Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville

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Diocese of Evansville
Dioecesis Evansvicensis
CoA Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville.svg
Location
Country United States
Territory Southwestern Indiana &
Lower Wabash Valley
Ecclesiastical province Indianapolis
Statistics
Area 12,684 km2 (4,897 sq mi)
Population
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2010)
507,553
83,343 (16.4%)
Parishes 60
Information
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established October 21, 1944 (69 years ago)
Cathedral St. Benedict Cathedral, Evansville, Indiana
Patron saint Mary, Mother of God
Secular priests 72
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Charles C. Thompson
Emeritus Bishops Gerald Gettelfinger
Map
Map of the Diocese of Evansville
Map of the Diocese of Evansville
Website
www.evansville-diocese.org

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville (Latin: Dioecesis Evansvicensis) is a division of the Roman Catholic Church in Southwestern Indiana. On October 21, 1944, the Diocese of Indianapolis was split into the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Diocese of Evansville. At the same time, all of Indiana split away from the Ecclesiastical Province of Cincinnati to form the new Ecclesiastical Province of Indianapolis.

The Diocese of Evansville includes all or part of 12 counties in Southwestern Indiana. (Harrison Township in Spencer County, where St. Meinrad Archabbey is located, is part of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.) There are 507,553 people in the territory that makes up the diocese, according to the 2010 census, and 83,343 are Catholic.

The diocese is divided into 60[1] parishes grouped into 7 deaneries, which are served by 72 diocesan priests along with several religious order priests.

History[edit]

St. Benedict's Cathedral
Basilica of St. Francis Xavier (Old Cathedral), Vincennes

The Diocese of Evansville was founded on October 21, 1944, at which time it included 5 deaneries (Evansville, Jasper, Vincennes, Princeton, and Washington), 63 parishes and missions, 49,737 Catholics, and 75 diocesan priests. Henry Grimmelsman,a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in suburban Columbus, Ohio, was named the first bishop, and Assumption Church in downtown Evansville was named the cathedral. The diocese purchased the John Augustus Reitz Home from the Daughters of Isabella for use as the chancery and bishop’s residence.

The Catholic population of the diocese grew rapidly in the post-war years and 12 new parishes were founded between 1944 and 1962 among suburban areas of Evansville and Jasper and the small towns of Fort Branch and Bloomfield, while mission churches in New Harmony and Oakland City were elevated to parish status. The population growth necessitated the building of new schools as well, and three high schools in Evansville – Mater Dei on the west side, Rex Mundi on the north side, and Magister Noster, a high school seminary – were founded, along with high schools in Ferdinand, Loogootee, and Vincennes, and a college operated by the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand. Catholic social institutions also experienced growth with the founding of Memorial Hospital, sponsored by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, in Jasper, and the construction of a new facility on Evansville’s east side for St. Mary’s Medical Center, sponsored by the Daughters of Charity.

In contrast to other areas of the diocese, the population of downtown Evansville was experiencing decline, and Assumption Cathedral was closed in 1965. The buildings were razed and the land sold for use in the construction of a new government complex (the federal building stands on the former Assumption site). Holy Trinity church, also downtown, and the home of the chancery since 1957, was named the pro-cathedral, or temporary cathedral.

1965 also brought the retirement of Bishop Grimmelsman. Paul Leibold, an auxiliary bishop in Cincinnati, was appointed to lead the Evansville diocese. Bishop Leibold left the diocese just over three years later, though, when he was appointed archbishop of Cincinnati. Francis Shea of the Diocese of Knoxville was named Evansville’s third bishop in 1969.

A new mission church was opened in the growing town of Santa Claus in 1967, and in 1970, St. Francis Xavier church in Vincennes, the oldest parish in Indiana, was named a basilica. Although the two nursing homes in the diocese, St. John Home in Evansville and the Providence Home in Jasper, both built expanded facilities in the 1970s, the strong growth of diocesan institutions generally abated in that decade. The recently opened high schools in Ferdinand and Loogootee were sold to the local public school districts. Rex Mundi and Magister Noster High Schools in Evansville were closed; Rex Mundi was sold to Ivy Tech Community College, and the chancery moved from Holy Trinity church to the former Magister Noster building. St. Benedict College in Ferdinand was closed, and the high schools in Vincennes consolidated. In Sullivan County, two mission churches, St. Ann in Shelburn and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Dugger, closed in 1978 and 1982, respectively.

Bishop Shea retired in 1989, and Gerald Gettelfinger, the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, was appointed the diocese’s fourth bishop. Several parishes built new churches in the 1990s, and the mission in Santa Claus, the last in the diocese, became a parish. As the number of priests in the diocese began to decline and population shifted from rural areas to suburban areas, three rural parishes in Daviess County, St. Patrick in Corning, St. Mary in Barr Township, and St. Michael, north of Montgomery, were closed in 1997. St. Patrick and St. Mary became chapels, while St. Michael was razed. In 1999, Bishop Gettelfinger named St. Benedict, the largest church building in Evansville, as the new cathedral for the diocese, which had not had a permanent cathedral since Assumption was closed in 1965.

Recognizing the influx of Latin American Catholics into the diocese, a Hispanic ministry center was opened in 2000. Although the number of priests continued to decrease, the diocese began to ordain several large classes of permanent deacons. In 2008, St. Mary and St. Simon parishes in Washington merged to become Our Lady of Hope Parish, and St. Mary church was closed and razed. Faced with a declining number of priests and demographic shifts, the diocese began a formal planning process beginning in 2009 to allocate resources for the future. A new high school, named for John Paul the Great, was opened in Jasper in 2009; however the school was closed at the end of the 2011/12 school year due to low enrollment.

In 2011, Charles Thompson, the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Louisville, was appointed the fifth bishop of the diocese, replacing the retiring Bishop Gettelfinger.

On July 1, 2014, a decree from Bishop Thompson merged several parishes, since the population no longer demanded as many parishes as it did during the mid-20th century. At the same time, the Diocese returned to enforcing a long-waived rule that no priest may say Mass more than three times on Sunday (including the evening vigil on Saturday), meaning some of the newly merged parishes would have no Sunday Masses at all.[1]

Diocesan Bishops[edit]

  1. Henry Joseph Grimmelsman (1944–1965)
  2. Paul Francis Leibold (1966–1969)
  3. Francis Raymond Shea (1969–1989)
  4. Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger (1989–2011)
  5. Charles Coleman Thompson (2011—)

Parishes[edit]

Parish names in bold print. Except where otherwise indicated, a parish consists of a single church bearing the same name.




Education[edit]

Map of schools in the Diocese of Evansville
Primary Schools
  • St. Benedict School, Evansville
  • Christ the King School, Evansville
  • Good Shepherd School, Evansville
  • Holy Rosary School, Evansville
  • Holy Spirit School, Evansville
  • St. Theresa School, Evansville
  • Corpus Christ School, Evansville
  • Holy Redeemer School, Evansville
  • Resurrection School, Evansville
  • Westside Catholic School, Evansville
  • St. Joseph School, St. Joseph
  • St. Matthew School, Mt. Vernon
  • St. Philip School, St. Philip
  • St. Wendel School, St. Wendel
  • Holy Family School, Jasper
  • Precious Blood School, Jasper
  • St. Bernard School, Rockport
  • St. John the Baptist School, Newburgh
  • Holy Cross School, Fort Branch
  • Ss. Peter and Paul School, Haubstadt
  • St. Joseph School, Princeton
  • St. James School, St. James
  • Flaget Elementary School, Vincennes
  • Washington Catholic Elementary School, Washington
Secondary Schools

Healthcare[edit]

Hospitals
Nursing Homes

Religious Orders[edit]

Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind.

Several religious orders are active in the diocese:

Arms[edit]

Arms of Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville
CoA Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville.svg
Notes
Arms was designed and adopted when the diocese was erected
Adopted
1944
Escutcheon
The diocesan arms consists of two blue rivers at the base of a white wall, looked down upon by a white crescent moon.
Symbolism
The white wall represents a city, being that of the See City of Evansville. The two rivers are the Wabash and Ohio Rivers which border the diocese on the west and south respectively. The crescent moon represents Mary the Mother of God, the patroness of the Diocese of Evansville.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj Tim Lilley (27 Sep 2013). "Bishop announces parish changes in first phase of Diocesan Strategic Plan". The Message 44 (4): 1-2. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Most Reverend Charles C. (10 April 2014). Decree (Speech). Catholic Center. Catholic Diocese of Evansville. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°58′38″N 87°33′02″W / 37.97722°N 87.55056°W / 37.97722; -87.55056