When the news of the final suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773 reached young Fr. John Carroll in Belgium, he was crushed.
On May 18, 1789, about two dozen priests then serving in the new United States of America met at a chapel in White Marsh and had an election at which they nominated Fr. John Carroll to be the first Catholic bishop of the United States.
That fall, Pope Pius VI appointed Carroll as the nation's first Catholic bishop to lead the new Baltimore diocese, which at that time encompassed the Catholic community living in all 13 original states.
You've probably seen NCR's article about lay groups in Albany, N.Y., and Greensburg, Pa., that hope to have input on the search for their bishop. U.S. Catholic is hosting a "Sounding Board" survey asking the question: Should laypeople have a role in choosing their bishop?