Let us Rejoice in the Lord! Our Diocese is 150 years old!

150 CDOW logo 4cA group of 135 people from throughout the diocese participated in a 10-day pilgrimage to Annecy, France and Rome and Assisi, Italy. The journey led by Bishop Malooly, was covered by The Dialog. Click here.

Priests who participated in the Sesquicentennial Pilgrimage before the tomb of Blessed Pius IX, at the Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls, Rome, Italy. Pius IX founded the Diocese of Wilmington on March 3, 1868. (L-R) Rev. John Solomon, Rev. Glenn Evers, Rev. James Kirk, Bishop W. Francis Malooly, Rev. Msgr. Steven Hurley, Very Rev. Joseph W. McQuaide, IX

Priests who participated in the Sesquicentennial Pilgrimage before the tomb of Blessed Pius IX, at the Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls, Rome, Italy. Pius IX founded the Diocese of Wilmington on March 3, 1868. (L-R) Rev. John Solomon, Rev. Glenn Evers, Rev. James Kirk, Bishop W. Francis Malooly, Rev. Msgr. Steven Hurley, Very Rev. Joseph W. McQuaide, IX

Pilgrims from across the Diocese of Wilmington pose for a group photo in St. Peter's Square.

Pilgrims from across the Diocese of Wilmington pose for a group photo in St. Peter’s Square.

Watch highlights from the March 3, 2018 150th Anniversary Opening Mass, including Bishop Malooly’s homily and the designation of Historic Pilgrimage Churches in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore:

About two dozen priests attended the March 3, 2018 Opening Mass

About two dozen priests attended the March 3, 2018 Opening Mass

Bishop Malooly celebrated the Diocese of Wilmington’s Sesquicentennial Kick-off Mass on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Sixth and West Streets in Wilmington. Catholics from across Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore gathered Gather to pray and give thanks.  Diocese of Wilmington was founded by Blessed Pope Pius IX on March 3, 1868.

Certificates designating the nine official historic churches

Certificates designating the nine official historic churches

At the end of Mass, Bishop Malooly blessed certificates designating nine churches in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore as Official Sesquicentennial Pilgrimage Churches. Those churches are Saint Francis Xavier Shrine, “Old Bohemia”, Warwick, Maryland (1704); Saint Joseph Mission, Cordova, Maryland (1765); Saint Peter the Apostle, Queenstown, Maryland (1765); Saint Mary Star of the Sea, Golden Hill, Maryland (1767); Cathedral of Saint Peter, Wilmington, Delaware (1816); Saint Patrick, Pilottown, Maryland (1819); Saint Joseph on the Brandywine, Greenville, Delaware (1841); Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Wilmington, Delaware (1858); and Sacred Heart Oratory, Wilmington, Delaware (1874). These historic churches will be open for additional touring and worship on the first Saturdays of the month during the 150th anniversary year. Click here to download and print your Historic Churches Pilgrimage Passport. 

Additionally, a gathering of Catholics from across the diocese has been announced for November 3, 2018 at the Ocean City Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. The gathering, titled “Convocation 150,” will include a keynote presentation, breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, prayer, and Mass. The gathering will be an opportunity to celebrate, affirm, and deepen the Catholic community’s commitment to discipleship rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Other activities during the 150th anniversary year include, a pilgrimage to Annecy, France and Rome, Italy; a prayer service to honor the Religious Men and Women of the Diocese; Masses in honor of Saints John Neumann and Francis de Sales; an ecumenical prayer service for Christian unity; and a closing Mass scheduled for March 3, 2019. Throughout the 12-month period, regional celebrations will be held. A traveling exhibition, featuring artifacts and historic documents is being planned. A coffee-table style keepsake book featuring diocesan and parish history and photographs, as well as a graphic history book of the diocese, will be published in the spring. A commemorative keep-sake rosary has been commissioned and should be available around Easter.

At the request of Bishop Malooly, the Vatican Apostolic Penitentiary has granted a Plenary Indulgence with the usual conditions to those who participate in specified sesquicentennial observances. See the News Journal video:

https://www.delawareonline.com/videos/news/2018/03/29/fast-track-heaven-wilmington-diocese/33302873/

Throughout the year, detailed information about the 150th anniversary celebration will be posted on the Diocese of Wilmington’s website, www.cdow.org/150th and at www.facebook.com/cdow150th, and @CDOW150th on Twitter and Instagram. Read The Dialog article, here.

The 150th Anniversary Edition of the book, “Catholic Priests of the Diocese of Wilmington” by Fr. Tom Peterman is now available to order as a great gift for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and more. $30 includes shipping and handling. To order and pay: [email protected] or to Rev. Thomas Peterman, 2505 Centerville Road, Wilmington DE 19808. Read all about it in The Dialog.

Calendar of Events:

First Saturday of Each Month, March 2018 - March 2019 – Historic Churches Open for Tours and Worship

April 16-April 26, 2018 – Diocesan 150th Anniversary Pilgrimage to Annecy, Rome & Assisi

October 6, 2018 – Annual Marian Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace Shrine at Holy Spirit Church, New Castle, DE All Day

October 26, 2018 – 150th Anniversary Keepsake Edition of The Dialog

November 3, 2018 – Convocation 150, Ocean City Convention Center, Ocean City, MD All Day

January 4, 2019 – Evening Prayer for Religious, Cathedral of St. Peter, Wilmington, DE time TBD

January 5, 2019 – Mass in honor of the Feast of Saint John Neumann, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, Wilmington, DE time TBD

January 24, 2019 – Mass in honor of the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, St. Francis de Sales Church, Salisbury, MD time TBD

January 25, 2018 – Evening Prayer for Christian Unity, Holy Cross Church, Dover, DE – time TBD

March 3, 2019 -  Closing Mass, St. Elizabeth Church, Wilmington, DE – time TBD


The following resources can help celebrate the Sesquicentennial in your classroom or home:
Church Dot-to-Dot, The Sayings of St. Francis De Sales, Diocesan Map Activity, Do You Know our Bishops?, Parish Scramble, Saint Taboo.
Parents, catechists, educators, if you have an idea or lesson to share, email submission form to [email protected]


Father Joseph McQuaide, Chancellor of the Diocese of Wilmington and the Co-Chair of the Diocesan Sesquicentennial Committee, recently appeared on Catholic Forum, the radio program/podcast of the Office of Communications of the Diocese of Wilmington to discuss the 150th anniversary year and to give a preview to the festivities. Father McQuaide’s interview begins at the 6-minute mark of the program.

Meet Father Tom Peterman, a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington for 60 years, and a Diocesan historian. He was interviewed on a recent episode of Catholic Forum, the radio program/podcast of the Office of Communications of the Diocese of Wilmington. Father Peterman’s interview begins 7 minutes and 40 seconds into the program.

Learn about some of the historic churches in our Diocese:

St. Francis Xavier Shrine (Old Bohemia), Warwick, Maryland

Old St. Joseph’s Mission, Cordova, Maryland

Cathedral of St. Peter, Wilmington, Delaware

The historic Cathedral of St. Peter Austin Pipe Organ

Learn about the man who may be the first canonized saint from the Diocese of Wilmington

Father Paul of Graymoor