About the Diocese
St. John Paul II established the Diocese of Lexington on March 2, 1988, erecting it from portions of the Archdiocese of Louisville and the Diocese of Covington.
The diocese encompasses an area the size of Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island combined, half of which is in the heart of Appalachia. Roman Catholics comprise over 44,000 of the 1.5 million people in the area or 3% of the overall population, concentrated primarily in the larger cities and towns.
Of the 60 parishes in the diocese, roughly 40 rely on external funding to meet daily expenses. 12 parishes are missions to other parishes in the region. Thee diocese offers the Mission and Ministry Program, providing over $1 million annually for applicant parishes, schools, and outreach ministries in the mountains.
A Snapshot of the Diocese of Lexington
The mountains of Eastern Kentucky and the rolling hills of the Central Kentucky’s Bluegrass region are places of contrasts. The natural beauty and richness of the land belie the grinding poverty and desperation that also exists there. Some wealth stands cheek-to-jowl with deprivation… fine homes next to decrepit manufactured homes. Businesses trade in the same communities where a virtual barter economy still reigns. Beautiful vistas reside by devastated landscapes.
The extraction industries, mining and logging—long the life blood of the region, are dwindling, along with their dangerous but well-paying jobs. Minimum wage jobs are the norm. Many young people leave the area for greater opportunities.
Unemployment rates in most of the Appalachian counties run to 25% or more. Poverty afflicts over 30% of the population. Educational attainment is low, with over 75% of people over the age of 20 lacking a high school diploma. Access to healthcare professionals is well below the national average. Wolfe County, Kentucky, consistently ranks as one of the poorest counties in the United States, with a poverty rate of almost 31%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Beyond the urban areas, Catholics account for less than 1% of the population. While most people in the region self-identify as Christians, some 60% are unchurched. Outreach ministries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington - in all of these areas: education, material assistance, healthcare, etc. - are likely the only contact the needy will ever have with a religious community.
· 16,426 Square Miles
· 50 Counties
· 44,303 Members
· 60 Parishes
· 2 Oratories
· 43 Active Diocesan Priests
· 17 Active Religious Order Priests
· 85 Deacons
· 45 Women Religious
· 9 Seminarians
· 1 Accredited Secondary School
· 13 Accredited Primary Schools
· 13 Federal & State Prisons
About Today’s Presenter: Fr. Paul Prabell: A native of Kentucky, Fr. Paul Prabell has served in Central and Eastern Kentucky for 45 years. He has served as a parish priest, campus minister, and director of priests’ personnel. He presently is serving as the rector of Christ the King Cathedral in Lexington.
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