Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield–Cape Girardeau

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Diocese of Springfield–Cape Girardeau
Dioecesis Campifontis–Capitis Girardeauensis
Coat of Arms - Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO.jpg
Country United States
Territory 39 counties across Southern Missouri
Ecclesiastical province St. Louis
Area 25,719 km2 (9,930 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2010)
68,217 (5.4%)
Parishes 66
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established August 24, 1956 (61 years ago)
Cathedral St. Agnes Cathedral (Springfield)
Co-cathedral Cathedral of St. Mary of the Annunciation (Cape Girardeau)
Patron saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Pope Pius X
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Edward M. Rice
Emeritus Bishops John Joseph Leibrecht
Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.jpg
St. Agnes Cathedral, Springfield
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Annunciation, Cape Girardeau

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield–Cape Girardeau (Latin: Dioecesis Campifontis–Capitis Girardeauensis) is a Roman Catholic diocese in Missouri. The diocese is governed by Bishop Edward M. Rice.


The diocese was formed on August 24, 1956 from the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Kansas City. It consists of 39 primarily rural counties in the southern third of Missouri that include the urban areas of Springfield (the diocese headquarters), Branson and Cape Girardeau.

The diocese has two cathedrals: St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield and the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Cape Girardeau. The two cathedrals are often (mistakenly) referred to as co-cathedrals. The diocese established the Cape Girardeau cathedral as part of an eventual plan to create a separate diocese in Cape Girardeau.

In 1975, Bishop Bernard Francis Law sponsored the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix who arrived from Vietnam, inviting them to buy a vacant Oblates of Mary Immaculate seminary, Our Lady of the Ozarks College in Carthage, for $1, to use as their U.S. monastery and shrine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[1] Since 1978, the shrine has hosted an annual Marian Days celebration, the largest Roman Catholic festival in the United States.[2]


The diocese includes 66 parishes, 19 missions, 2 chapels, and, as of a 2003 estimate, 63,179 Catholics. The diocese has an increasing Hispanic population.

This region is mainly located in the Ozarks and Bootheel of Missouri, where Catholics make up about 5% of the total population. The religion of the Ozarks, in particular, is notably individualistic and conservative; a major Christian denomination in the region is Pentecostalism.

Each year, tens of thousands of Vietnamese American Catholics converge on Carthage, at the western end of the diocese, to participate in the Marian Days celebration.


The bishops of the diocese and their terms of service:

  1. Charles Herman Helmsing (1956–1962); appointed Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph
  2. Ignatius Jerome Strecker (1962–1969); appointed Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas
  3. William Wakefield Baum (1970–1973); appointed Archbishop of Washington; Cardinal in 1976
  4. Bernard Francis Law (1973–1984); appointed Archbishop of Boston; Cardinal in 1985
  5. John Joseph Leibrecht (1984–2008); retired
  6. James Vann Johnston, Jr. (2008–2015); appointed Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph
  7. Edward M. Rice (2016-)

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Coordinates: 37°11′00″N 93°17′10″W / 37.18333°N 93.28611°W / 37.18333; -93.28611