The Archdiocese of Washington was established in 1939 under the care of Archbishop Michael J. Curley. Since the establishment of our archdiocese there have been many historic moments in the life of our faith community. Learn more about our history in the timeline below!
|Pope Pius XII establishes the Archdiocese of Washington, which is led by Archbishop Michael J. Curley and includes only the city of Washington.
|The Archdiocese of Washington expands to include St. Mary’s, Charles, Calvert, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland.
|New Washington Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle begins working to integrate all the Catholic schools and parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington.
|The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – the largest Catholic church in North America – is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
|Archbishop O’Boyle offers the invocation at the March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gives his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
|The Requiem Mass for John F. Kennedy, the United States’ first Catholic president, is held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.
|Cardinal O’Boyle retires and is succeeded as archbishop of Washington by Archbishop William Baum.
|During a pastoral visit to Washington, Pope John Paul II celebrates a Mass for an estimated 175,000 people on the National Mall.
|Cleveland Bishop James Hickey is named the archbishop of Washington.
|The Archdiocese of Washington adopts the Child Protection Policy, one of the first in the nation.
|Pope Benedict XVI appoints Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh as the new archbishop of Washington.
|Pope Benedict’s XVI’s pastoral visit to Washington includes a Papal Mass for more than 50,000 at the new National’s Park.
|Cardinal Wuerl dedicates the Blessed John Paul II Seminary for the Archdiocese of Washington, a new home for seminarians studying at the nearby Catholic University of America.
|Cardinal Wuerl issues a pastoral letter, “Manifesting the Kingdom.”
|Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, celebrated a special Mass for the 75th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Washington at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on September 21, 2014.
|Cardinal Wuerl issues a pastoral letter, “Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge.”
|In September 2015, Pope Francis made an apostolic visit to the United States, which included stops in Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.
|Cardinal Wuerl issues the pastoral letter, “The Challenge of Racism Today.”
|The new Trinity Dome, the central and largest dome of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is completed and dedicated.
|Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory is installed in May as the seventh archbishop of Washington.
|Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory is elevated to the College of Cardinals, becoming the first African American cardinal.
|The archdiocesan Laudato Si’ Action Plan is released, outlining a framework for working toward an integral ecology that is reflected in the lives of the faithful and in parishes and parish schools.