Our two parishes are in the Madison Diocese, which covers 11 counties in southwest Wisconsin (Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Sauk, Columbia, Dane, Green, Rock, GreenLake, Marquette, Jefferson). Our diocese is one of five Catholic Dioceses in the state of Wisconsin (the others are Superior, La Crosse, Green Bay, and Milwaukee—this last diocese is called an archdiocese by reason of its size and status with regard to its neighbors). Our diocese was formed in 1946 when Catholic populations in the La Crosse Diocese and the Milwaukee Archdiocese were getting very large. Territory from each was ceded to form the Madison Diocese.
Our diocese, like most others, is planning for the future by looking at shifting demographics. In 2006 the “Trusting in the Spirit” process called for the grouping of all parishes in the diocese into clusters and discussions about how best to use resources in these clusters. Our two parishes were placed in a 4-parish cluster with St. Mary’s in Marshall and St. Joseph’s in Waterloo.
Our two parishes are said to be “linked” and to be “in a linkage” because they are served by the same pastor. The other two parishes in our cluster, St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s, were in a linkage until they merged in July 2012, forming the single, new parish called Holy Family. The reason for a merger is to use resources more efficiently, including human resources. Since September 2012, our two parishes have begun preparing for a merger with a goal of completing it in a few years. When we merge, our two parishes will no longer exist, but they will form one new parish with a new name. Our two church buildings will keep their names: St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary Magdalene.
The Madison Diocese offers many ministries and services. The link to its website is here: www.madisondiocese.org