Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison

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Diocese of Madison
Dioecesis Madisonensis
Coat of arms of the Diocese of Madison
Coat of arms
Flag of the Diocese of Madison
Country United States
Territory Counties of Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, LaFayette, Marquette, Rock and Sauk, Wisconsin
Ecclesiastical province Milwaukee
Area 8,070 sq mi (20,900 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2004)
269,556 (28.4%)
Parishes 104[1]
Schools 46[2]
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established January 9, 1946 (71 years ago)
Cathedral Saint Raphael's Cathedral
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Robert C. Morlino
Diocese of Madison (Wisconsin) map 1.jpg

The Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, (Latin: Dioecesis Madisonensis) 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). The Metropolitan for the diocese is the Archbishop of Milwaukee. There are about 270,000 Catholics in the Diocese. The bishop of the diocese is Robert C. Morlino.

There are 104 parishes in the diocese,[3] with approximately 98 priests in active ministry.[4] Under Morlino's leadership, the number of seminarians in the diocese has grown from six men in 2003, when Morlino took over, to 30 in 2015. A diocesan-wide capital campaign was initiated to raise $30 million to help educate the future priests.[5][6]

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.

Camp Gray, a summer camp and retreat center, is one of the ministries of the Diocese of Madison.


Early years[edit]

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.[7]

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 53% of its goal and the Diocese had to lay off 65 employees.[8]

Cathedral fire[edit]

St. Raphael's Cathedral, Madison prior to the 2005 fire.

On March 14, 2005. St. Raphael's Cathedral was heavily damaged in a fire that caused extensive damage to the church. 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,[9] 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 floor plan 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 are lists of the Roman Catholic Bishops and Auxiliary Bishops of the Diocese of Madison and their tenires of service.

Diocesan bishops[edit]

  1. †Bishop William Patrick O'Connor (1946–1967)
  2. †Bishop Cletus F. O'Donnell (1967–1992)
  3. †Bishop William H. Bullock (1993–2003)
  4. Bishop Robert C. Morlino (2003–present)

Auxiliary Bishops[edit]

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

Affiliated bishops[edit]

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



Resurrection Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery located on the near west side in Madison, Wisconsin, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison. The cemetery is one of four cemeteries officially managed by the diocese. It was founded in 1949 and is about 40 acres in size.

The official address of Resurrection Cemetery is 2705 Regent Street. The cemetery is located on a hill and is bordered by the following streets: Regent Street to the north, Franklin Avenue to the west, Hillcrest Street to the south, and Speedway Road to the southeast. Nearby landmarks include West High School about one block away, and the Veterans Administration Hospital, University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, and American Family Children's Hospital about 8 blocks away.

Resurrection Cemetery is located across Speedway Road from Forest Hill Cemetery, the Protestant or non-Catholic cemetery.

Famous people whose resting place is Resurrection Cemetery include Madison native Chris Farley, comedic film star and Saturday Night Live cast member, whose crypt is located in the chapel on the cemetery grounds. The first two bishops of the diocese, William O'Connor and Cletus O'Donnell, are buried in the cemetery.

High schools[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


Coordinates: 43°03′04″N 89°31′06″W / 43.05111°N 89.51833°W / 43.05111; -89.51833