Covington, Diocese of

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Suffragan of the metropolitan See of louisville, the diocese of Covington (Covingtonensis ), Kentucky was established July 29, 1853, by Pius IX. Originally, it contained most of the eastern part of the state, including the sparsely populated mountains. At its inception, the Covington diocese was suffragan to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati; but in December, 1937, when Louisville was created a metropolitan see, Covington was translated to be one of its suffragans. When the Diocese of Lexington was created by Pope John Paul II in 1988, Covington's jurisdiction was reduced to the 14 counties lying largely along the Ohio River.

The first Bishop of Covington was Jesuit George Aloysius Carrell, who was consecrated Nov. 1, 1853, and died Sept. 25, 1868. When he assumed his post, he found within his jurisdiction six priests serving a scattered Catholic populace of 7,000. In all, there existed in the diocese six parishes, five missions, and nine stations. Successor prelates of the see have been: Augustus Maria Toebbe, consecrated 1870, died 1884; Camillus Paul Maes, consecrated 1885, died 1915; Ferdinand Brossart, consecrated 1916; resigned 1923. Francis William Howard, consecrated 1923, died 1944; William Theodore Mulloy, consecrated 1945, died 1959; Richard Henry Ackerman, transferred to Covington 1960, resigned 1978; William A. Hughes, appointed to Covington 1979. When Bishop Huges retired in 1995, he was succeeded in 1996 by Most Reverend Robert W. Muench, formerly auxiliary bishop in New Orleans.

Bishop Maes was largely responsible for the construction of the remarkable Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, laying the cornerstone of the Gothic masterpiece in September, 1895. It was raised to the rank of a minor basilica by Pius XII in 1953. Covington is also home to Thomas More College, originally founded as Villa Madonna in 1921. In 2000 Covington had some 87,000 Catholics in 47 parishes.

Bibliography: Archives, Diocese of Covington. b. j. webb, The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky (Louisville 1884). p. e. ryan, History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky (Covington 1954).

[p. e. ryan/eds.]