Discover the Archdiocese of Cincinnati

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati (LatinArchidioecesis Cincinnatensis) covers the southwest region of the U.S. state ofOhio, including the greater Cincinnati and Dayton metropolitan areas. The Archbishop of Cincinnati is Most Rev. Dennis Marion Schnurr.


In total, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati encompasses 230 parishes in 19 counties, as of 2005, with the total membership of baptized Catholics around 500,000. The Archdiocese administers 110 associatedparochial schools and diocesan elementary schools. Its mother church is the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, located at the corner of 8th and Plum Streets in Downtown Cincinnati.
Cincinnati is the metropolis of the Ecclesiastical Province of Cincinnati, which encompasses the entire state of Ohio and is composed of the Archdiocese and its five suffragan diocesesClevelandColumbus,SteubenvilleToledo, and Youngstown.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is bordered by the Diocese of Toledo to the north, the Diocese of Columbus to the east, the Diocese of Covington to the south, and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Diocese of Lafayette to the west.


The Diocese of Cincinnati was erected on 19 June 1821 by Pope Pius VII from territory taken from theRoman Catholic Diocese of Bardstown. At the time there was an unwritten prohibition against the building of Catholic churches in Cincinnati. The first church was therefore constructed just outside its boundaries. The diocese lost territory on 8 March 1833 when Pope Gregory XVI erected the Diocese of Detroit and again on 23 April 1847 when Pope Pius IX erected the Diocese of Cleveland.
On July 19, 1850, Pope Pius IX elevated the diocese to an Archdiocese. On March 3, 1868 the archdiocese lost territory when His Holiness erected the Diocese of Columbus.
In November 2003, following a sexual abuse scandal and two-year investigation by the Hamilton County prosecutor's office, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk entered a plea of nolo contendere regarding five misdemeanor charges of failure to report allegations of child molestation. No criminal judgment was rendered on the allegations themselves, only on the diocese's failure to report the allegations.

Bishops and Archbishops

The following is a list of the Ordinaries of Cincinnati (years of service in parentheses):

Auxiliary Bishops

Affiliated Bishops

The following men began their service as priests in Cincinnati before being appointed bishops elsewhere (years in parentheses refer to their years in Cincinnati):


The Archdiocese also includes 92 parochial and diocesan elementary schools, with a combined enrollment of 30,312, as of 2011 (ACE Consulting 2011, p. 91). These schools can be found in the urban and suburban areas of Cincinnati and Dayton, as well as some of the smaller towns within the Archdiocesan boundaries. Each parochial school is owned and operated by its parish, rather than by the Archdiocese's Catholic Schools Office. However, in March 2011, the Archdiocese announced its intention of eventually unifying the schools under one school system. The currentSuperintendent of Catholic Schools is Dr. Jim Rigg.
Five of the high schools are named after former archbishops of the diocese. A parochial elementary school in Dayton is also named after Archbishop Liebold.
The Archdiocese sponsors the Athenaeum of Ohio – Mount St. Mary's Seminary of the Westseminary in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati.



The Archdiocese is served by The Catholic Telegraph, the diocesan newspaper, which is described on its website as the United States' oldest continuously published Catholic diocesan newspaper. Its defunct sister newspaper, Der Wahrheitsfreund, was the first German Catholic newspaper in the country.

Radio stations

Several area Catholic radio stations, owned by separate entities, serve the Archdiocese:

Other stations reach into portions of the Archdiocese:

Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr welcomes you to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s website. Archbishop Schnurr is the 10th leader and the 9th Archbishop of Cincinnati, succeeding to the office on December 21, 2009.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, rich in history and sprawling in geography, is a microcosm of the Catholic Church in the United States – and of the nation itself. In its 19 counties one finds cities and towns; suburbs and rural areas; farms and factories; affluence and poverty. In some reaches of the Archdiocese the Catholic population is heavy, in others it is sparse. But in all of them, the local church is a venerable presence and a continuing influence for more than half a million Catholics and their neighbors through its churches and chapels, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and retreat centers. It has been that way almost from the beginning of the diocese.
Early 19th century Catholic settlers to what is now Ohio were under the spiritual care of the Diocese of Bardstown, Ky. Priests from Kentucky occasionally went north of the Ohio River on missionary visits. One such missionary was Edward D. Fenwick, a Maryland-born Dominican priest who had established a province for his order in Kentucky. His efforts on behalf of the growing number of Irish and German Catholic immigrants in the Ohio Valley led to the creation of the Diocese of Cincinnati in 1821, with Father Fenwick as its first bishop. It was just two years after the first Catholic Church was built in Cincinnati at what is now the corner of Liberty and Vine Streets.
Many of Bishop Fenwick’s visionary actions are still bearing fruit more than 180 years later. For example, he founded a diocesan newspaper called The Catholic Telegraph. Stagecoach and riverboat carried it throughout the diocese and beyond. Today, the Telegraph is the oldest continuously published Catholic newspaper in the United States. And its reach extends worldwide through the archdiocesan web site.
Bishop Fenwick opened a school for the rapidly growing diocese in 1824 with 24 pupils under the direction of a Sister of Mercy from France and a lay woman. In the 21st century, the seed that he planted has grown into the ninth largest federation of Catholic schools in the country. These Catholic schools are everybody’s schools, welcoming students from different academic, social, economic and religious backgrounds. In the urban areas of Dayton and Cincinnati, where special funds make Catholic education available to families of limited means, half the students are not Catholic.
Also still flourishing is the Athenaeum of Ohio/ Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, the first Catholic seminary built west of the Alleghenies and today the third oldest in the country. It has its roots in St. Francis Xavier Seminary, which Bishop Fenwick began in 1829 with four seminarians. In a long history involving several names and locations, almost 60 bishops received their priestly education at what is now the Athenaeum. Today this institution also trains men and women for lay ministry.
The Archdiocese is fortunate to have four other Catholic institutions of higher learning: the College of Mount St. Joseph (Sisters of Charity) and Xavier University (Jesuit) in Greater Cincinnati; Chatfield College (Ursuline Sisters) in Brown County; and the University of Dayton (Marianist). Although none of them is owned or operated by the Archdiocese, each is an important Catholic presence under the spiritual leadership of the Archbishop of Cincinnati.
The original Diocese of Cincinnati was massive in geographic size, including all of Ohio, Michigan, and part of the Northwest Territories. By the middle of the 19th century, the diocese was confined to the southwestern corner of Ohio but elevated to an archdiocese.  Today it encompasses about 220 parishes in 8,500 square miles administratively divided into three areas – Cincinnati, Dayton and the Northern Area.
The central administrative offices for the Archdiocese are located in Cincinnati at 100 E. Eighth Street, with other offices at Dayton and Sidney. Supported by these offices, parishes and schools operate with a measure of autonomy.
Also located in Cincinnati is the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, the most important church in the Archdiocese. A cathedral is important because it holds the cathedra, or chair, which is the symbol of the bishop’s teaching authority in the local Christian community. In a sense the Cathedral is the bishop’s church, although it also has a rector. Many of the key rites of a diocese, such as the ordination of new priests, take place in the cathedral. The Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, at Eighth and Plum Streets, was the biggest cathedral west of the Alleghany Mountains when it was built in 1845 to serve a rapidly expanding immigrant Catholic population. One architectural authority called it “the handsomest and most monumental of Greek Revival Churches.”
Dayton is the second largest industrial and population area of the Archdiocese, with archdiocesan branch administrative offices at Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk Center on Needmore Road. It was the birthplace of two recent archbishops of Cincinnati, Daniel E. Pilarczyk and the late Paul F. Leibold.
The most heavily rural portion Archdiocese lies to the north of Dayton. In the northernmost counties, Mercer and Auglaize, the most significant features of the landscape are the farms and the steeples of the many Catholic churches. In fact, west central Ohio is well known as the Land of the Cross Tipped Churches.  Many of the towns have the same name as the local Catholic parish – St. Anthony, St. Henry, St. Joseph, St. Peter, St. Rose, St. Sebastian and St. Wendelin. This area of the diocese is also home to the Marian Shrine of the Holy Relics, a beautiful chapel which pilgrims visit to see its collection of more than 1000 relics of holy men and women.
Amidst this grand diversity of the archdiocese, the uniting force is the leadership of the archbishop. The See of Cincinnati has been blessed with nine worthy successors to Bishop Fenwick. Today Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr is leading this local church with the help of a strong tradition of Catholic community leadership and the prayers of the faithful.



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