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Twelve bishops have served the Diocese of Green Bay since its creation in 1868. When the Diocese was founded, there were a handful of parishes and priests serving 40,000 Catholics. Today, more than 150 parishes serve 350,000 Catholics. In addition, there are more than 60 elementary and high schools, one Catholic college and 10 Catholic hospitals.

Highlights of these bishops:

Most Reverend Joseph Melcher, first Bishop of Green Bay (1868-1873)

  • Increased the number of priests from 16 to 40, while the Catholic population soared from 40,000 to 60,000
  • Built a rectory for the pro-Cathedral parish
  • Attended the  Vatican Council I in Rome, 1869-1870
  • Persuaded Ursuline Sisters of St. Louis to open an academy for young ladies in Green Bay

Most Reverend Francis Xavier Krautbauer, second Bishop of Green Bay (1875-1885)

  • Directed the building (1876-1879) of a new cathedral
  • Responsible for planning and building Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help™ Chapel at Champion

Most Reverend Frederick Katzer, third Bishop of Green Bay (1886-1891)

  • Successfully led opposition to so-called Bennett Law, which tried to ban use of any language but English
  • Oversaw the growth of schools and other Catholic institutions

Most Reverend Sebastian G. Messmer, fourth Bishop of Green Bay, (1892-1903)

  • Encouraged parochial school growth and other church institutions
  • Invited Abbot Augustine Bazelmans, O.Praem Berne Abbey (Holland), to establish a Norbertine mission in the United States

Most Reverend Joseph John Fox, fifth Bishop of Green Bay (1904-1914)

  • Strong interest in education and advancement of parochial school system
  • Built new episcopal residence (now the Chancery)
  • First and only native son of the diocese to become its bishop

Most Reverend Paul Peter Rhode, sixth Bishop of Green Bay (1914-1945)

  • Founded 10 parishes and 19 parochial schools
  • Created local Catholic Charities and diocesan department of education
  • Responsible for founding a number of benevolent diocesan institutions

Most Reverend Stanislaus Vincent Bona, seventh Bishop of Green Bay (1945-1967)

  • Sixty-seven grade schools and four high schools built and many others were expanded
  • Holy Family College  built
  • Founding of Sacred Heart Seminary, to educate men in the Diocese interested in pursuing the priesthood
  • Established a diocesan newspaper
  • Adjusted the social welfare program of Catholic Charities to meet new needs, including those of migrant farm workers.

Most Reverend Aloysius Wycislo, eighth Bishop of Green Bay (1968-1983)

  • Directed implementation of the Vatican Council II in the Diocese as one of the Fathers of the Council
  • Established permanent diaconate program to prepare single and married men to be ministers of service
  • Oversaw developments in areas of social concern, including services for Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong, and Hispanic refugees; established commissions for youth, scouting, ministry to the deaf and handicapped, and pro-life concerns; urban ministry for Native Americans

Most Reverend Adam Joseph Maida, ninth Bishop of Green Bay (1984-1990)

  • Appointed first female chancellor and named first female parish director in the Diocese
  • Established diocesan planning council and ministry formation program
  • Initiated diocesan census
  • Implemented RCIA process
  • Oversaw the Lumen Christi campaign, which  raised $9 million to endow educational  ministries in the Diocese

Most Reverend Robert Joseph Banks, tenth Bishop of Green Bay (1990-2003)

  • Restructured diocesan administration by appointing Vicar for Administration, Assistant to Vicar and establishing Bishop's Advisory Council
  • Implemented study of diocesan schools and development of school policies
  • Initiated parish planning study process to guide merging and closing of parishes
  • Introduced Renew 2000 in the Diocese
  • Served as chair of the Bishops' Committee on Education and member of the Bishops' Committee on the Catechism; served as chair of the National Catholic Education Association
  • Implemented an ongoing program of parish visitation

Most Reverend David Allen Zubik, 11th Bishop of Green Bay (2003-2007)

  • Created a new Diocesan Department of Evangelization and Worship
  • In response, to the 2025 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, created the  Initiative for Safe Environments, which aggressively monitors background checks and requiring safe environment training for all paid staff and volunteers at all parishes, schools and diocesan facilities.
  • Initiated a three-year stewardship campaign, "Advancing the Mission," to strengthen vibrant parish ministries, leadership development, evangelization, life-long catechesis, and priestly retirement care

Most Reverend David Laurin Ricken, 12th Bishop of Green Bay (2008- )

  • Expanded vocation and youth ministry through the  St. Joseph Formation Center in Baileys Harbor
  • Issued the December 8, 2010, "Decree on the Authenticity of the Apparitions of 1859 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help™" in Champion, Wisconsin, to Adele Brise
  • Issued three pastoral letters: ”A New Moment for Cathechesis in the Diocese of Green Bay” (2009); “Pastoral Statement on Living Justice in the Diocese of Green Bay “ (2011); and “Parishes:  Called to be Holy, Fully Engaged, Fully Alive” (2011)

Contact Us

Chancery Building
1825 Riverside Drive
Green Bay, WI 54305-3825
Phone: (920) 272-8195
Fax: (920) 435-1330
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