Of the seven Florida dioceses, the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee is the only one to qualify for mission status. It is also the largest and the least populated, extending the length of the Florida panhandle and covering two time zones. Traditionally, rural farming communities, forestry and the paper industry, and a strong military and naval presence, dominated the local economy. Times are changing fast, though. The white sand beaches along the Gulf Coast are drawing retirees, tourism is up, and Hispanic immigration is growing. As a result, the Catholic population has nearly doubled since the diocese was founded in 1985. This rapid transformation will bring new prosperity to the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in the long run, but in the short run it creates a need for pastoral services the diocese is ill equipped to offer. Each week, one priest celebrates seven Masses at his parish, one at the local hospital, one at the state prison, and five at the federal prison. There is no resident pastor at all in one of the 18 counties in the panhandle.
The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee has:
- 66,145 (5% of total population)
- 58 parishes and missions (11 without resident pastor)
- 50 active priests
11 North B Street
Pensacola, FL 32501