Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City

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Diocese of Sioux City
Dioecesis Siopolitanensis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City.svg
The coat of arms of the Diocese of Sioux City
Country United States
Territory 24 Counties in the Northwest quadrant of Iowa
Ecclesiastical province Dubuque
Metropolitan Michael Owen Jackels
Coordinates 42°30′02″N 96°24′23″W / 42.50056°N 96.40639°W / 42.50056; -96.40639Coordinates: 42°30′02″N 96°24′23″W / 42.50056°N 96.40639°W / 42.50056; -96.40639
Area 14,518 sq mi (37,600 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
100,300 (19.9%)
Parishes 111
Denomination Catholic Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established January 15, 1902 (115 years ago)
Cathedral Cathedral of the Epiphany
Patron saint Our Lady of Guadalupe
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop R. Walker Nickless
Emeritus Bishops Lawrence Donald Soens
Diocese of Sioux City.jpg

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City (Latin: Dioecesis Siopolitanensis) is the Roman Catholic diocese for the northwestern quarter of the US state of Iowa. The diocese comprises 24 counties in northwestern Iowa, and it covers an area of 14,518 square miles (37,600 km2). The See city for the diocese is Sioux City. It is a suffragan see of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The cathedral parish for this diocese is the Epiphany. R. Walker Nickless was ordained as bishop of Sioux City on 20 January 2006.


Cathedral of the Epiphany, Sioux City

The Diocese of Sioux City was established by a decree of Pope Leo XIII on Jan. 15, 1902, by the separation of 24 counties in northwest Iowa from the territory of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. At the time of its establishment, the Diocese of Sioux City had a Catholic population of 50,000. There were at that time 95 priests in 84 parishes and 32 missions.

The Diocese of Sioux City belongs to the ecclesiastical Province of Iowa with Dubuque as the See City of the Archdiocese and with sister dioceses in Davenport and Des Moines. Each of these jurisdictions is a ‘particular’ or ‘local’ Church with an Ordinary, or bishop, appointed by the Pope.

Pope Leo XIII named Irishman Philip J. Garrigan, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, as first Bishop of Sioux City. At the time of his appointment Garrigan was serving as Vice-rector of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Following his installation in Sioux City on June 18, 1902, Bishop Garrigan named the former St. Mary’s Church in Sioux City as the Cathedral Church of the Diocese. With permission from the Holy See he renamed this church the Cathedral of the Epiphany. Bishop Garrigan carried on an extensive visitation of all the parishes of the diocese. When his health declined toward the end of 1918 he asked Pope Benedict XV for an Auxiliary or a Coadjutor Bishop; the Pope appointed Irishman Edmond Heelan as Auxiliary Bishop, ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, then serving as pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Fort Dodge. Following his consecration Bishop Heelan was named pastor of the Cathedral of the Epiphany and after the death of Bishop Garrigan Oct. 14, 1919, Bishop Heelan was appointed as the second Bishop of Sioux City.

During Bishop Heelan’s nearly 30 years as Ordinary of the Diocese, there was a time of economic depression, beginning with the breakdown of the farm economy in the 1920s, and continuing through the worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s. His tenure included the period of World War II. During this time Catholic education was extended in the diocese, and legislation was enacted by three Diocesan Synods.

In 1946 Bishop Heelan reported to Pope Pius XII that his health was failing. The Pope then sent Bishop Thomas L. Noa of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be Coadjutor Bishop of Sioux City with the right of succession. One year later when the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, became vacant, Bishop Noa was transferred to that Diocese and the Pope appointed Bishop Joseph M. Mueller of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, to be Coadjutor with the right of succession. From the time of Bishop Heelan’s death, September 20, 1948, until Bishop Mueller’s retirement Dec. 8, 1970, Bishop Mueller carried out a program of expansion of diocesan activities. New schools, churches and other parish facilities were built, and existing schools were consolidated, increasing their capacity. Bishop Mueller died Aug. 9, 1981.

Upon the resignation of Bishop Mueller from active duty in December 1970, Pope Paul VI appointed as his successor Frank H. Greteman, who had served for more than five years as Auxiliary Bishop, and was the first native priest of the Diocese of Sioux City to be named a Bishop. He died March 21, 1987. During his episcopate the Catholic schools in the diocese were maintained and increased enrollment.

On Jan. 25, 1983, Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Bishop Greteman as ordinary and named him apostolic administrator. On June 15, 1983, John Paul appointed Msgr. Lawrence D. Soens, pastor of St. Mary Church, Clinton, Iowa, as the fifth ordinary of the Diocese of Sioux City. His ordination and installation were held Aug. 17, 1983, at the Cathedral of the Epiphany, Sioux City. During his period of tenure programs including Ministry 2000, Priests Retirement Fund, Youth Ministry Programs, Bishop Soens Youth Ministry Awards, and mandated Pastoral and Finance Commissions were established or expanded.

On Aug. 19, 1997, it was announced that John Paul had appointed Msgr. Daniel N. DiNardo, pastor of Sts. John and Paul Church, Franklin Park, PA, to be Coadjutor Bishop with right of succession. His ordination was held Oct. 7, 1997 at Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Church, Sioux City. Bishop Soens’ retirement was effective Nov. 28, 1998 and Bishop DiNardo succeeded as Bishop of Sioux City on the same date. In 2004 Bishop DiNardo became the co-adjutor bishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas. At that time, the Diocese of Sioux City became a vacant see; Msgr. Roger Augustine was named the diocesan administrator.

On Nov. 10, 2005, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Msgr. R. Walker Nickless of Denver as the seventh bishop of the diocese. His episcopal ordination was held on Jan. 20, 2006 at Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Church in Sioux City.

On Nov. 23, 2015, Bishop R. Walker Nickless granted the establishment of the Ministry Institute of Christ the Servant as a Catholic institution.[1] In the letter granting the Ministry Institute the ability to call itself Catholic, Bishop R. Walker Nickless stated: "I want to offer my endorsement and support for the Ministry Institute of Christ the Servant that is part of Briar Cliff University . . . Your efforts at forming leaders who will be able to faithfully and effectively minister to the flock of the Lord comes at an important time in our Church as we seek new ways to evangelize the people of God."[2][3] Brandon Harvey is the founder of the Ministry Institute.[4]

Ordinaries of the diocese[edit]

The following men have served as Bishops of this diocese:

Coadjutor bishop[edit]

  • Thomas Lawrence Noa 1946-1947; did not become bishop of the diocese, because he was appointed Bishop of Marquette.

Diocesan priests who became bishops[edit]

High schools[edit]

Closed schools[edit]


External links[edit]