Celebrating the birthday of America’s First Bishop and Patriot: Archbishop John Carroll (1736-1815)


Portrait of Archbishop John Carroll located in the Georgetown University Library/ Artist: Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828)/ Wikimedia Commons


Bishop and Patriot:

Archbishop John Carroll, the first bishop in the United States, was born on this date, January 8, in 1736 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Considered to be the patriarch of American Catholicism, John Carroll was named the first bishop of this nation by Pope Pius VI in 1789.

Headquartered here in Baltimore, John Carroll later became the first U.S. Archbishop in 1808 when Pope Pius VII elevated Baltimore to the status of first U.S. archdiocese with the creation of the Dioceses of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown, Kentucky.



Archbishop Carroll was born to Eternal Life on December 3, 1815. His final resting place is in the crypt of the Baltimore Basilica, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, America’s first Catholic cathedral, which he commissioned to be built in 1806 with the design of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC.


 2009: Then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, newly installed Archbishop of New York, prayed at the resting place of Archbishop John Carroll in the crypt of Baltimore’s Basilica of the Assumption before Mass on September 17, 2009. Joining him were Cardinal William H. Keeler, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and bishops and priests serving with Catholic Relief Services. Photo: The Baltimore Basilica


Archbishop John Carroll Holy Card from Cardinal Seán’s Blog


Prayer for the Government: 

In 1791, Bishop John Carroll wrote and delivered the well-known “Prayer for the Nation,” urging American Catholics to recite this regularly with their parish communities for God’s blessings on our nation and the Church.

Prayer for Government:

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his Excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.



 Read more about Archbishop John Carroll and his impact on the American Catholic Church here.


The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland was founded in 1964 and named for the first U.S. Catholic bishop: They celebrate their 50th anniversary year in 2013-2014. Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn 


September 9, 2013: Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn 



Archbishop William E. Lori, the 15th successor to Archbishop Carroll, wore the pectoral cross of the first U.S. bishop at the Mass for Catholic Schools Week on January 30, 2013 at The John Carroll School. Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn 

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