The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh comprises the 54 eastern counties of North Carolina, covering approximately 32,000 square miles. The diocese is divided into eight deaneries with a total of 80 parishes, 17 missions, and four centers for campus ministry. The diocese is served by 147 active diocesan and religious order priests. The diocese includes 230,945 registered and an equal amount of unregistered Catholics. In addition to the growing Hispanic population, the diocese has become home to an increasing number of Catholics from the African and Asian countries. Approximately five percent of the Catholic population is native to North Carolina.
On July 5, 2017, it was announced in Rome that our Holy Father Pope Francis appointed Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, to serve as the 6th bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh. He was installed August 29, 2017, at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.
In 1789, John Carroll was appointed the first Catholic Bishop in the United States. He headed the Diocese of Baltimore, which comprised the entire U.S. Not until 1820 were the first Dioceses established in the South: Richmond, Va., and Charleston, S.C. Charleston’s territory included the States of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Charleston’s Bishop, the Most Reverend John England, first visited North Carolina in 1821.