Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison

Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison
Diocese of Madison
Dioecesis Madisonensis

St. Raphael's Cathedral, Madison prior to the 2005 fire.
Country United States
Territory Counties of Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, LaFayette, Marquette, Rock and Sauk, Wisconsin
Ecclesiastical province Province of Milwaukee
Metropolitan Madison, Wisconsin
- Catholics

Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established January 9, 1946
Cathedral Saint Raphael's Cathedral
Current leadership
Pope Benedict XVI
Bishop Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison
Metropolitan Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee

The Diocese of Madson (in green) within the Ecclesiastical Province of Milwaukee.

The Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, is the Roman Catholic Diocese for the southwest corner of Wisconsin. It comprises Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, LaFayette, Marquette, Rock and Sauk counties. The area of the diocese is approximately 8,070 square miles (20,900 km2). There are about 270,000 Catholics in the Diocese.

There are currently 134 parishes in the Diocese with approximately 95 priests in active ministry.[1] The current Bishop of this diocese is Bishop Robert C. Morlino. Saint Raphael's Cathedral in Madison, destroyed by fire in 2005, had been the cathedral for the diocese. The diocese currently has no cathedral. Members of the Cathedral Parish worship at St. Patrick's and Holy Redeemer in Downtown Madison. The Latin title of the Diocese is Dioecesis Madisonensis. The Metropolitan for the Diocese is the Archbishop of Milwaukee. Camp Gray, a summer camp and retreat center, is one of the ministries of the Diocese of Madison.



The Madison Diocese was established on January 9, 1946, by Pope Pius XII, in a decree dated December 22, 1945. The diocese was created out of territory from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Diocese of La Crosse and the Diocese of Green Bay.[2]

Venerable Father Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli was actively involved in the southwestern part of Wisconsin during the mid 19th century. He established 25 parishes in Wisconsin, 11 of which are in the Madison Diocese. Fr. Mazzuchelli is buried in Benton, Wisconsin, which is in the diocese. Pope John Paul II declared him venerable in 1993. The case for Fr. Mazzuchelli's elevation to the Sainthood is still pending.

In 2009 the Diocese tried direct appeal to raise operating funds. This only brought in 47% of its goal and the Diocese had to lay off 65 employees.[3]

Cathedral fire

On March 14, 2005. St. Raphael's Cathedral was heavily damaged in a fire that caused extensive damage to the church. The fire affected not only the families who attended the church, but also the entire diocese. In the days following the fire, it was found that William J. "Billy" Connell had set the fire. Connell was charged with burglary, arson, and bail jumping, but was deemed incompetent to stand trial due to paranoid schizophrenia. He was committed to an institution on August 29, 2005, pending a change in his mental health status,[4] and in June 2007, was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by 15 years of close supervision.

Following the fire, the options regarding the future of the Cathedral included:

  • Rebuild the Cathedral at the current site. Those in favor of that plan cited the historical significance of the parish as a reason for rebuilding the structure.
  • Build a new Cathedral at another location in Madison, such as on the city's west side. People in favor of that cited the fact that St. Raphael's was not intended to be a Cathedral when built. Previous Bishops had considering building a new Cathedral elsewhere in Madison, as there was no room downtown to build a larger Cathedral church.

In June 2007, a decision was reached to erect a new building on the site of the old Cathedral, replacing the structure that was damaged in the fire. The new building will have a different floorplan than the previous building and be capable of seating approximately 1,000 people. It will reuse the steeple and other items that can be salvaged from the original building.


The following is a list of Bishops of the Diocese of Madison and their terms of service:

Auxiliary Bishops

  • Bishop Jerome J. Hastrich (1963–1969) auxiliary bishop and later Bishop of the Gallup, New Mexico Diocese
  • Bishop George Otto Wirz (1977–2004) auxiliary bishop

Affliated Bishops

  • Bishop Paul J. Swain was ordained priest for the Madison Diocese and later became Bishop of the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Diocese

Parishes in the diocese

High schools

External links


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