About the Diocese
1900-1920 Continued Expansion

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When word reached the Apostolic delegate in Washington, DC that Bishop Mullen had suffered a debilitating stroke, the Very Reverend John E. Fitzmaurice, the rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Bishop John E. FitzmauricePhiladelphia was appointed to the Erie See in 1898. One year later, with the official resignation of Bishop Mullen he became the fourth Bishop of Erie. During his twenty-one year tenure (1899-1920), he first installed the bells in the tower of the Cathedral, larger marble altars and eventually the complete interior decoration of the principal church in the diocese. The cathedral was consecrated on May 17, 1911 with the Most Rev. Diomede Falcanio, the Apostolic Delegate presiding.

The diocese also continued to expand with the establishment of several new parishes especially for the recent immigrants from eastern and southern Europe. A new rectory on Tenth Street was purchased for the Cathedral, a large addition was made to the Orphanage, and the first annex erected at Villa Maria Convent in Erie. The Rev. H. C. Wienker was appointed the first Diocesan Superintendent of Schools. This zealous priest also purchased a farm for $15,000 at Harborcreek and formally opened a Catholic Boys' Home which has also been known as Harborcreek Training School for Boys and is now Harborcreek Youth Services, operating under Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Erie. The Sisters of St. Joseph patiently and gently staffed the institution for more than six decades when they were compelled to abandon their care in 1977 because of a notable decrease in the numbers of their community.

A new hospital in DuBois was opened by the Sisters of Mercy.

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