More than one in four Pennsylvanians are Catholic, making Catholicism the largest faith community in the Commonwealth. The daily influence of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania can be seen in the Catholic hospitals, soup kitchens, nursing homes and schools that serve thousands of Pennsylvanians regardless of their religious backgrounds. In addition, the Church nourishes the faith of Catholics at more than 1,000 parishes throughout Pennsylvania.
The Catholic Church is a major employer in the Commonwealth. Hospitals and nursing homes employ thousands of doctors, nurses and other health care providers. The Catholic dioceses themselves employ over 50,000 Pennsylvanians, including Catholic charities social workers and psychologists, school teachers and support staff, and ministry leaders.
Catholics have been living and worshipping in Pennsylvania since William Penn launched his
“Holy Experiment” in the 17th Century. Catholic settlers, along with Pennsylvanians of other faiths, benefitted from the Commonwealth’s protection of religious freedom.
Today, the Catholic Church continues to welcome and assist newcomers to Pennsylvania.
Catholic charities agencies help refugees and immigrants settle here in the Commonwealth. In addition to immigration services, Catholic charities agencies offer individuals and families – no matter what faith or background – behavior health, family counseling and addiction programs.
A Snapshot of Catholics in Pennsylvania
- There are approximately 3.2 million Catholics in Pennsylvania
- Catholic health care facilities serve about 3 million people of all faiths annually
- Catholic charities agencies serve more than 500,000 people of all faiths annually
- Pennsylvania has approximately 500 Catholic schools serving more than 140,000 students
- Catholic schools employ more than 12,000 teachers
- Approximately 400,000 Catholic students, who do not attend Catholic schools, are instructed in their rich faith at parishes across Pennsylvania