Diocese of Lexington to mark 25th anniversary June 1 and 2

The Diocese of Lexington, Ky., which was created from parts of the Archdiocese of Louisville and the Diocese of Covington, Ky., is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend, June 1 and 2.

Bishop of Lexington Ronald W. Gainer will celebrate a special 25th Anniversary Mass at 2:30 p.m. on June 2 at the Alltech Indoor Arena, part of the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, according to the diocese’s website, cdlex.org. He will be joined by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and other bishops from the Louisville province, which includes Kentucky and Tennessee.

On the eve of the Mass, the diocese will host a Family Fest set for June 1 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The website describes it as a “wholesome fun evening” at the Kentucky Horse Park. The park and its museum will be open free of charge beginning at 5 p.m., the website says. The festival also will include live music by Northern Kentucky singer-songwriter Lee Roessler, pony and hay rides and other family-friendly activities.

The Lexington Diocese encompasses about 16,000 square miles in 50 Kentucky counties, stretching from Central Kentucky to Appalachia, its website says.

It was created in 1988 from seven counties in the Archdiocese of Louisville and 43 counties in the Diocese of Covington. The Covington Diocese was reduced from 57 counties to 14 in the transition.

The new diocese reduced the Louisville archdiocese to its present 24 counties. Five parishes and five missions were located in the seven counties directed to Lexington: Anderson, Boyle, Lincoln, McCreary, Mercer, Pulaski and Wayne counties.

A story published in The Record in January 1988 quotes several parishioners who belonged to churches that joined the Lexington diocese. They were pleased, in general, they said, because they would be closer to diocesan offices, events and resources.

The new diocese’s first leader, Bishop J. Kendrick Williams, was originally a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville and a native of LaRue County, Ky. He was the auxiliary bishop of the Covington diocese in 1988.

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