[map of the Bahamas] Colony of the British Empire, in the British West Indies, administered by a governor and commander-in-chief, assisted by an executive council, a legislative council, and a representative assembly; area, 4,404 square miles. The first time a Catholic priest visited the Bahamas was in 1845 when Father Duquesney sojourned six weeks at Nassau and conducted services in a private residence for a few Catholic Cubans and Haitians. In 1863 Reverend J. W. Cummings of New York, and in 1865 Reverend T. Byrne, each spent several weeks in Nassau and ministered to the settlers. Beginning in the year 1866, Reverend Dr. Nelligan of Charleston paid regular visits to the islands and they were considered part of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1883 Bishop H. P. Northrop stopped here, and at his suggestion the Bahamas were placed under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of New York. In February, 1885, Reverend C. G. O'Keeffe of New York, then in Nassau, assembled the Catholics, and on 25 August 1885, the cornerstone of the first Catholic church in the Bahamas was laid. Father O'Keeffe was in charge until 1889, and in October of that year Reverend D. P. O'Flynn arrived in Nassau with four Sisters of Charity from Mount Saint Vincent, New York and immediately erected a free school for colored pupils, and a private school. A new mission was organized at Salvador Point, Andros Island, in 1893, and in 1897 the Sacred Heart mission was founded in the eastern part of Nassau. During the first quarter of the 20th century the Catholic Church here has progressed owing to the zealous labors of the Benedictine Fathers who opened new churches, missions, and schools throughout the islands; the Bahamas belonged ecclesiastically to the Archdiocese of New York. See also:
New Catholic Dictionary

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