Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville

Archdiocese of Louisville
Archidioecesis Ludovicopolitana
Country United States
Territory Central Kentucky
Ecclesiastical province Archdiocese of Louisville
Metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky
- Total

Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established April 8, 1808
Cathedral Cathedral of the Assumption
Patron saint

Saint Joseph

  • Joseph the Betrothed
  • Joseph the Worker
Current leadership
Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph Edward Kurtz

Archbishop of Louisville
Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville consists of twenty-four counties in Central Kentucky, USA, 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 archdiocese contains 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 order 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 diocese began in 1808 when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bardstown was established along with the dioceses of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia out of the territory of the Baltimore Diocese, the first Catholic diocese in the US. Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the US in April 2008 celebrated the 200th anniversary of the creation of these dioceses and the elevation of Baltimore to an archdiocese. When founded, the Bardstown Diocese included most of Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

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.

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.

While the French may have had initial influence in the formation of the 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 province for all the dioceses in Kentucky and Tennessee. There are currently three deaneries: Elizabethtown, Lebanon, and Bardstown.

Archbishops and Bishops



Past and Present Affiliated Bishops

Archbishop Kelly

The Most Reverend Thomas C. Kelly, O.P. was the ninth ordinary and third Archbishop and first member of the Dominican Order to head the Archdiocese of Louisville. He succeeded Archbishops Thomas J. McDonough (1967-1981) and John A. Floersh (1937-1967).


High schools

Nine 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]

Metropolitan Province of Louisville

The Cathedra of the Archbishop of Louisville

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

Notable figures in the history of the archdiocese

  • Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) – American Trappist monk and author, famed for his work in Buddhist-Christian relations. Entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1941.
  • Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget (1763–1850) was the first and only Bishop of Bardstown and the first Bishop of Louisville. Invariably called "the saintly Flaget," Bishop Flaget served as bishop from 1810 until his death in 1850.
  • Father Stephen T. Badin (1768–1853) – The "circuit rider priest." Served the area that would become the Diocese of Bardstown (and later the Archdiocese of Louisville.) The first priest to be ordained in the United States, Father Badin was known as overly strict but zealous.
  • Father John L. Spalding (1840–1916) helped found Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and was called the "Catholic Emerson" because of his many books of essays. Father Spalding later became the Bishop of Peoria, Illinois.
  • Father James C. Maloney (1911–1998) – founded Boys’ Haven in Louisville in 1948. His brother is Bishop Charles Maloney.
  • Monsignor Alfred F. Horrigan (1914–2005) was the founding president of Bellarmine College, now Bellarmine University. He also headed the city’s Human Relations commission and was a friend of Thomas Merton.


External links

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

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