Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - A big change for Catholics in southeast Minnesota and a Rochester church is playing a major role.

It was announced Tuesday that the Diocese of Winona will now be called the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. As part of the change, St. John the Evangelist Church of Rochester will be designated as a co-cathedral.

According to Bishop John Quinn, the change is being made in large part because of the changes that have occurred since the diocese was formed in Winona nearly 130 years ago. Quinn says when the diocese was founded, Winona was a key location, by railroad and the Mississippi River. Since then, Rochester has become the third largest city in Minnesota.

Quinn says the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona will not change in status. It will continue to be the seat of the diocese and will host diocesan celebrations and Masses, and ordinations.

“This is a significant moment in our diocese’s history,” said Quinn of the Vatican’s announcement. “My heart is lifted by this news as I know that the presence of a co-cathedral in Rochester will provide unique ways to share the gospel in our diocese’s fastest growing city.”

A liturgical ceremony is scheduled for June 24 at which the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Pope Francis’ delegate to the United States, will formally designate St. John the Evangelist Church as the co-cathedral. During this ceremony, a new cathedra, or bishop’s chair, will be blessed, bearing witness to the apostolic ministry of sanctifying, teaching, and shepherding.  

The new title, “Diocese of Winona-Rochester” throughout the parishes, schools and diocesan institutions should be completed by July 1.

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