Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


The Diocese of Green Bay — established 3 March, 1868, from the territory of the Diocese of Milwaukee — comprises sixteen counties of the State of Wisconsin, U.S.A.: Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Forest, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Portage, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago; an area of 15,387 square miles.

At that time there were in this district thirty-one churches and forty-two stations, with thirty-one priests and fifty-five ecclesiastical students; eleven parish schools and seven convents of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Ursulines, Sisters of St. Agnes, the Third Order of St. Dominic , and the Third Order of St. Francis, with a Catholic population of about 50,000. It was mixed Irish-American, German, Belgian, and Dutch, with a few Indians, Poles and Bohemians are now to be added to this classification.


(1) Joseph Melcher

Joseph Melcher was appointed the first bishop, and consecrated at St. Louis, Missouri, 12 July, 1868. In 1855 he had been appointed Bishop of the proposed See of Quincy, Illinois, but declined the appointment. The See of Quincy was soon after suppressed and the title transferred to Alton. Bishop Melcher was born, 19 March, 1806, at Vienna, Austria, and ordained priest at Modena, Italy, 12 March, 1830. He died at Green Bay, 20 Dec., 1873.

(2) Francis Xavier Krautbauer

Francis Xavier Krautbauer, second bishop, was consecrated 29 June, 1875, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A native of Bruck, Bavaria, where he was born, 12 January, 1824, he was ordained priest, 16 July, 1850, at Ratisbon. He died suddenly, 17 December, 1885, at Green Bay.

(3) Frederic Xavier Katzer

Frederic Xavier Katzer, third bishop, had been vicar-general of the diocese. He was born, 7 February, 1844, at Ebensee, Upper Austria, and in the last year of his collegiate course at Friedberg he volunteered for the American mission. Arriving in the United States in May, 1864, he entered the Salesianum at St. Francis, near Milwaukee, where he completed his theological course and was ordained priest, December, 1866. He taught in the Milwaukee Seminary until 1875, when Bishop Krautbauer made him his secretary, and three years later vicar-general of Green Bay. On 30 January, 1891, he was promoted archbishop and transferred to Milwaukee, where he died, 20 July, 1903.

(4) Sebastian Gebhard Messmer

Sebastian Gebhard Messmer, fourth bishop, was consecrated at Newark, New Jersey, 27 March, 1892. He was born 29 August, 1847, at St. Gall, Switzerland, and ordained priest, 23 July, 1871, at Innsbruck, Austria. He was professor of theology at Seton Hall College, New Jersey, from 1871 to 1889, and was professor of canon law at the Catholic University, Washington, when chosen bishop. He was promoted to the Archbishopric of Milwaukee, 28 November, 1903.

Joseph J. Fox

Joseph J. Fox, fifth bishop, was consecrated, 25 July, 1904. He was born in Green Bay, 2 August, 1855, and made his theological studies at Louvain. He was ordained priest, 7 June, 1870, and served as secretary to Bishop Krautbauer, vicar-general of the diocese, and pastor of Marinette, before he was appointed bishop, 27 May, 1904.


The religious communities located in the diocese are: -- Men: -- Capuchins, Franciscans, Premonstratensians, Fathers of the Society of the Divine Saviour, Oblates of Mary Immaculate , and the Alexian Brothers. Women : -- Sisters of St. Agnes, Sisters of St. Dominic, Felicians, Third Order of St. Dominic, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Christian Charity, Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, Little Sisters of the Poor , Sisters of Mercy, Polish Sisters of St. Joseph, School Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters of Our Lady of Christ, Sisters of Misericorde, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, Sisters of the Society of the Divine Saviour, Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.


202 priests (47 regulars), 25 ecclesiastical students, 54 brothers, 45 churches, 65 missions, 3 stations, 3 chapels, 104 parish schools (16,482 pupils), 1 academy (95 pupils), 2 colleges (109 students), 1 Indian school (224 pupils), 1 orphan asylum (227 inmates), 1 industrial and reform school (66 inmates), 1 infant home and asylum (50 inmates), 17,418 young people under Catholic care, 8 hospitals, Catholic population 135,000.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains my hands for war and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go away,' they said. 'Leave ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 27th, 2016 Image

St. Frumentius
October 27: Called "Abuna" or "the fa¬≠ther' of Ethiopia, ... Read More