The Catholic Church in the United States is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome. With 20.8% of the United States population as of 2018, the Catholic Church is the country's second largest single religious group after Protestantism, but the country's largest religious denomination. The United States has the fourth largest Catholic population in the world after Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, the largest Catholic minority population, and the largest English-speaking Catholic population. The central leadership body of the Catholic Church in the United States is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Catholic Church's part of the history of the United States has its background in the European colonization of the Americas. The first Catholics arrived with the Spanish missions in the Americas with Christopher Columbus' second voyage to the New World in 1493. In the 16th and 17th centuries, they established missions in what are now Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, and later in California. In addition to the Spanish, the French in the 17th century, via New France, began missionary work in Michigan, New York, Wisconsin. French colonization in the early 18th century saw missions established in Louisiana, St. Louis, New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile, the Alabamas, Natchez, Yazoo, Natchitoches, Arkansas, Illinois.
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