Dubuque, Archdiocese of
Dubuque, Archdiocese of
DUBUQUE, ARCHDIOCESE OF
Metropolitan see embracing 30 counties in the northeast section of Iowa, an area of 17,403 square miles. Dubuque (Dubuquensis) was established as a diocese July 28, 1837, and created an archdiocese June 15, 1893. Since 1945 the metropolitan province has been coextensive with the state of Iowa and the suffragan sees have been those of davenport, sioux city, and des moines. The city of Dubuque itself, named for its French Canadian founder, Julien Dubuque, has the smallest total population of any archdiocesan see city in the United States; the people in the city and county of Dubuque are preponderantly Catholic. Slightly more than 20 percent of the total population of the archdiocese is Catholic, largely of Irish, German, and Czech origin, but nationalism has virtually disappeared and technically no genuine national parishes exist.
Geographical Evolution. The Third Provincial Council of Baltimore, in petitioning (1837) for the creation of a diocese at Dubuque, was following a logical pattern in organizing the Church in the territory of the Louisiana purchase. The upper Mississippi region had previously been separated from the New Orleans, Louisiana, diocese, by the erection of the Diocese of St. Louis, Missouri (1826); in 1837 the still vast northern area was subdivided by organizing its northern part into the Diocese of Dubuque. The original diocesan boundaries included the area lying north of the state of Missouri and between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, that is, the area now comprised by the states of Iowa and Minnesota, and the eastern half of the states of North and South Dakota. Until the erection of the Dioceses of Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1843), however, the eastern banks of the Mississippi both upstream and downstream from Dubuque were delegated to the care of the bishop of Dubuque by the far away bishops of St. Louis, Missouri, and Detroit, Michigan. In 1850, with the creation of the Diocese of St. Paul, Minnesota, the boundaries of the Diocese of Dubuque were reduced to coincide with those of the state of Iowa, which had been admitted to the Union in 1846. In 1881 the southern half of Iowa, embracing the four southern tiers of counties, became the Diocese of Davenport, the Diocese of Dubuque retaining the five northern tiers of counties. With the separation of its 24 western counties in 1902 to form the new Diocese of Sioux City, the area of the see of Dubuque had shrunk to about to about one-twelfth of its original size. The final reduction came in 1911 when the Diocese of Des Moines was created out of the western half of the Diocese of Davenport, and Clinton County was transferred to the Davenport diocese.
Early History. Before the area, at least in part, was formally opened for white settlement by land treaty with the Native Americans in 1833, Iowa and the territory to the north of it was almost devoid of white population, and even the Native Americans, mostly of the Dakota, HoChunk, Sauk, and Mesquakie tribes, numbered only a few thousand. The Reverend Jacques marquette and Louis Jolliet had passed by on the Mississippi River in 1673, and during the 1770s a French lead miner, Jean Marie Cardinal, came to the site of the present Dubuque; but the first permanent white settler in the area was Julien Dubuque. By the terms of his treaty with the Mesquakie people (1788) he undertook to work the lead mines, which became known as the "Mines of Spain" after the confirmation of his rights in 1796 by the Spanish governor of Louisiana; they were subsequently called "the Dubuque Mines." Julien Dubuque was a Catholic French Canadian, and he was buried on a high bluff in a grave surmounted with a cross. The first records of a Catholic priest ministering in the area coincide with the real beginnings of white settlement during the 1830s. In 1832 a Flemish Jesuit, Charles Felix van quickenborne, visited the Half Breed Tract (Keokuk), and in 1833, Dubuque. While there, he met with the considerable number of Catholics in the Dubuque area, and a petition to Bishop Joseph Rosati, of St. Louis, was framed, requesting permission to build a church. A memorandum of the meeting, dated July 19, 1833, contains specific plans for a log church and a list of committee members. Although the Rev. Charles F. Fitzmaurice, who was living nearby at Galena, Illinois, had been given a considerable quantity of building materials and $1,100 in cash by the Dubuque Catholics, he died of cholera before the church could be built. Meanwhile, a log church was constructed under the leadership of the Methodists (1834), with the understanding that it was to be available on Sunday for use by other religious groups and during the week as a school.
The effective beginnings of organized Catholic parish life in the upper Mississippi region, however, were in large part the work of the Italian Dominican, Samuel mazzuchelli, who appeared in Dubuque in 1835 and immediately began directing the building of a stone church, on a larger scale than that originally planned. He named it St. Raphael's; later he named two other parishes he did much to found, St. Michael's at Galena, and St. Gabriel's at Prairie du Chien. Mazzuchelli also formed St. Anthony's parish at Davenport and St. Paul's at Burlington. For several years after the establishment of the Diocese of Dubuque, Mazzuchelli was a vicar general and frequent companion of the first bishop, Jean Mathias loras, while continuing his missionary travels and the foundation of parishes. In 1838 the German Catholics at Ft. Madison and nearby Sugar Creek were visited from Quincy, Illinois, by a German priest, Augustus Brickweede. In the same year, two Jesuits, Pierre Jean de smet and Felix Verreydt, together with two lay brothers, came up the Missouri River from St. Louis to Council Bluffs, and for several years conducted a mission center among the Pottawatomi.
Bishop Loras. The first bishop of Dubuque was consecrated on Dec. 11, 1837 by Bishop Michael Portier in Mobile, Alabama. After appointing as vicar generals Rosati of St. Louis and, through him, Mazzuchelli, who was the only priest then living within his diocese, Loras sailed directly for Europe in search of priests and funds with which to build a diocese. Although disappointed in his effort to locate German and Irish volunteers, he found six Frenchmen, who sailed with him from France for New York in August 1838. Two were priests—Joseph cretin, his close friend and later named the first bishop of St. Paul, and J. A. M. Pelamourges, longtime pastor of Davenport, who later refused his appointment as episcopal successor to Cretin in St. Paul; the four others were subdeacons, Augustin Ravoux, Lucien Galtier, Regius Petiot, and James Causse. Loras made valuable contacts with the society for the propagation of the faith of his native Lyons, France, and with the leopoldinen stiftung (leopoldine society) of Vienna, Austria, from which he received large amounts of money in annual grants, as well as from the ludwig missionsverein (lud wig mission society) of Munich.
On April 18, 1839, Loras, accompanied by Cretin and Mazzuchelli, formally entered Dubuque, and three days later the bishop enthroned himself in his still partially incomplete little cathedral. The same summer he traveled north to St. Anthony's Falls and Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, and, returning by canoe, visited Native American villages and white settlements along the way. In the autumn of 1839 he organized St. Raphael's College and Seminary, which occupied one floor of his residence. In 1843 the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and their chaplain, Terrence Donaghoe, transferred their community from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Dubuque and opened a school for girls. In 1849 a group of Trappists from Mt. Melleray Abbey, County Waterford, Ireland, began New Melleray monastery near Dubuque on land given them by Loras. In 1850 the diocesan college and seminary were transferred to new buildings at Table Mound, just south of Dubuque, and renamed Mt. St. Bernard's. In 1851 the Brothers of the Sacred Heart arrived in Dubuque from Le Puy, France, and opened a school for boys.
Although Mazzuchelli, Petiot, Ravoux, Cretin, and others had considerable missionary success among the Native Americans, chiefly the Ho-Chunk at Festina near Ft. Atkinson, Iowa, and later in Minnesota, the French and native character of the population was soon limited to the outreaches of the diocese. Eastern Iowa was rapidly populated by native-born whites, for the most part Protestant, or Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and Luxembourg. Loras, who had learned considerable German as well as almost perfect English, having tried but failed to attract French settlers, heartily encouraged this Catholic immigration, and eastern Iowa, particularly the area around Dubuque, was soon dotted with new parishes. The first Irish parish there was founded by Mazzuchelli in 1840 at Makokiti (Garryowen) in Jackson County. The first German parish in the diocese was organized in western Dubuque County in 1846 by Loras, and the settlement was named New Vienna in gratitude to the Leopoldine Society of Vienna. In 1849 the Germans at Dubuque were allowed to build their own church, called at first Holy Trinity, and later named St. Mary's. Loras, using chiefly his own funds and at the insistence of the Irish, constructed St. Patrick's Church at Dubuque (1852–53) as an exclusively English-speaking mission of the cathedral. But the French were now only a small minority even in the cathedral parish, and the Irish at debtfree St. Patrick's were given a pastor and parish status only when, after severe reprimand in 1855, they assured the bishop of their support in the construction of a new and adequate cathedral.
After attending the Provincial Councils of Baltimore (1840, 1843, and 1849), Loras traveled again to Europe in search of priests and funds, and returned with five seminarians: three Frenchmen, Andrew Trevis, Philip Laurent, and Frederick Jean; a German, Mathias Michels; and an Irishman, Michael Lynch. In 1854 the bishop traveled by steamboat from St. Louis up the Missouri River to visit Council Bluffs on the western edge of his diocese, which since 1850 had been limited to the state of Iowa. In 1853, recognizing his own failing health and concerned to assure the future of a diocese difficult to govern, Loras had discussed with Cretin the possibility of asking Rome to name Clement Smyth (1810–57), prior of New Melleray monastery near Dubuque, as his coadjutor and successor. The appointment itself was made only in the spring of 1857, shortly after construction had begun on the long-anticipated new cathedral. Loras offered the first Mass in the unfinished structure on Christmas Day, 1857; he died on Feb. 19, 1858, a few days after its formal dedication.
Bishop Smyth. The second bishop's consecration, May 3, 1857, in St. Louis by Archbishop Peter R. Kenrick, inaugurated an Irish succession in Dubuque and was a frank recognition by Loras that the period of fruitful French predominance, born of necessity and a thin tradition, had passed. But the Civil War and the financial distress that preceded it clouded the whole episcopate of Smyth. Although he was successful in bringing many priests, mostly Irish, and chiefly from All Hallows College, Dublin, into his diocese, discontent among the French priests led many of them to leave the diocese; thus the number of clergy remained almost constant. The Catholic population showed slow but steady increase; one of the few new parishes founded was St. Wenceslaus in the Czech settlement of Spillville. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart closed their school and left the city. Both the hospital and Mt. St. Bernard Seminary were allowed to lapse. During the Civil War, there was considerable pro-Southern sentiment at Dubuque, especially among the Catholic immigrants. Its most outspoken exponent was Dennis A. Mahoney, editor of the local Democratic newspaper and longtime friend and adviser of Loras, whose missionary years in Alabama and even as a slave-holder had made him something of a Southern sympathizer. Smyth, however, was an insistent supporter of the Union, and shortly after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he answered his critics in a stinging sermon. That same evening his coach house, carriage, and horses were destroyed by arson. While the bishop was absent on a Confirmation tour in Des Moines and other places in Iowa, a group of local citizens, both Protestant and Catholic, organized a manifestation of loyalty by having the coach house rebuilt and by purchasing a new carriage and pair of horses. The bishop died but a few months later and was buried beside his predecessor in the crypt of the cathedral, which he as coadjutor had seen to completion.
Bishop Hennessy. The third bishop and first archbishop, Irish-born John Hennessy (1825–1900), was consecrated Sept. 30, 1866, at Dubuque by Kenrick of St. Louis; he became an archbishop June 16, 1893. The long episcopate of this former pastor of St. Joseph, Missouri, corresponded with a period of prodigious growth after the Civil War. The networks of railroads, crossing Iowa for the first time, brought floods of new Catholic settlers, who came both from the East Coast and directly from Europe. Before and during the Civil War, widely separated areas had been visited by circuit-riding priests; but now, parishes with resident pastors began to appear in both rural and urban areas on land that the farsighted Loras had purchased. Even when southern Iowa was separated (1881) to form the new Diocese of Davenport, there were still 123 diocesan priests, 109 parishes, and 107 missions in what remained, or more than double the number in the whole state of Iowa at the close of the Civil War. Of the parishes still within the 30 counties of the archdiocese of Dubuque, 118 were founded during the time of Hennessy. The diocesan college, begun by Loras in 1839, was reorganized and reopened in 1873 as St. Joseph's College in the former marine hospital, built by Loras, and further additions were built in 1878 and 1884. Although in time almost all the priests of the diocese were American-born and alumni of this college, priests recruited from Ireland and Germany formed the great majority of the local clergy for many years. At a time when the bishops throughout the nation were deciding whether or not to form a system of parochial schools, Hennessy was an avid supporter of a Catholic school system. His motto was "A Parochial School for Every Parish," and his zeal in the pursuit of this goal would lay the foundation for an outstanding and extensive school system in which 60 percent of all parishes would eventually have their own parochial school. With this view in mind, he was very successful in influencing congregations of teaching sisters to settle within Iowa. Under his leadership and guidance, the Visitation Sisters, the Sisters of Mercy, the Presentation Sisters, the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family, the Sisters of the Holy Humility of Mary, and the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception all established themselves in the diocese. During his almost 34 years in office, the archdiocese made the greatest advances in the number of Catholics, priests, and parishes.
Bishop John Joseph Keane. The appointment in 1900 of John Joseph Keane (1839–1918) as Dubuque's fourth bishop and second archbishop marked the first episcopacy of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in its present boundaries when Sioux City became a separate diocese in 1902. Under this former first rector of the Catholic University of America, St. Joseph's College was expanded, additional parishes were erected in the cities of Dubuque, Waterloo, and Mason City, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd were encouraged to open a home for troubled girls. A system of deanery conferences and annual reports was begun. A number of priests of the archdiocese were formed into a mission band and assigned the work of conducting parish missions and retreats. Keane was a strenuous advocate of total abstinence and agitated vigorously for the enforcement of laws regulating the operation of taverns until the day of his death, June 27, 1918.
Bishop James John Keane. The fifth bishop and third archbishop, James John Keane (1857–1929), had been born at Joliet, Illinois; ordained Dec. 23, 1882 at St. Paul, Minnesota; and consecrated bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Oct. 28, 1902; he was transferred to Dubuque Aug. 11, 1911. This first American-born ordinary of Dubuque was not related to his predecessor, John Joseph Keane, who conferred the pallium upon him in 1912. As a former president of St. Thomas College in St. Paul, the new archbishop took an effective interest in St. Joseph, the archdiocesan college, which was renamed first Dubuque College and later Columbia College. A systematic effort was made to educate a college faculty in the best universities of Europe and the United States. In 1917 a financial drive throughout the archdiocese provided the college with a much-enlarged endowment and a large grant was obtained from the Rockefeller Foundation. An archdiocesan newspaper, the Witness, was begun in 1921.
Bishop Beckman. Francis J. L. Beckman (1875–1948), sixth bishop and fourth archbishop, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio; ordained June 20, 1902; consecrated bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, May 1, 1924; and served as apostolic administrator of Omaha from June 1926 to July 1928. He was named to Dubuque on Jan. 17, 1930, and administered until his resignation Nov. 11, 1946. When Beckman was transferred to Dubuque from Lincoln, which was then a suffragan see of Dubuque, the economic depression of the 1930s had already begun. Almost all his years as ordinary of Dubuque were passed under the shadow of economic crisis and war. Although St. Peter Claver mission for blacks was begun in Waterloo and the Society of the Divine Word bought property at Epworth for a college seminary, only a few quite exceptional pastors were able to undertake any new projects of construction. Beckman founded the Catholic Students' Mission Crusade and made every effort to encourage the growth of the laymen's retreat movement. He undertook to develop a museum of art and history at Columbia College. In 1937 the archdiocesan centennial was celebrated and two years later the centennial of the archdiocesan college; on that occasion the institution was renamed Loras College in honor of its founder. Beckman attracted national attention before the U.S. entry into World War II by his outspoken criticism of Communist Russia and U.S. policy toward Russia. In 1940 the Witness openly opposed the election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to a third term, and Dubuque County, traditionally Catholic and Democratic, voted Republican. Although he publicly supported the noninterventionist movement called America First, once the United States declared war, Beckman showed himself fully loyal and sent 40 of his priests into the armed services as chaplains, by proportion a national record. In 1944 Bishop Henry P. Rohlman, of Davenport, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, was named apostolic administrator and coadjutor archbishop with the right of succession. Two years later Beckman resigned and within another two years he died.
Bishop Rohlman. Henry P. Rohlman (1876–1957), seventh bishop and fifth archbishop, was born in Appelhülsen, Westphalia, Germany; ordained Dec. 21, 1901; consecrated bishop of Davenport, July 25, 1927; named apostolic administrator and coadjutor archbishop of Dubuque, June 15, 1944; and succeeded to the see Nov. 11, 1946. During the decade after the close of World War II, six mission parishes were given a resident pastor for the first time, and new parishes were erected in Waterloo, Ames, Evansdale, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and St. Ansgar. In 1954 priests of the archdiocese replaced the Franciscans at St. Mary's Church, Waterloo. The Loras College Chapel of Christ the King was built as a memorial to Aloysius H. Schmitt, the first chaplain killed in World War II, with funds collected through an archdiocesan drive. On Sept. 12, 1946, Edward A. Fitzgerald, former dean of studies at Loras College and pastor of St. Joseph Church, Elkader, was consecrated as auxiliary bishop of Dubuque. In October 1949 Bishop Leo Binz, coadjutor of Winona, Minnesota, was named coadjutor archbishop of Dubuque with the right of succession, and Fitzgerald was transferred to Winona; two years later Loras T. Lane was consecrated as auxiliary bishop of Dubuque. In the months before his resignation (Dec. 2,1954), Rohlman headed a committee of the bishops of Iowa that conducted a statewide campaign among Iowa Catholics to build at Dubuque a theological seminary for the province of Dubuque. It was named Mt. St. Bernard Seminary and began operation in 1951. Theological courses were taught by Dominican fathers of the province of St. Albert the Great, whose studiummgenerale had been established nearby. In 1953 a seminary residence was built on the campus of Loras College and for the first time ecclesiastical and lay students of the college were housed in separate dormitories. During his three years of retirement before his death in 1957, Rohlman lived at the new Mt. St. Bernard Seminary.
Bishop Binz. The eighth bishop and sixth archbishop, Leo Binz (1900–79), was born at Stockton, Illinois; ordained March 15, 1924; consecrated coadjutor bishop and apostolic administrator of Winona, Dec. 21, 1942; named coadjutor archbishop of Dubuque, Oct. 15, 1949; and succeeded to the see Dec. 2, 1954. During the seven years before his transfer to St. Paul (Dec. 16, 1961), the system of Catholic parochial high schools was considerably reorganized, and interparochial high schools were formed at Cresco, Ossian, Gilbertville, Bellevue, Waukon, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Lansing, Mason City, and Cascade. At Loras College, the Wahlert Memorial Library (1959) and Beckman Residence Hall (1960) were constructed. The American Martyrs Retreat House was built at Cedar Falls. New parishes were erected at Cedar Rapids (two), Marshalltown, Reinbeck, Blairstown, and Springville, and St. Joseph's parish, Independence, was absorbed into St. John's parish. By arrangement with the state government of Iowa, chaplains were stationed at the public institutions at Anamosa, Independence, and Eldora. In October 1956 Lane was appointed bishop of Rockford, the first of the many bishops taken from among the clergy of Dubuque to be named to a diocese lying wholly east of the Mississippi River. In 1961 Binz himself was transferred to St. Paul, the see carved from the territory of Dubuque.
Bishop Byrne. James J. Byrne (1908–96), ninth bishop and seventh archbishop, was ordained June 3, 1933; consecrated auxiliary bishop of St. Paul, July 2, 1947; named bishop of Boise, Idaho, June 16, 1956; and became archbishop of Dubuque, March 19, 1962. The period of his administration, 1962–83, would witness great, almost cataclysmic, changes in the Church, his archdiocese, and society in general. For the first time in the history of the archdiocese, the number of Catholics dramatically increased, but at the same time the numbers of clergy, Sisters and Brothers, greatly decreased. Known for his personal piety and special devotion to the Blessed Mother, Archbishop Byrne met these challenges with an equanimity derived from much private prayer. Although not prone to making changes, after attending all four sessions of Vatican II, he implemented all the liturgical and canonical directives out of loyalty to the pope and the magisterium of the Church. He was among the very first to establish a priest senate and to approve extraordinary Eucharistic ministers. Among other post-Vatican II innovations approved by Byrne were the establishment of a clergy personnel advisory board, an archdiocesan pastoral council, an office of pastoral planning, and the permanent diaconate. The greatest difficulties with which he had to deal were the resignation of his priests, the drastic drop in vocations both to the priesthood and the religious sisterhood, and the closing of Mt. St. Bernard Seminary in 1969. His retirement was accepted on Aug. 23, 1983, and death came Aug. 2, 1996.
Bishop Kucera. Daniel W. Kucera (1923–), tenth bishop and eighth archbishop, and first Benedictine elected to the see, was ordained May 26, 1949. As a member of the Benedictine Order at St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, Illinois, he was chosen president of Illinois Benedictine College in 1959, elected abbot in 1964, and remained in that position until 1971 when he was again asked to serve as president of the college. On July 27, 1977, he was ordained auxiliary bishop of Joliet, then named bishop of Salina, Kansas, in 1980, and installed as archbishop of Dubuque on Feb. 23, 1984. During the years of his administration, Archbishop Kucera spent much of his time in weekend parish visitation to celebrate the Sunday liturgy, homilize, and meet the parishioners. He reorganized archdiocesan boards, among them a finance commission and worship commission. He established the Archbishop's Cabinet to better coordinate the work of the central offices of the archdiocese. The cabinet members represent all the functions and services of the archdiocese under four categories: the division of pastoral services, the division of administrative services, the division of finance and business services, and the division of education and formation. In 1984 he sold the stately archbishop's mansion and moved to a more humble residence, and, amid some controversy, approved a major renovation of the cathedral. During his administration, the archdiocese celebrated its 150th anniversary with the proclamation to "Remember, Rejoice, and Proclaim." Year-long celebrations culminated in a liturgy celebrated at the civic center in Dubuque by Archbishop Pio Laghi, Vatican Pronuncio to the United States. A momentous change was made in 1987 when Kucera divided the archdiocese into three large areas—Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo—and appointed a vicar general to administer in each. Also, a woman religious was appointed chancellor and the directorships of two archdiocesan offices were given to lay persons. He retired to live in Colorado in 1995.
Bishop Hanus. Jerome George Hanus (1940–), the eleventh bishop and ninth archbishop, and second Benedictine, was born George A. Hanus, May 26, 1940, in Brainard, Nebraska. As a member of Conception Abbey in Missouri, he was ordained July 30, 1966. After several years as a professor at Conception, he was elected abbot in 1977. After ten years, he was appointed bishop of St. Cloud, Minnesota, then appointed coadjutor archbishop of Dubuque Aug. 23, 1994. Upon the retirement of Archbishop Kucera on Oct. 16, 1995, he succeeded to the see of Dubuque. Known as a "people person," he immediately implemented the Strategic Planning Process. Using modern technology, he spoke to all the members of the archdiocese by means of a video sent to every parish. Parishioners were given a chance to respond and express their views as regards the needs of the Church in the archdiocese. From these sources, he issued a vision statement in which he spelled out his plans and hopes for the future of the archdiocese. These plans include, among other things, an increased role of the laity in leadership positions in the parishes, schools, health care institutions, social agencies, and other parts of the Church in his diocese.
Bibliography: Archives, Archdiocese of Dubuque and Omaha. m. m. hoffmann, Church Founders of the Northwest (Milwaukee 1939); ed., Centennial History of the Archdiocese of Dubuque (Dubuque 1938).
[s. d. luby/
l. c. otting]