- First Provincial Council of New Orleans in a 1856 letter to the Propagation of Faith in Europe
Until the late 1700's, no dioceses had been established in what is now the United States. It was simply a large mission territory.
In 1788, Rome gave permission for the establishment of a diocese that would extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and from Canada to Florida, an area of about 890,000 square miles. Rome directed that the priests choose the city in which this diocese would be based, and conduct an election to choose the bishop. The priests voted to base the diocese in Baltimore, and chose Fr. John Carroll as their bishop. Rome confirmed these decisions on November 6, 1789.
To help with pastoral and evangelical work, the Society of the Propagation of Faith made the U.S. Church one of its first and largest beneficiaries of charitable aid from the rest of the world. In 1822, two-thirds of the Propagation of Faith's collection went to support the U.s. Diocese of Louisiana (which included the Florida Keys to Canada) and to the missions of Kentucky. The other third went to China.
But the U.S. Church soon set up mission offices and began contributing to the Church's worldwide mission efforts in 1833. Its first contribution: $6.
The United States remained officially a mission territory until 1908, when it became "mission independent" and was removed from dependence on the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.
Currently, United States dioceses are the greatest financial contributors to the "mission" of the universal Catholic Church.
- Little Burgundy Book, Diocese of Saginaw