Discover the Diocese of Columbus

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus (LatinDioecesis Columbensis) is a Roman Catholic diocese in the Ecclesiastical Provinceof Cincinnati covering 23 counties in Ohio. The episcopal see of the diocese is situated at Columbus, Ohio. The diocese was erected on March 3, 1868 by Pope Pius IX out of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. On October 21, 1944 the diocese lost territory when Pope Pius XIIerected the Diocese of Steubenville.

Early history

The Catholic faith was brought in the area by the Dominican Order in Somerset, Ohio. They established St. Joseph's Parish in Somerset, which is the oldest parish in the state of Ohio, while under the direction of Edward Fenwick. These Dominican friars spread the faith in various areas of Central and Southern Ohio. Pennsylvania Germans and Irish immigrants settled in this part of the state, which led to the establishment of the older parishes. While the Germans and Irish settled in the southeastern part of Ohio, French immigrants came to the northern part of the diocese. In addition, small groups of Italians, Hungarians, and Slovaks moved into farming communities or in the city of Columbus.


The bishops of the diocese, in the order they served, are::

Affiliated Bishops


As of 2011, the Diocese of Columbus comprises 106 parishes and three missions. The parishes are divided into the following deaneries:
Center - South Columbus Deanery

Perry County-Zanesville Deanery

Tuscawaras-Holmes-Coshocton Deanery

Lancaster Deanery

Scioto County Deanery



High schools

Elementary schools


Former Hospitals
The following list are the closed hospitals of the Diocese, which stopped operations due to high costs and other factors:

Religious institutes

The Diocese of Columbus has many religious institutes of men and women serving in parishes, schools, colleges, and hospitals.

Religious priests and brothers

Dominicans (Province of St. Joseph)

Paulist Fathers

Precious Blood Fathers

Society of Jesus

Sons of the Immaculate Conception Congregation

Religious Sisters

Catholic radio within the Diocese

Other stations reaching into portions of the Diocese

The Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, D.D., PH.D., Bishop 2005-Present

The Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, D.D., Ph.D., was appointed Bishop of Columbus on October 14, 2004, by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.  He was installed as the 11th. Bishop of Columbus at St. Joseph Cathedral on January 13, 2005 and has served as the shepherd of the diocese since then.

Among his many community involvements, Bishop Campbell sits on the boards of Ohio Dominican University, Mother Angeline McCrory Manor, the Catholic Foundation, the Kinder Women’s Care Center, and the Pontifical College Josephinum, where he is the Vice Chancellor.
A native of Elmira, New York, Bishop Campbell earned a bachelor’s degree in history and foreign language from Saint Lawrence University, Canton, New York, and obtained his master’s degree and doctorate in history from The Ohio State University.  Prior to entering the seminary in 1976, he served as a history professor at the Pontifical College Josephinum and as an assistant professor of history at California State College in San Bernardino.  After studying at the Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis by the Most Reverend John R. Roach at the Cathedral of Saint Paul on May 31, 1980.  Campbell served as an associate pastor and pastor in the archdiocese until Pope John Paul II named him Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1999.  He was ordained to the Episcopate by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn on May 14 of that year in the Cathedral of Saint Paul.
In July 2002, Bishop Campbell became rector and vice president of the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.  He also served as chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate from 2004 to 2006. 

For spoken introductions:
The Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell has served as the 11 th. Bishop of Columbus since 2005.  Among his many community involvements, Bishop Campbell sits on the boards of Ohio Dominican University, Mother Angeline McCrory Manor, The Catholic Foundation, the Kinder Women’s Care Center and the Pontifical College Josephinum, where he is the Vice Chancellor.
A native of Elmira, New York, Bishop Campbell holds undergraduate and advanced degrees in history and foreign language.  He has taught history at the Pontifical College Josephinum and California State College in San Bernardino.  He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis by the Most Reverend John R. Roach in 1980 and a bishop by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn in 1999.

In 1808, Father Edward Fenwick, a Dominican priest, was asked by Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore to visit the Dittoe family living about 15 miles east of New Lancaster, Ohio, along the Zane Trace.  They had written to the bishop asking for a priest to visit and minister to them and other German Catholic families in their vicinity.  Upon finding the Dittoe family, Father Fenwick began the first known Catholic ministry in Ohio at what would become the town of Somerset, Ohio. 

As the Catholic population of Ohio grew, its first diocese - the Diocese of Cincinnati - was erected by the Vatican on June 19, 1821.  Father Fenwick was named Cincinnati's first bishop.  The Catholic population in Ohio grew during the 19th century, leading the Vatican erect the Diocese of Cleveland in 1847 and the Diocese of Columbus on March 3, 1868.  The new diocese including counties in central, south central, and southeastern Ohio, roughly running from the Scioto River on the west across to the Ohio River along the east.  The fledgling Diocese of Columbus comprised 32 parishes and 40 missions.  About 41,000 Catholics called the new diocese home.  Columbus' first bishop was Sylvester Rosecrans (1868-1878).  For the biographies of all of Columbus' bishops, click here.
During the late 19th and early 20th century, the diocesan population grew steadily.  By 1900 there were 60,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Columbus, and by 1940 there were 137,000 Catholics.   In the late 19th century, the diocese coped with a tremendous influx of immigrants from Europe who were settling in the eastern counties near mining and mill towns.  Each cultural group, such as Poles, Slovaks, Italians, Hungarians, Lithuanians, and so forth wanted parishes where their language was spoken and their culture was understood.
By the 1940s, language barriers were not as much of a problem as older immigrants came to better understand English and their children spoke English almost exclusively.  Over time the ethnic nature and patterns of diocesan parishes became blurred.  Today only two ethnic parishes remain in the Diocese of Columbus: Santa Cruz (Spanish) and St. John the Baptist (Italian), both located in Columbus.  All other parishes serve geographic regions.
Throughout the 20th century, the rural population of the Diocese of Columbus declined, with a major shift to urban life beginning in the 1920s.  After World War II, the Columbus city population began a major shift from urban setting to the suburbs.  With these shifts came changes in parishes.  As the people moved, the Church moved as well.  Parishes in some areas where the population dropped would be closed or consolidated occasionally and new ones opened in areas where the population boomed.
In 1944, the Vatican erected the new Diocese of Steubenville from the Ohio River counties on the eastern side of the Diocese of Columbus.  Additionally, a small strip of the eastern part of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was transferred to Columbus, giving the Diocese of Columbus its present configuration of 23 counties in central and south central Ohio. 

The post-World War II years brought tremendous growth, and the 1960s brought many changes, both culturally and in the Church as a result of the Second Vatican Council.  As the 20th century ended and a new millennium dawned, the Diocese of Columbus was the fastest growing in Ohio, with the Catholic population approaching 300,000 and served by 106 parishes, 219 priests, 90 deacons, 281 sisters, and countless lay ministers as of 2008.

Our Sponsors

This site is sponsored by Mendicant Marketing, a Catholic company specializing in Internet Marketing: Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, and more.