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Former Archbishops

A listing of the past archbishops of Milwaukee.

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Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan

In 1994, Archbishop Dolan was appointed rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome where he served until June 2001. While in Rome, he also served as a visiting professor of Church History at the Pontifical Gregorian University and as a faculty member in the Department of Ecumenical Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. The work of the Archbishop in the area of seminary education has influenced the life and ministry of a great number of priests of the new millennium.


Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland

Archbishop Weakland was a past-Chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' ad hoc Committee on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy which drafted the U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Letter on the Economy and past-Chairman of the NCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.


Archbishop William E. Cousins

During his time as archbishop, Cousins worked to implement the changes directed by the second Vatican council in one of the most uncertain times in the history of the archdiocese. It is speculated that his even hand spared the archdiocese the level of polarization experienced in other American dioceses of the post-conciliar time.


Archbishop Albert Gregory Meyer

Building projects during Archbishop Meyer's episcopacy produced the greatest building activity in the history of the diocese. During the five years of Meyer’s episcopate, 17 new parishes were established and five missions were converted to parish status.


Archbishop Moses Elias Kiley

The diocese celebrated its centennial under Kiley in 1943. Due to the centennial celebration, he was charged with restoring the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, which had been gutted by a major fire in 1935. He also rebuilt the St. Aemillian orphanage, renovated Saint Francis Seminary, and converted Pio Nono High School into Saint Francis Minor Seminary.


Archbishop Samuel Alphonsus Stritch

Stritch called for the first National Catholic Social Action Conference, held in Milwaukee in 1938. He played a particularly important role in mobilizing support behind the Catholic Action movement sanctioned by Pope Pius XI. The movement invited the laity to participate in the apostolate of the hierarchy.


Archbishop Sebastian Gebhard Messmer

Known as the “Archbishop of Christian Charity,” Messmer personally contributed a sizeable amount of the funds for a charitable bureau that he created in 1916. The Bureau drew the various child protective organizations in the diocese under a central administration. Charitable institutions for the sick, orphaned, poor and aged more than doubled during Messmer’s administration.


Archbishop Frederick Xavier Katzer

During his time in office, Archbishop Katzer strongly supported and promoted the growth of Catholic schools, and successfully advocated the repeal of the Bennett Law in 1890. This legislation would have mandated English instruction in all public schools and was seen as an attack on parochial schools.


Archbishop Michael Heiss

During his administration, Archbishop Heiss stabilized the finances of the archdiocese, introduced the parish tax, regularized the legal status of parishes, and formed the first archdiocesan school board. He also encouraged American-born women in the archdiocese to enter religious communities.


Archbishop John Martin Henni

Archbishop Henni worked tirelessly to build the new diocese and expand the Catholic following. He established many new parishes, the first parochial schools, Catholic hospitals, and Catholic orphanages. He also established Saint Francis Seminary out of his residence in 1845.


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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
St. Francis, WI 53235

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408