The diocese was established by the Vatican in 1850 (originally Minnesota and the Dakotas), and elevated to archdiocese 38 years later. Now comprising a 12 county area, the Archdiocese contains 188 parishes and is home to approximately 825,000 Catholics (roughly 25% of the population). During the past ten years, 100,000 new members have joined the archdiocesan Catholic family. Approximately 9,000 infants and 300 adults are baptized annually in parishes throughout the Archdiocese.
Mass is celebrated in nine different languages in parishes across the Archdiocese. Within the area are six Catholic nursing homes, four Catholic hospitals, ten retreat centers, and six monastic communities. Currently, 495 priests, 1,400 deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and tens of thousands of lay personnel and volunteers serve in parishes, Catholic schools and in many other ministries.
Quality Catholic education is a high priority in the Archdiocese. There are more than 90 Catholic schools, including 13 high schools, which serve a total Catholic student enrollment of over 30,000 children. In addition, 48,000 children and youth are enrolled in parish religious education programs.
Through various forms of social outreach, archdiocesan agencies help those in urgent need by providing nearly 3 million meals a year, over 5,000 places to sleep for the homeless, a home for children from troubled families, and 2,000 low-income housing units. Archdiocesan support programs serve and provide advocacy support for the poor, the handicapped, persons with AIDS, the divorced and separated, people in prison, refugees, and others with special needs. The Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental provider of social services in the United States.