The Diocese of Lexington was established by Pope John Paul II in 1988. The Diocese was formed from parts of the Archdiocese of Louisville and the Diocese of Covington, covering almost 16,400 square miles and representing 50 counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky.
The Diocese of Lexington serves the Horse Capital of the world counties with its lavish horse-farms as well as central Appalachia. The 40 Appalachian counties of Lexington are the "other America," where 74 percent of children live below the federal poverty line.
The Catholic population of the diocese, at 3% of the total, is very small. In addition, an estimated 60% of the total population within the bounds of the diocese does not belong to any church or denomination, although most of the residents would identify themselves as Christian.
The city of Lexington and the surrounding counties are a center of commerce, transportation and education; within this generally prosperous area, however, there are many people in need. The majority of the counties within the diocese are rural and mountain areas, facing the challenges of high rates of unemployment, high rates of poverty, and the problems that affect communities when so many lack basic necessities. Thus, the Diocese of Lexington is designated as a mission diocese within the United States: the geographic, demographic and economic characteristics indicate an acute need to evangelize Gospel values and to provide outreach services elevating human dignity and eliminating human suffering.
Priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers can travel as many as 50,000 miles per year ministering to the people of God. If you feel called to serve in our Diocese, only three out of every hundred people you'll meet is a fellow Catholic. In the Appalachian counties, the figure is one in a hundred. Our Church is in need of men and women who have a calling to be missionaries. Men and women who will fall in love with the people of Appalachia. Our Catholic parishes have been known for offering people help with medical, economical, and personal emergencies, without regard for religious affiliation.
Did You Know?
Of Lexington's 63 parishes and missions, 38 need outside help just to keep the doors open. The community of Catholics in some mission churches may be as small as 25 people.