Past Bishops

The Diocese of Charlotte has grown under the leadership of four bishops since our founding in 1972 – with rapid multicultural growth a hallmark during the tenure of each. With different styles and passions, each bishop has brought a unique vision, deep love for the Lord, and pastoral care for the people, priests and parishes that share Christ’s love across western North Carolina. Read more about Bishops Peter J. Jugis, William G. Curlin, John F. Donoghue and Michael J. Begley:

Most Rev. Peter J. Jugis

Espiscopal Motto:
Caritas Christi Urget Nos (The Love of Christ Impels Us)
October 24, 2003 - April 9, 2024
  • Guided the diocese through unprecedented growth among Catholics and communities across western North Carolina.
  • Established the annual Eucharistic Congress in 2005, which now draws more than 10,000 people to Charlotte each fall to celebrate our Catholic faith.
  • Founded St. Joseph College Seminary in 2016 to form priests for the diocese from among the parishes they will one day serve. In 2020, he opened a permanent home for the seminary program in Mount Holly, with capacity for 40 seminarians and room to grow.
  • Led the diocese through the aftermath of abuse revelations, installing robust safety protocols and embracing the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
  • Fostered diversity and inclusion of Catholics from all backgrounds and cultures, especially Spanish-speaking Catholics, as well as welcomed and supported communities of other Catholic rites in the universal Church.
  • Enhanced diocesan ministries, services and administration through successful fundraising including the unprecedented “Forward in Faith, Hope and Love” campaign that received $54 million from generous parishioners and other donors.
  • Led the diocese through the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2022, harnessing technology to minister to people at home, while also carrying on safe in-person worship, education and charitable work.
  • In 2022 led the diocesan-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Charlotte with the theme “Faith More Precious Than Gold.”
  • Since the start of his episcopacy in 2003, has issued calls to holy orders for the ordinations of 57 new priests and 65 permanent deacons for service in the Diocese of Charlotte.
  • From 2004 to 2022, canonically established six new parishes in the Diocese of Charlotte, elevating former mission churches and centers to parish status.

Most Rev. William G. Curlin

Espiscopal Motto:
Sentire Cum Christo (To Think With Christ)
April 13, 1994 - September 10, 2002
  • Published the 1997 pastoral letter “Of One Heart and One Mind” with Raleigh Bishop F. Joseph Gossman, highlighting disparities in economic opportunities in the state. Studied the needs and assets of the diocese’s far western region, resulting in the creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1999.
  • Opened the Bishop Begley Center for Economic Development in Murphy in 2000.
  • Founded the diocese’s housing initiative to provide affordable housing for people in need, especially senior citizens and people with disabilities.
  • Brought Mother Teresa to visit Charlotte in 1995, as part of his longtime friendship with now Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
  • Expanded pastoral outreach to the growing Hispanic Catholic community, and enhanced ministries by consolidating diocesan offices and moving them to the Pastoral Center near uptown Charlotte.
  • Demonstrated particular passion for ministry to the elderly, sick and dying.

Most Rev. John F. Donoghue

Espiscopal Motto:
To Live in Christ Jesus
December 18, 1984 - June 22, 1993
  • Strategically bought land across western North Carolina to accommodate growth of the Church and opened new churches to serve the growing Hispanic and Vietnamese communities.
  • Convened the first Synod of the Diocese of Charlotte (1986-1987) to help guide the Church.
  • Led an emphasis on evangelization toward inactive Catholics and people not connected with church.
  • Played a leading role in the development of the North Carolina Lutheran-Catholic Covenant signed in 1991 by the dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh and the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  • Established the Catholic News Herald in 1991, now in print, online and on social media
  • Opened the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory.

Most Rev. Michael J. Begley

Espiscopal Motto:
Diligimus Frates (We Have Loved The Brethren)
January 12, 1972 - May 12, 1984
  • Oversaw the complicated process of transferring land and parish assets from the Diocese of Raleigh and creating the first offices and agencies of the newly formed Diocese of Charlotte, as its first bishop.
  • Led 25 bishops from 13 states in issuing the 1975 pastoral letter “This Land is Home to Me,” which gained national attention for its forthright approach to addressing the problems of the people of the economically depressed Appalachian region.
  • Championed ecumenism and building bridges with other faith communities in western North Carolina.
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