History & Facts

About

Detailed History

The seven deaneries of the diocese cover more than 25,000 square miles which includes all 39 counties in southern Missouri. Within the deaneries, 66 parishes, 17 missions, and five chapels, serve over 66,000 Catholics who comprise the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. The diocese has two cathedrals: St. Mary of the Annunciation Cathedral, Cape Girardeau, MO, and Cathedral of St. Agnes in Springfield, MO.

66

Parishes

17

Missions

5

Chapels

2

Cathedrals

How we came to be the Diocese
of Springfield-Cape Girardeau

More than a half-century after Marquette and Joliet sighted the present state of Missouri, rich lead deposits prompted the first permanent settlement at St. Genevieve. Three decades later, Pierre Laclede Liguest founded a trading post, St. Louis (1764). After 1804 when the formal transfer of the Upper Louisiana Territory was made at St. Louis to the US, the population grew rapidly and the area became Americanized. Present Missouri was part of the Diocese of Louisiana until the See of St. Louis was established (1826). At first, its territory was ill-defined, but by 1850, it was restricted to the present state boundaries.

The Diocese of St. Joseph was established in 1868, followed by Kansas City in 1880. Except for the assignment of 11 northeastern Missouri counties to St. Joseph in 1911, the ecclesiastical division of Missouri remained the same for 76 years.

In 1956, a third See was added and the territory completely realigned. The Archdiocese of St. Louis now included the city itself and nine surrounding counties. The three suffragan dioceses became Jefferson City, Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

Although all of the southern section and more than one-third of the state’s land mass is within the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, scarcely more than five percent are Catholics.

Founded in 1956, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau is a diverse community that spans 25,719 sq. miles across all 39 counties of the lower third of southern Missouri. We actively serve over 65,000 people within our 6 deaneries, 66 parishes, 26 schools, and 17 missions.

Our Patron Saints are St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, The Lady of Mercy, and Pope St. Pius X, Pope of the Blessed Sacrament.

PARIsHES

MISSIONS

CHAPELS

CATHEDRALS

Cathedrals: 2

Parishes: 66

Missions: 17

Chapels: 5

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PARISHES

MISSIONS

CHAPELS

CATHEDRALS

Founded in 1956, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau is a diverse community that spans 25,719 sq. miles across all 39 counties of the lower third of southern Missouri. We actively serve over 65,000 people within our 6 deaneries, 66 parishes, 26 schools, and 17 missions.

Our Patron Saints are St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, The Lady of Mercy, and Pope St. Pius X, Pope of the Blessed Sacrament.

History

The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was founded in 1956 and continues to grow in many ways. The diverse heritage and culture continue to bind the faith community and provide the strength for future growth. A copy of the recent diocesan CARA report provides a more in-depth look at the faithful of our diocese.

Established: August 24, 1956
Patron Saints: St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, The Lady of Mercy. Feast Day: November 18. 
St. Pope Pius X, Pope of the Blessed Sacrament. Feast Day: August 21

Past and Present Bishops:

The Most Rev. Charles H. Helmsing, DD — Aug. 24, 1956 – Jan. 27, 1962
The Most Rev. Ignatius J. Strecker, DD, STD — April 7, 1962 – Sept. 10, 1969
His Eminence William Cardinal Baum, STD — Feb. 18, 1970 – May 9, 1973
His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Law, DD — Oct. 22, 1973 – Jan. 23, 1984
The Most Rev. John J. Leibrecht, DD, PhD — Oct. 23, 1984 – Jan. 24, 2008
The Most Rev. James V. Johnston, Jr., DD, JCL — Jan. 24, 2008 – Nov. 4, 2015
The Most Rev. Edward M. Rice, — June 1, 2016 –
Territory: 25,719 square miles – 39 counties

Population (2010): 1,353,859

Catholic Population (2014, approx.): 65,632.
Parishes: 66
Missions: 17
Chapels: 4
Ordinariate: 1
School System: 23 elementary schools, 3 high schools
Oldest Parish: Immaculate Conception Parish in New Madrid – est. 1789
Newest Parish: St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Nixa – est. 2004

Chancery

The Catholic Center, home of the chancery or the Bishop’s staff, is located at 601 S. Jefferson Avenue in Springfield, MO. Formerly the home of Springfield Catholic High School, the building was renovated in 1989 to accommodate the ministry work of the bishop. Collaboration is made possible on the diocesan and parish level in Administration, Education, Ministry, Worship, and more.