The Diocese of Paterson is a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, which includes three counties in northern New Jersey: Passaic, Morris, and Sussex.
Before the establishment of the Diocese of Paterson, governance over the territory was exercised by the Ordinaries of Newark from 1853-1937, the Ordinaries of New York from 1808-1853 and the Ordinaries of Baltimore from 1789-1808.
The city of Paterson, third-largest in the state of New Jersey, was chosen as the see city, even though the vast majority of diocesan territory lies west of Paterson. The diocese is a part of Region III of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The diocese was established by Pope Pius XI on December 9, 1937, the same day that the Dioceses of Camden, New Jersey and Owensboro, Kentucky were established. The new Diocese of Paterson was created by taking territory formerly part of the Diocese of Newark. Bishop Thomas J. Walsh, the bishop of Newark, was made the Archbishop of a newly elevated Archdiocese of Newark the next day, December 10, 1937. One week later, Walsh's auxiliary bishop Thomas H. McLaughlin was appointed as the first bishop of Paterson, and the former parish church of St. John the Baptist in Paterson was established as the Diocesan Cathedral.
As of 2014, there were 166 diocesan priests, 96 retired priests, a number of religious priests, 136 permanent deacons, 19 retired permanent deacons, 100 male religious and 400 female religious ministering in the diocese, which had a Catholic population of 450,000 out of a total (Catholic and non-Catholic) population of 1,125,000 people. At that time, the Diocese of Paterson was the 44th largest U.S. diocese in terms of population.
Because of its location in Passaic, Morris and Sussex Counties, the Diocese of Paterson contains a wide spectrum of natural landmarks. The Diocese contains the highest portion of the state of New Jersey in the Skylands Region of Sussex County, as well as the largest lake in the state (Lake Hopatcong), the Great Falls of Paterson and the Great Swamp in Morris County. As for man-made landmarks, the Diocese of Paterson contains one of the parishes claiming to be the oldest Catholic parish in the state, namely Saint Joseph Parish in West Milford. Geographically, the Diocese of Paterson is bordered by four other dioceses: The Archdiocese of Newark to the east, the Diocese of Metuchen to the south, the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania to the west and the Archdiocese of New York to the north.