About Us

Glenmary Home Missioners (aka The Home Missioners of America) was founded in 1939 by Father William Howard Bishop, a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, to serve what he termed "No Priest Land, USA." At that time, he noted that more than one-third of the counties of the United States, mostly in Appalachia and the South, had no resident priest. Father Bishop foresaw that this area—then as populous as Canada, as large as Mexico and covering one-fourth of the United States—could be lost to the Church unless this vast priestless "home mission" area was recognized by and designated a specific ministry of the Church.

Who We Are

  • A Catholic society of priests and brothers who, along with coworkers, are dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of people living in mission counties throughout Appalachia and the South.
  • Home missioners who work exclusively within the United States and who are dedicated to bringing the Catholic Church to people who live in counties where the Church is not effectively present. 
  • The Glenmary Sisters, who share a history and charism with Glenmary Home Missioners, are a separate religious community. Visit their website HERE.

Whom We Serve

  • The Catholic minority, by establishing a Church presence in areas where frequently less than 1 percent of the total population are Catholic.
  • The unchurched, by testifying to our faith in mission regions where a significant percentage of the people have no church affiliation.
  • The poor, through our outreach and work for social justice in counties where the poverty levels are almost twice the national average.

Where We Serve

Glenmary operates missions and ministries in the following dioceses:
  • Cincinnati (Ohio)
  • Covington (Kentucky)
  • Indianapolis (Indiana)
  • Jackson (Mississippi)
  • Knoxville (Tennessee)
  • Lexington (Kentucky)
  • Nashville (Tennessee)
  • Owensboro (Kentucky)
  • Raleigh (North Carolina)
  • Richmond (Virginia)
  • Savannah (Georgia)

How We Serve

  • Nurturing Catholics
  • Fostering ecumenism
  • Evangelizing the unchurched
  • Engaging in social outreach
  • Working for justice
  • Making connections to the universal Church

Facts and Figures

Purpose and Ministry

The purpose of the society is to establish the Catholic Church in rural regions of the United States, nurture the Catholic minority, and reach out to the unchurched and the poor. Ecumenical cooperation is a hallmark of Glenmary's style of home mission ministry. 


A society of Catholic priests and brothers committed to serving rural America. The name is derived from Glendale—the Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb where the group's headquarters was located until 1971—and Mary, the society's patroness under her title Our Lady of the Fields. Glenmary was founded in 1939 in Cincinnati, Ohio by Father William Howard Bishop. Originally a priest from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Father Bishop aquired the sponsorship of Cincinnati Archbishop John T. McNicholas to begin his great missionary outreach to "No Priest Land, USA." 

Priests and Brothers

As of July 5, 2018, there are 27 priests, 13 brothers and two transitional deacons awaiting priestly ordination within Glenmary. The society has nine students in formation.

Coworkers in Mission

Lay men and women partner in many ways with Glenmary members to carry out Glenmary's mission to rural America. Lay pastoral coordinators currently staff missions in Kentucky and North Carolina. The Glenmary Group Volunteer Program in Grainger County, Tenn. is administered by lay staff, and lay people comprise the majority of support staff.

Mission Facts

Glenmary currently staffs 10 missions and numerous ministries in the small towns and rural areas of Appalachia and the South. They minister to the spiritual and material needs of people in the following (arch)dioceses of Cincinnati, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Savannah, Ga., Lexington, Ky.

  • Nearly 1.5 million people live within Glenmary's mission territory. Of these, just under 11,000, or 0.7 percent, are Catholic.
  • A significant percent of the total population is unchurched (that is, does not attend any church on a regular basis).
  • The poverty level within Glenmary mission areas is almost twice the national average.
  • In the southern United States, 173 counties have no Catholic congregation. Another 196 have a Catholic congregation but no resident pastoral minister.

For more information, contact communications@glenmary.org.

Next: Glenmary leadership.