Pope names Father John Stowe as new Lexington bishop

Father John Stowe

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Pope Francis appointed Conventual Franciscan Father John Stowe as the Third Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington.

The Lexington diocese was left vacant when the pope appointed Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, Second Bishop of Lexington, as the Bishop of Harrisburg, PA.

Father John Stowe was born April 15, 1966, in Lorain, OH. Bishop-elect Stowe earned a Masters of Divinity and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in the field of Church History from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. In December, 2002, Bishop-elect Stowe was invited to serve the Diocese of El Paso as Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General. He later also served as Chancellor of the diocese.

Pope St. John Paul II established the Diocese of Lexington from portions of the Archdiocese of Louisville, one of the oldest dioceses in the nation, and the Diocese of Covington, KY, in March, 1988. Bishop-emeritus J. Kendrick Williams retired in 2002, and was succeeded by Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, who guided the diocese from 2003 to 2014, when Bishop Gainer was named the Bishop of Harrisburg, PA.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington encompasses 50 counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky with 63 parishes and 48,000 congregants.