Columnist Bob Marcotte has a piece in today's D&C on people important in the growth of Rochester. Among his choices is our first Catholic bishop.
Bishop Bernard McQuaid, as in the Catholic high school, was the first bishop of the Diocese of Rochester, from 1868 to 1909. During his tenure, the diocese increased from 35 parishes and 29 mission churches to 93 parishes and 36 missions. The number of Catholics in the diocese more than doubled, to 121,000, including such diverse ethnic groups as Irish, Germans, Poles, Italians and others. McQuaid managed to keep the diocese united. More than 50 parish schools were established as well as St. Bernard's Seminary. He "left a good foundation and a sound establishment," notes the diocese.
Today, while DOR claims some 340,000 Catholics, only about 84,000 are at Mass on any given weekend. The total number of parishes and mission churches is the same (129) but is certain to fall in the not too distant future. Finally, the number of elementary schools is now in the teens and St. Bernard's Seminary is but a distant memory.
It sure looks like we've squandered that good foundation and sound establishment.