The Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin
, is the Roman Catholic Diocese
for the southwest corner of Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin
is the episcopal see
. It comprises Columbia
, Green Lake
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 135 parishes in the Diocese. The current Bishop of this diocese is Bishop Robert C. Morlino. Saint Raphael's Cathedral in Madison is the Cathedral parish for the Diocese. The Latin title of the Diocese is Dioecesis Madisonensis. The Metropolitan for the Diocese is the Archdiocese 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
, by Pope Pius XII
, in a decree dated: December 22
. The diocese was created out of territory from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
and the Diocese of La Crosse
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.
Main Article: Saint Raphael's Cathedral, Madison, Wisconsin.
On March 14
. 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
, pending a change in his mental health
status, and in June of 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 footprint 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:
Parishes in the Diocese