Knoxville, Diocese of

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The Diocese of Knoxville was established on Sept. 8, 1988. The Most Reverend Anthony J. O'Connell, D.D., was appointed its first bishop. When O'Connell was appointed bishop of Palm Beach in 1999, he was succeeded by Msgr. Joseph E. Kurtz of the Diocese of Allentown. With an area of 14,242 sq. miles, the diocese comprises 36 counties in the eastern portion of the state of Tennessee and is situated in a rural area where some of the poorest counties in the nation are located. At the beginning of the 21st century, Roman Catholics comprised around two percent of the total population, distributed in 43 parishes and two missions. The diocesan newspaper is The East Tennessee Catholic.

[f. x. mankel/eds.]