The Diocese of Madison was born out of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Diocese of La Crosse on January 9, 1946.
Bishop William O'Connor was named the first bishop and the Diocese of Madison had 82,000 Catholics. Today, it has more than 275,000 Catholics.
The Diocese of Madison includes 11 counties in Southwest and Southcentral Wisconsin: Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, LaFayette, Marquette, Rock and Sauk.
The diocese owes much of its heritage to Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, who was the first priest of the American church to have a significant impact on Wisconsin. He was an architect, builder, educator and the person who directed Catholic development throughout Western Wisconsin in the middle part of the 19th century. He built 25 churches, including 11 still in the Diocese of Madison.
Former Governor James Doty donated a lot of land near the new capitol in Madison in 1848 and shortly thereafter St. Raphael Cathedral was built. The cornerstone was laid in 1854. Three years later Mass was said at Holy Redeemer Church in Madison.
Today, Bishop Robert C. Morlino is the fourth bishop of Madison. He succeeded Bishop William H. Bullock in 2003.
Mission and Activities of the Diocese of Madison
The Diocese of Madison ministers to the Roman Catholic community in 11 counties of Southcentral Wisconsin. The Diocese includes 134 parishes, 45 Catholic elementary schools, two Catholic high schools and one Catholic college. The ministry of Catholic education in the Diocese includes the Office of Religious Education, the Office of Family Ministry, the Office of Catholic Schools, the Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach, and the Office of Worship. All those offices are housed at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center on Madison's west side.
The Diocese also includes the Office of Cemeteries, which oversees four diocesan cemeteries, Camp Gray near Baraboo, which serves the youth of the diocese, St. Martin House, which provides services to the poor in Madison and Centro Guadalupano, which provides services to Madison's growing Hispanic community. The Catholic Herald is the official diocesan newspaper. Through Catholic Charities, the Diocese is a major non-governmental social services provider in the state of Wisconsin. Services are available to all, regardless of religion.
Educational programs for deacons and the laity are provided through the Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach. The Office of Vocations oversees seminarians who are studying for the priesthood.