Diocese of Charleston
The Diocese of Charleston was established by Pope Pius VII on July 11, 1820. The original territory encompassed North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, formally under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Baltimore.
On September 21, 1820, in a parish in Cork, Ireland, John England was consecrated as the first Bishop of Charleston. His fledgling flock of poor immigrant Catholics had 2 churches and 6 priests.
In its first 200 years, the Diocese of Charleston has been served by 12 subsequent Bishops:
John England (1820-1842)
Ignatius A. Reynolds (1843-1855)
Patrick N. Lynch (1857-1882)
Henry P. Northrop (1883-1916)
William Thomas Russell (1916-1927)
Emmet M. Walsh (1927-1949)
John J. Russell (1950-1958)
Paul John Hallinan (1958-1962)
Francis Frederick Reh (1962-1964)
Ernest Leo Unterkoefler (1964-1990)
David B. Thompson (1990-1999)
Robert J. Baker (1999-2007)
Robert E. Guglielmone (2009–2022)
Jacques E. Fabres (2022– )
Today the Diocese of Charleston serves an estimated half million Catholic residents of South Carolina. There are 93 parishes, 20 missions, and 33 diocesan schools. The diocese is served by dozens of ordained priests and deacons, in addition to vowed religious brothers and sisters, lay employees, and volunteers.
Bishop-elect of Charleston
Rev. Jacques E. Fabre, C.S.
Bishop-elect Fabre was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As a high school student, he immigrated to New York City, and he completed his education in the United States, Canada, and Rome. In 1986, he was ordained to the priesthood in Brooklyn, New York, for the Community of Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians). On behalf of the Scalabrinians, he has served in parishes and missions in Florida, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Georgia, including most recently, the San Felipe de Jesús Mission in Forest Park, Georgia.
For more information, read the Bishop-elect's full bio.
Apostolic Administrator of Charleston
Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, D.D.
Bishop Gugliemone was ordained to the priesthood in 1978 by Bishop John McGann of the Diocese of Rockville Centre (NY). He served at various parishes in the Long Island region, aImmaculate Conception Seminary, and St. Agnes Cathedral. He also served the Rockville Centre diocese as Vicar for Clergy.
Bishop Guglielmone was involved with the Boyscouts of America for many years, as a chaplain and a Church liason. In 2012, he received the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest award given by the Boy Scouts of America National Council, for his distinguished service to youth.
Bishop Guglielmone was ordained as Bishop of Charleston on March 25, 2009. His resignation from pastoral governance of the Diocese of Charleston took effect on February 22, 2022. His term as Apostolic Administrator ends when his successor is ordained and installed on April 29, 2022.
More about Bishop Guglielmone.
The Holy Father
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina was elected Supreme Pontiff on March 13, 2013. He chose the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the poor.
Pope Francis is the son of Italian immigrants. Trained as a chemical technician, he entered the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto, and in 1958, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He received graduate degrees in philosophy and theology. He served as Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, Rector of the Colegio de San José, a parish priest, a spiritual director and confessor for the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba, titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and President of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference. He was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
Pope Francis chose the motto: Miserando atque eligendo, a phrase from the following passage of a homily of St. Bede:
Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me’.
The phrase recalls the loving presence of God, who called the Holy Father to religious life, and to follow the example of St Ignatius of Loyola.
During his pontificate, Pope Francis has traveled far and wide spreading the Gospel and celebrating the Eucharist. He has issued numerous papal documents, including: The Joy of the Gospel, On Care for Our Common Home, On Love in the Family, and Rejoice and Be Glad.
More about Pope Francis.