Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville
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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville
Archdiocese of Louisville

Archidioecesis Ludovicopolitana
Cathedral Assumption Louisville.jpg
Cathedral of the Assumption
Coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Louisville
Coat of arms
CountryUnited States
TerritoryCentral Kentucky
Ecclesiastical provinceLouisville
MetropolitanLouisville, Kentucky
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2018)
1.1 million
218,000 (17.7%)
Schools46 K-12 Schools
3 Colleges/Universities
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 8, 1808
CathedralCathedral of the Assumption
Patron saintSaint Joseph
  • Joseph the Betrothed
  • Joseph the Worker
Current leadership
ArchbishopJoseph Edward Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
Archdiocese of Louisville.jpg

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville consists of twenty-four counties in the central American state of Kentucky, covering 8,124 square miles (21,040 km2). It is the seat of the Metropolitan Province of Louisville, which comprises the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. The cathedral church of the archdiocese is the Cathedral of the Assumption.


The Diocese began in 1808 when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bardstown centered in Bardstown, Kentucky, which was then a thriving frontier settlement. It was established along with the dioceses of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia by Pope Pius VII, (1742-1823, served 1800-1823), out of the territory of the Diocese of Baltimore, the first Catholic diocese in the United States, which was first "erected" (established) in 1789 with the first bishop in the US, John Carroll, who was ordained/consecrated in Britain in 1790. Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S. in April 2008 celebrated the 200th anniversary of the creation of these wider dioceses and the elevation of Baltimore to an archdiocese (known as "The Premier See"). When founded, the Bardstown Diocese included most of the new states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan--the western territories of America to the Mississippi River and the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

While Louisville is the oldest inland diocese in the United States, it is not the oldest west of the Appalachians. That distinction belongs to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans founded under Spanish rule in 1793, and which territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase became a part of the US in 1803, and Louisiana admitted as a state in 1812.

Benedict Joseph Flaget was the first Bishop of Bardstown. The historic Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral, the former cathedral of the Diocese of Bardstown, is now a parish church, and a national historic site.

While the French may have had initial influence in the formation of the Roman Catholic community in the Louisville area, eventually immigrants from Germany comprised the bulk of the Archdiocese's communicant strength later in the mid-19th century, particularly in the city of Louisville. However, much of the Catholic population in areas southeast of Louisville is of English extraction, consisting of descendants of recusants who originally settled in Maryland in colonial times.

In 1841, the diocese was moved from Bardstown to Louisville, becoming the Diocese of Louisville. The Diocese of Louisville was elevated in 1937 to become the Archdiocese of Louisville, and the "metropolitan" (supervising) province for all the dioceses in Kentucky and Tennessee with an Archbishop of Louisville. There are currently three deaneries: Elizabethtown, Lebanon, and Bardstown.


As of 2018, the archdiocese contains approximately 200,000 Catholics in 66,000 households, served by one hundred twenty-two parishes and missions. One half of all Catholics in the Commonwealth reside within the bounds of the Archdiocese of Louisville, and seventy-nine percent of all Catholics in the archdiocese (forty percent of all Catholics in the Commonwealth) reside in the Louisville Metro area. There are fifty-nine Catholic elementary and high schools serving more than 23,400 students. The archdiocese is home to one hundred sixty-six diocesan priests, one hundred twelve permanent deacons, fifty-two religious institute priests, seventy-seven religious brothers, and nine hundred forty-four religious sisters. The archdiocese serves more than 220,000 persons in Catholic hospitals, health care centers, homes for the aged, and specialized homes. Services, mother-infant care program, senior social services, and rural ministries services.

St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral


The lists of bishops and their years of service:

Bishops of Bardstown

  1. Benedict Joseph Flaget, S.S. (1808-1832)
  2. John Baptist Mary David, S.S. (1832-1833)

Bishops of Louisville

  1. Benedict Joseph Flaget, S.S. (1833-1850)
  2. Martin John Spalding (1850-1864), appointed Archbishop of Baltimore
  3. Peter Joseph Lavialle (1865-1867)
  4. William George McCloskey (1868-1909)
  5. Denis O'Donaghue (1910-1924)
  6. John A. Floersh (1924-1937)

Archbishops of Louisville

  1. John A. Floersh (1937-1967)
  2. Thomas Joseph McDonough (1967-1981)
  3. Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P (1981-2007)
  4. Joseph Edward Kurtz (2007-present)

Coadjutor bishops

Auxiliary bishop

Other priests of this diocese who became Bishops


High schools

Ten Catholic secondary schools serve more than 6,300 students. Eight of the schools are located in Jefferson County and one in Nelson County. Four of the schools enroll only girls, three enroll only boys, and two are coeducational.[1]





Elementary schools

Forty Catholic parish, regional, and special elementary schools serve more than 15,500 students in seven counties of the Archdiocese of Louisville.[2]

  • Saint Mary Academy, began in 2007 as a merger of Mother of Good Counsel Elementary School and Immaculate Conception School[3]
  • St. Andrew Academy was established in 2005 following the regionalization of three parish schools in Southwest Jefferson County. The three parish schools that united to combine St. Andrew were Our Lady of Consolation, St. Clement and St. Polycarp. In April 2008, the parishes of St. Clement, Our Lady Help of Christians, Our Lady of Consolation, St. Polycarp and St. Timothy combined to form St. Peter the Apostle. St. Andrew Academy is now the parish school of St. Peter the Apostle.[4]
  • Notre Dame Academy is a regional K8 school located in Louisville, Kentucky. The school was formed in 2004 from the merger of St. Denis, St. Helen, and St. Lawrence Schools.

Metropolitan Province of Louisville

Ecclesiastical Province of Louisville

The Metropolitan Province of Louisville covers the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, and comprises the following dioceses:

Legal Controversy

Sex abuse scandals

In 2003, the Archdiocese of Louisville paid $25.7 million directly from its own assets to settle claims of sexual abuse by its clergy. Reports of abuse extended back to the 1940s, were alleged to have continued to 1997, and involved 34 priests, two religious brothers, and three lay people.[5] In 2009, the Diocese of Covington paid 243 victims an average of $254,000 after they were victimized by 35 priests.[6] The total settlement, $79 million, was the sixth largest in the US (as of 2017).[6]

Joseph Hemmerle and Camp Tall Trees

In 2019, Father Joseph Hemmerle, who was convicted in 2016 for molesting a ten-year-old boy while serving at the Camp Tall Trees summer camp in 1973,[7][8] lost a bid for appeal.[8] Hemmerle, who was also denied parole in 2017,[9] is serving a seven-year prison sentence for this crime,[10] which was recommended following his conviction.[8][7] In 2017, he received an additional two years after pleading guilty to molesting another boy at Camp Tall Trees in 1977 and 1978.[11]

Notable figures in the history of the archdiocese

The Cathedra of the Archbishop of Louisville

Coat of arms

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville.svg
The coat of arms was designed and adopted when Archdiocese was erected
On a field of blue wavy white lines at bottom with the fortress at center with the three red arrows on it. Two fleur-de-lis and a white star are on top of it.
The field of blue symbolizes the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. The region is part of the Diocese of Lexington, but Kurtz will also be head of the Catholic province of Kentucky and Tennessee, hence the wider geographic view. The wavy white lines at bottom symbolize the Falls of the Ohio; the fortress-like horizontal white line at center left symbolizes the old fort at Corn Island on the Ohio river; and the three red arrows represent arrowheads and refer to the French and Indian War, which raged in these parts.

One fleur-de-lis represents Louisville's being named in honor of Louis XVI of France; the other represents the early French missionaries who brought the Catholic faith to the region, including pioneering Bishop Joseph Benedict Flaget. The white star represents Our Lady of the Assumption, patroness of the cathedral.

See also


  1. ^ "Archdiocese of Louisville: High Schools". Archdiocese of Louisville. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04.
  2. ^ "Archdiocese of Louisville: Elementary Schools". Archdiocese of Louisville. Archived from the original on 2007-11-03.
  3. ^ "Saint Mary Academy: Home - Louisville, KY". Saint Mary Academy.
  4. ^ "Saint Andrew Academy".
  5. ^ "Archdiocese of Louisville Reaches Abuse Settlement". The New York Times. June 11, 2003. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ a b Rowe, Peter. "Largest sexual abuse settlements by Roman Catholic institutions in the U.S."
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b c
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

Coordinates: 38°14?34?N 85°45?07?W / 38.24278°N 85.75194°W / 38.24278; -85.75194

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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