One hundred and twenty eight years after the founding of the Diocese of Winona, Rochester had grown to become the diocese’s most populous city, and the third largest city in Minnesota, with three quarters of the diocesan population living in the area between Rochester and Mankato. To build a greater presence in Rochester, it became apparent that the diocese would be well-served by a co-cathedral.
In 2015, an initial inquiry was sent to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, asking for the designation of a co-cathedral in Rochester.
The Congregation for Bishops subsequently sent the diocese requirements for the process and directed the establishment of a diocesan planning committee. This committee determined that St. John the Evangelist Church should be elevated to the status of a co-cathedral.
The co-cathedral committee, and other groups involved, considered the size of the church building, location, architecture and overall ability to function as a co-cathedral. Other factors included its proximity to the Mayo Clinic, the arts, culture, media, and industry, which provided an opportunity for further evangelization by the local Church. Also considerable was St. John the Evangelist’s status as the “mother church” of Rochester, being the oldest parish in the city.
As soon as it was determined that St. John the Evangelist would be elevated to a co-cathedral, the diocese underwent a change in name from the Diocese of Winona to the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. On June 24, 2018, the Church of St. John the Evangelist was elevated to the dignity of a co-cathedral. Bishop of Winona-Rochester Most Rev.
John M. Quinn celebrated the Mass of Elevation, with Apostolic Nuncio Most Rev. Christophe Pierre and Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda as concelebrants.
Bishop Quinn blessed his new cathedra, or bishop’s chair, bearing witness to the apostolic ministry of sanctifying, teaching, and shepherding.