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 has 217 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 Archdiocesan parishes.
Mass is celebrated in nine different languages each Sunday within Archdiocesan parishes. Within the area are six Catholic nursing homes, four Catholic hospitals, ten retreat centers, and six monastic communities. Currently, 495 priests, 1,400 religious sisters, brothers, deacons, and thousands of lay personnel and volunteers serve in the parishes and in many other ministries.
Quality Catholic education is a high priority within the Archdiocese. There are more than 80 elementary and 12 secondary schools which serve a total Catholic student enrollment of over 34,000. Approximately 48,400 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 troubled children, 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.