The Diocese of Brooklyn celebrated its 150th anniversary by toasting its immigrants community who organized the diocese and continue to allow it to thrive today.
The diocese started in the 19th century with a handful of Catholics – Irish immigrants, officials believe – who tired of crossing the East River to attend mass.
Brooklyn native and retired archbishop of Philadelphia Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua presided at the anniversary mass, attended by more than 1,000 worshipers at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
"The Diocese of Brooklyn has always been the Church of immigrants," he said in his homily. "The diversity and races and peoples from other lands, within the geographic confines of the diocese of Brooklyn is undoubtedly the largest."
The diocese includes 217 parishes and 1.8 million Catholics from 175 countries. Masses are offered in the people’s national languages, including Italian, Chinese and Polish.