We are one body, one spirit in Christ

Who We Are

THE BUFFALO DIOCESE

Our History

The Buffalo Diocese is home to approximately 630,000 Catholics, spanning almost 6,500-square-miles and encompasses eight counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

On April 23, 1847, Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Buffalo and appointed the Very Rev. John Timon as our first bishop. At the time, the diocese covered an expansive 20 counties and had just a handful of priests to serve a rapidly growing population. Today, in eight counties, there are 163 parishes, 34 Catholic elementary schools, over 350 priests, over 500 women religious; 129 permanent deacons; and a wealth of lay leaders and committed volunteers who serve God’s people every day. The social, pastoral, and ministerial works of our diocese provide spiritual support and outreach services to more than 500,000 people in need, of all faiths and backgrounds, each year.

1825

Erie Canal opens
The construction of the Erie Canal from 1817-1825 brings an influx of immigrant workers, many of them Catholics.

1851-1855

St. Joseph Cathedral constructed
Construction of a Gothic Revival style church to serve as the seat of the diocese.

1678

Early Missionaries
Franciscan priest and explorer Father Hennepin visits Niagara Falls and offers Mass on the banks of the Niagara River.

1847

Diocese of Buffalo created
On April 23, 1847, Pope Pius IX creates the Diocese of Buffalo consisting of the 20 western most counties of New York.

1882 - 1936

Father Nelson Baker and Our Lady of Victory
Father Nelson Baker begins his ministry the church and its people, especially orphaned children; constructs Our Lady of Victory Basilica.
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About Bishop Fisher

On December 1, 2020, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Michael William Fisher, Auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo