St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archdiocese of
ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS, ARCHDIOCESE OF
The diocese of St. Paul was established on July 19, 1850. Initially, the diocese was bounded by Iowa on the south, Canada on the north, Wisconsin on the east and the Missouri and White Earth Rivers in the Dakotas on the west. It became an archdiocese in 1888, and in 1966, Pope Paul VI redesignated it as the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis (Archiodioecesis Paulopolitana et Minneapolitana. The other dioceses in Minnesota as well as the diocese of North and South Dakota are its suffragan sees.
The city of St. Paul grew up around and was named after the log chapel that Father Lucien Galtier dedicated to St. Paul in 1841, and wherein French-born Joseph cretin was installed as the first bishop of the diocese on July 2, 1851. He immediately set about constructing a new cathedral. Cretin had served in the Diocese of Dubuque before coming to St. Paul. Arriving with with two priests and three seminarians, he opened a mission for the Native Americans at Blue Earth and established a parish near the Falls of St. Anthony, thus opening the first Catholic church and parish school in what would become Minneapolis. Conversions of Chippewa and Sioux natives in northern parts of the diocese were helped by Jesuits around Grand Portage and the veteran missionary Francis Pierz, who came to the diocese in 1852, establishing a mission near Brainerd.
Cretin ceded the original log chapel to the Sisters of St. Joseph, whom he had invited into the region to teach young girls. This chapel became the original St. Joseph's Academy and also served as the original St. Joseph's Hospital when the sisters were called on to minister to the sick during the cholera epidemic of 1855. Cretin authorized new churches to be built in Wabasha, Chaska, Hastings, Maryburg, Credit River, New Prague, Winona, Lake City, and Derrynane. By the end of Cretin's administration, there were 29 churches and 35 stations with about 20 priests attending a Catholic population of about 50,000. The diocese had a Catholic Temperance Society, a St. Vincent de Paul Society, a Society of the Living Rosary, and a Confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Bishop Cretin died on Feb. 22, 1857 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery, which he had blessed in 1856. Augustin Ravoux, the vicar general, administered the diocese until a new bishop was appointed two years later. Ravoux served as vicar general of the diocese until 1892 when poor health demanded retirement. He died in 1906, and is remembered for the services he rendered to the condemned 38 Sioux after the infamous Sioux Uprising in 1862.
Thomas Langdon Grace, OP, a native of South Carolina known for his administrative skills and his commitment to Catholic education, was named the second bishop of St. Paul on July 29, 1859. He devised a constitution for the diocese, stipulating directives for the celebration of the Eucharist, the erection of parish buildings, the teaching to children the rudiments of Catholicism, and the keeping of parish records. The mettle of Grace was tested during the Civil War (1861–1865), when, because of his Southern roots, his loyalty was questioned. He sent the young Father John Ireland to serve as chaplain for the Northern forces in battles fought on Southern soil. Upon his return to the diocese, Ireland became Grace's secretary. The Sioux Uprising of 1862 further tested his diplomatic skills. His correspondence with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington fell upon deaf ears.
Grace championed Catholic education, inviting various groups of teaching religious to address this need. He established many new ethnic parishes, and in an attempt to ward off the slander against the Catholic Church by the Know-Nothing Party, was an advocate of the Catholic press, making The Northwestern Chronicle the official organ of the diocese. He is also credited with organizing deaneries in the diocese in an attempt to implement the directives of the Second Council of Baltimore. Grace resigned in 1884 and died in 1897, leaving a legacy of brilliant intellectual attainments. He had been a staunch advocate of establishing The Catholic University of America, founded in 1889. He had advocated for a major seminary in the diocese, and this was finally realized when St. Thomas Seminary was opened in 1886 where the University of St. Thomas now stands. During his capable administration, the Catholic population of the state rose to about 130,000 with a presbyterate of 147: 119 diocesan and 28 regular clergy. There were 195 churches and 51 stations, 29 seminarians, six religious communities of men, 14 religious communities of women, two hospitals, five asylums, and ten academies and boarding schools for young women. The diocese boasted seven St. Vincent de Paul Conferences, Total Abstinence Societies in many communities, and rosary societies, sodalities, and confraternities of the Sacred Heart in most parishes.
John ireland, a native of Ireland and immigrant to Minnesota, had been sent to France to study for the priesthood by Bishop Cretin. He was ordained in 1861, served briefly as a curate in the cathedral parish, and then as a military chaplain. After the war he was appointed rector of the cathedral, and was made Cretin's representative at Vatican Council I, which the ordinary of St. Paul did not attend. Originally designated vicar apostolic of Nebraska, Cretin succeeded in having the nomination revoked, and in Ireland's being named his own coadjutor, with right of succession, in 1875. Ireland was a vigorous proponent of the Catholic Total Abstinence Society and became a nationally known speaker in its cause. He also was notable as the Catholic prelate most identified with support of the American public school system, and he sought to accommodate Catholic immigrant sensibilities with the Protestant dominated educational system. His experiments at Stillwater and Faribault, MN, of cooperation with local school boards in the administration of parochial schools drew international attention and the ire of his ecclesiastical opponents, both in the United States and in Rome. The attempts at accommodation, however, soon failed to satisfy the school boards as well, and were ended by the civic authorities.
These and other public stances firmly identified Ireland with the "Americanist" cause during the years of that controversy. Together with Cardinal James gibbons, and Bishops Denis o'connell, John J. keane, and others, Ireland strongly identified himself and attempted to identify the Catholic Church in the United States with patriotic and democratic sensibilities. These later proved useful to Leo XIII, who in 1892 sent Ireland as his envoy to France in order to bolster support for the pontiff's new policy of ralliement to the Republic. Ireland opposed the efforts of the German lay leader Peter Paul Cahensly to establish special ecclesiastical jurisdictions and appointments for German, Italian, and other immigrants in the United States. Ireland is often faulted with causing the alienation of thousands of Eastern Rite Catholics to the Orthodox Churches because of his "Americanizing" convictions and his unwillingness to recognize the jurisdiction and validity of their immigrant priests. Closely associated with many major political figures, both local and national, Ireland was often seen as a supporter of and influential figure within Republican Party politics. He was unable, however, to deter the course toward war with Spain in 1898, the diplomatic mission the Holy See had entrusted to him. He was more successful in his efforts to negotiate a settlement between the Holy See and the United States with regard to friars' lands in the Philippine Islands in the wake of the war.
Ireland was a strong advocate for the establishment of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and he remained a supporter of the institution throughout his life. He opened St. Paul Seminary in 1894 and was often personally involved in its development and in the formation of its seminarians. Notwithstanding his political involvements, Ireland was also a supporter of the Knights of Labor and endorsed Gibbons' efforts to prevent a papal condemnation of the Knights of Labor. He was also an outstanding leader in the fight against racial discrimination within the Church and society.
St. Paul was made an archiepiscopal see in 1888, and Ireland was its first archbishop. His influence within the newly created province and throughout the region, and his strong personality, caused him to be known as "The Patriarch of the West," as well as "the consecrated blizzard of the northwest." It was often rumored that he would be created a cardinal, but the appointment to the Sacred College was never made, despite the efforts of his friends. He died on Sept. 25, 1918.
Ireland's successor in office, Austin dowling, a native of New York City, was ordained for the Diocese of Providence, RI, in 1891, following studies at The Catholic University of America. He taught church history at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, MA, served as editor of the Providence Visitor, and was named rector of the cathedral church. He was consecrated the first bishop of Des Moines, IA, in 1912, and was translated to St. Paul in 1919. He was instrumental in the establishment of the National Catholic Welfare Conference and was elected to its first administrative board. Locally, he firmly established offices of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese and advanced the cause of Catholic education through fund raising and the establishment of educational institutions, including a diocesan teachers college for sisters and lay teachers (1925). Dowling published scholarly works and lectured throughout his episcopacy. He died in 1930.
John Gregory Murray, former auxiliary bishop of Hartford and bishop of Portland (Maine), was installed as third Archbishop of St. Paul, Jan. 27, 1931. In marked contrast to the style of his predecessor, Murray was often seen riding the trolleys or walking in the downtown area of the capital city. His concern for the downtrodden prompted him to organize a crusade of charitable giving to support those in need regardless of creed or color. In November of 1935, he opened the Catholic Labor School for members of labor unions. The school offered classes in Catholic social teaching, economics, parliamentary procedures, and labor law. Priest-teachers became well acquainted with labor leaders and were frequently called on as arbitrators in industrial disputes in the region.
Murray encouraged the certification of teaching sisters at the diocesan teachers' college. He organized the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and study clubs to train teachers for instructing Catholic youth attending public schools during the "release periods" permitted by law. The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine also sponsored the formation of The Catholic Choral Club under Rev. Francis A. Missia and the opening of Catholic Youth Centers in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Murray attacked the prevalent evils of socialism, communism, anarchy, eugenics, and birth control, forbidding Catholics to become members of societies supporting birth control and sterilization. Murray was committed to a hierarchical image of the Church. When The National Conference of Catholic Charities met in St. Paul in 1937, problems of families, youth, and social concerns were addressed, but attendance did not include the laity. Yet, when Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope pius xii) arrived in St. Paul in 1936 on an unofficial visit to the United States, he encountered a flourishing parochial life within the archdiocese. Moreover, when the ninth National Eucharistic Congress was held in the Twin Cities, on June 22–26, 1941, there were hundreds of thousands of participants. During World War II, when many priests and laity were called into armed services abroad, and women were called to replace men in defense plants, family life became strained. To meet the crisis, Murray formed the Diocesan Bureau of Charities, the Family Guild, and began an Archdiocesan Prayer Front for Peace.
In response to regional immigration, Murray opened a new parochial school for black Catholics in St. Peter Claver parish. In the years following World War II, 59 new parishes were established in the Twin Cities and suburbs to meet the needs of the growing Catholic population. Enrollment in grade schools increased, and additional Catholic high schools were in demand. The school sisters of notre dame opened St. Agnes Parish High School and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary staffed Our Lady of Peace Academy. Several small parish high schools were also opened in rural areas. Enrollment in the two Catholic colleges in the Twin Cities tripled, and seminary enrollment grew. The Newman Center and chapel near the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis was erected in 1953. Murray also oversaw the establishment of four retreat houses, two homes for the aged, and a home for incurable cancer patients. He authorized an independent priory of the Sisters of St. Benedict to be erected in St. Paul (1948) and the establishment of a major seminary of the Conventual Franciscan Fathers in Chaska (1951). James J. Byrne was appointed auxiliary bishop in 1947. When Byrne became bishop of Boise, Idaho, in 1956, Bishop William O. Brady of Sioux Falls, SD, was appointed coadjutor archbishop, with right of succession. Archbishop Murray died on Oct. 11, 1956, and was buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights.
Archbishop Brady oversaw 17 counties in Minnesota, which numbered over 434,000 Catholics. In 1957 the Diocese of New Ulm was carved from this territory and Alphonse Schladweiler appointed its first bishop. At the same time, Leonard Cowley was named an auxiliary bishop to assist Brady. Brady was a vibrant and forward-looking decision maker. When freeway construction displaced many in his cathedral parish, he worked with the St. Paul Housing Redevelopment Authority to assist in family relocation. During the Cold War he made the archdiocese an active participant in civil defense functions. The birth of baby boomers, suburban sprawl, the debate over birth control, and the drug culture were all addressed in the revised Catholic Bulletin. Brady also encouraged the expansion of the Catholic Digest into Europe. This periodical, published in St. Paul under the leadership of Rev. Louis Gales, reached a circulation of almost 900,000 in 1958. Brady furthered the work of women's groups and promoted the extension of lay volunteers for the Home Missions and Papal Volunteers for Latin America (PAVLA). He encouraged the organization of parish-based cells of Young Christian Workers. He also seized the opportunity of more affluent times to undertake the major completion of the interior of the dome of the cathedral, to erect a new chancery office, and to launch a campaign for the building of needed Catholic high schools.
Brady had a parituclar interest in the liturgy. His leadership encouraged the implementation of the new ritual of Holy Week approved by Pope Pius XII throughout the archdiocese. As a member of a special liturgical committee of the Conference of United States Bishops, he championed the use of the vernacular in the administration of the sacraments and in all liturgical rites. During a flight to Rome while working on a pre-conciliar liturgical commission, Archbishop Brady suffered a heart attack and died in Rome on Oct. 1, 1961.
Leo Binz, archbishop of Dubuque, became archbishop of St. Paul in 1962. He attended the sessions of the Second Vatican Council and was challenged with implementing its decrees. The most immediate changes were liturgical, But Binz's policy was to withhold formal approbation of any changes until Rome and the National Council of Catholic Bishops had spoken. The Minneapolis Tribune persisted in challenging the Catholic Church to respond to questions arising from contemporary social issues, but satisfying answers were slow to come. Despite Binz's hesitancy, auxiliary bishop James Shannon strove to get priests and laity to become actively involved in ecumenical affairs.
Binz authorized the first Cursillo in the archdiocese in 1968, continued the May Day Rosary processions, and strove unsuccessfully to elevate the rosary to a place alongside the Divine Office as an official prayer of the Church. The Holy Year (1975) was a special year of reconciliation and renewal, calling for lay discussion groups within the parishes. A new role, director of religious education, appeared on many parish staffs; new architecture for parish complexes emerged; the cost of Catholic secondary education skyrocketed; and some schools closed because of low enrollment. Yet, the commitment to Catholic education remained a top priority within the archdiocese. Prompted by the growth of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the archdiocese was redesignated the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1966.
Catholic Charities expanded during the 1960s, addressing the needs of the marginalized. The Christian Family Movement and the Rural Life Conference addressed the family life problems in rural areas of the archdiocese. Concerns for the rights of the working class in the state were championed by clergy of the archdiocese, especially by Monsignor Francis J. Gilligan, who spoke for the archdiocese at religion and labor meetings and who often acted as arbiter in settling many local labor-management disputes. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life was a strong citizen lobby against abortion legislation and abortion clinics in the state. Care for retarded children, long given in Faribault, saw new programs in the metropolitan Catholic hospitals and a new facility in St. Paul. The Catholic Interracial Council provided grants for minorities to attend Catholic schools. Parishes through the Black Catholics Concerned program worked to obliterate discrimination, and the archdiocese supported the St. Paul NAACP in its struggle for equal justice for African Americans in Minnesota. The work of Sister Giovanni, SSND, with the Hispanic community on St. Paul's West Side, kept the needs of that minority before the attention of the archdiocese as well as the state. In 1967 the archdiocese sponsored four PAVLA volunteers for work in Latin America. Eventually, large numbers of refugees from Vietnam and Laos in the Twin Cities necessitated new ministries.
Leo C. Byrne became coadjutor bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1967, and ordinary in 1975, when Binz retired because of poor health. A champion of the Second Vatican Council, Byrne was an advocate of a married deacons program for the archdiocese, collaborated with the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition in its work for social justice, and established the Board of Investment Ethics to review the portfolio of the archdiocese. The code drawn up by this board was the most comprehensive of any U.S. diocese. Byrne also encouraged workers to organize their own unions. He supported St. Mary's Hospital treatment center for alcoholics and established a policy for addressing the issue of alcohol and drug abuse among clergy and religious. An advocate of the aged, he also planned a retirement home for archdiocesan priests. In order to involve laity more directly in local church affairs, he set up the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in 1972 to act as an advisory group. When the American Indian Movement moved its headquarters to Minneapolis and a flood of new immigrants added to the homeless poor in the urban areas, the Priests' Senate, with Byrne's approval, organized an Inner-City Urban Ministry to help with housing concerns in the Twin Cities. In 1971 Raymond Lucker and John Roach were consecrated auxiliary bishops for the archdiocese.
Though he called for the Church to study the issue of women in ministry as a justice issue, Byrne nevertheless was slow to address women's issues in his own archdiocese. The papal encyclical Humanae Vitae caused the greatest controversy of Byrne's episcopacy. When more than 70 priests of the archdiocese publicly dissented from the encyclical, he demanded obedience of his priests in support of the Church's teaching. Although Humanae Vitae received strong support in many quarters of the archdiocese, notably the Council of Catholic Men and the Council of Catholic Women, the encyclical prompted some to leave the priesthood and religious life, including Auxiliary Bishop James Shannon. During this same period the great number of religious men and women leaving religious congregations created personnel problems for Catholic parishes and service institutions under archdiocesan auspices.
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Roe vs. Wade decision, a natural family planning program was established as one means of counteracting the massive influx of birth control and pro-abortion literature that flooded the area.
Archbishop Byrne organized an Ecumenical Commission, which included clergy, laity, and men and women religious. Byrne worked with leaders of other faiths and brought closer ties with Jewish leaders in the area. Many groups within the state were working hard for ecumenism, but he was hesitant to join the Minnesota Council of Churches, fearing their aggressive approach. When Archbishop Byrne died suddenly on Oct. 21, 1974 he left behind a reputation for commitment to social justice, reconciliation, and valuing human life. Archbishop Binz returned to St. Paul from his retirement to administer the archdiocese until a new archbishop could be appointed.
In 1975, John Roach was the second native son to become archbishop. As rector of the preparatory seminary, Nazareth Hall, he oversaw its closing and the establishment of St. John Vianney Seminary at the College of St. Thomas. Regarding the Second Vatican Council as the most significant event in the 20th century, he approached renewal and revitalization of the Church in his archdiocese with optimism and vision. As president of the United States Bishops' Conference, he supported collegiality and mutuality within all structures of the Church. He supported the Detroit Call to Action program of 1976. A believer in delegating authority, Roach called on clergy and laity within the local Church to address issues through various archdiocesan commissions. He championed the cause of ecumenism at the local and national levels. He appointed a special Commission on Women, and named many women to serve on archdiocesan boards and commissions. New religious groups, such as the Brothers of Peace, were welcomed into the archdiocese. The growing demands of episcopal leadership in the archdiocese prompted Roach to ask for auxiliary bishops. Bishops Paul Dudley; John Kinney; Richard Hamm, MM; William Bullock; Robert Carlson; Joseph Charron, CPPS; and Lawrence Welsh were all consecrated during Roach's episcopacy. All but Bishop Welsh, who died in 1999, were called to serve as ordinaries of other dioceses.
New immigrant groups moved into the archdiocese in the 1970s and 1980s. Hmong were notably served at St. Mary's in Lowertown St. Paul, and Vietnamese in north Minneapolis, making St. Joseph's Church their parish church. By 1978 Hispanics were scattered throughout the archdiocese. Roach called for lay and religious leaders to help these newcomers assimilate into American culture. Roach strove for better relations between Catholics and Jews in the archdiocese and throughout the universal Church. In August of 1987, he represented the NCCB at a meeting in Rome to establish a commission whose purpose was to draw up an official Catholic statement on the Holocaust. During his administration the Catholic Education Center influenced the passage of a Minnesota State law in 1978 that mandated public service to handicapped children within non-public schools within the state. Ministry to gays and lesbians in the local church became an important issue when the question of hiring homosexual teachers in parochial schools arose. Roach acceded to the urging of many priests, religious, and laity in establishing an AIDS ministry in the archdiocese. During the Roach years, Catholic Charities grew into the largest non-governmental social service agency in the metropolitan area. Through the 35-year leadership of Monsignor Jerome Boxleitner, this agency put faces on those in need and upheld their dignity as persons. To address the growing needs of the aging, Catholic Elder Care was opened in northeast Minneapolis, with archdiocesan support. Roach led the archdiocese in a campaign of prayer to fight the atrocities against human rights committed abroad, especially the killing of religious and lay missionaries in Latin America and Africa. He used his influence as president of the NCCB to draw the attention of Congress to these matters. Prodded by lay leaders in the archdiocese, Roach supported the establishment of the Minnesota Center for Medical and Legal Aspects of Torture to provide services for victims of human rights violations seeking asylum in the United States. The Archdiocesan Urban Affairs Commission endorsed the Nuclear Freeze Campaign, urging Congress to press for negotiations between the United States and the U.S.S.R. for nuclear arms reduction. When the problems of farmers escalated during the 1980s, Roach, as leader of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, lobbied Congress for just laws protecting farmers.
The press put pressures on the archbishop to address local problems of sexual abuse by archdiocesan clergy. Roach adopted a policy that included sexual awareness training for all archdiocesan personnel in all ministries. The Newman Center at the University of Minnesota was authorized to set up a chapter of Dignity for gay Catholics, and asked that all its members sign a statement of support of the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Dignity members refused and a difficult public separation between the archbishop and area homosexuals followed. Roach tried to reinforce Catholic teaching on sexual morality through the Catholic Education Center.
On Feb. 22, 1994 Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of Lafayette, Louisiana, was appointed coadjutor archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He assumed full responsibilities in 1995, upon Roach's retirement. Flynn's new see covered 12 counties, and included 222 parishes and more than 40 archdiocesan agencies serving a variety of ministries. His weekly column in the official organ of the archdiocese, which he renamed The Catholic Spirit, emphasized the on-going presence of Christ in the work of His Church. A staunch supporter of the Pro-Life Movement, he also spoke out against capital punishment. When he came to St. Paul, problems of domestic violence, racial discrimination, fair wages, full employment, health care needs, and welfare reform abounded. Flynn had to address two immediate problems: just financial compensation and financing on-going education for those in Church ministry. He strongly encouraged an active role for the laity. Because of the shortage of priests and the shifting areas of population growth in the metropolitan area, Flynn called on his flock to support the merging of some parishes and the founding of others.
The year 2000 marked the sesquicentennial of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis with many special celebrations. At that time, the Catholic population of the archdiocese numbered 759,662 in a total population of 2,792,064. There were 342 diocesan priests, 158 religious priests, 171 permanent deacons, 50 brothers, 1094 sisters, and 563 lay ministers. There were 222 parishes, three Catholic hospitals, four homes for the aged, five centers for social services, three colleges and universities, nine Catholic high schools, and 89 Catholic elementary schools. The schools were staffed mainly by laity. The shortage of priests continues to be a major problem in the archdiocese. In early 1999 auxiliary bishop Lawrence Welsh died after a long illness. That same year, Fr. Frederic Campbell was consecrated an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese, and in 2001 Richard Pates was appointed auxiliary as well.
Bibliography: Archives of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, St. Paul, MN. p. h. ahern, ed., Catholic Heritage in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (St. Paul 1964). a. rauche and a. m biermaier, They Came to Teach: The Story of Sisters Who Taught in Parochial Schools and Their Contributions to Elementary Education in Minnesota (St. Cloud, Minn. 1994). j. m. reardon, The Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. Paul (St. Paul 1952). j. c. wolkerstorfer, You Shall Be My People: A History of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis (France 1999). m. r. o'connell, John Ireland and the American Catholic Church (St. Paul 1988).
[j. c. wolkerstorfer]