bishop). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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