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Green Bay

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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.

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