Facts & Figures
Glenmary Home Missioners
(aka The Home Missioners of America Inc.)
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.
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.
Glenmary was founded in 1939 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Father William Howard Bishop, a rural pastor from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, who acquired the sponsorship of Cincinnati Archbishop John T. McNicholas. Since its founding, 190 men have made Final Oaths with Glenmary.
Priests and Brothers
As of Jan. 1, 2018, there are 28 priests and 13 brothers within Glenmary. The society has 15 students in formation. Of those 15, 13 are preparing for missionary priesthood, and two for missionary brotherhood.
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 also administered by lay staff.
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.
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