The history of the Diocese of Peoria can be traced back to the beginnings of European exploration and early missionaries. Established in 1877, the diocese is spread over an area of more than 16,900 square miles and serves over 200,000 Catholics in nearly 25 counties in Illinois. The church includes various ministries that include finance, youth, young adult, bereavement and Hispanic outreach. Its family life division offers pastoral services and marriage and family counseling. The Diocese of Peoria also includes the office of development and stewardship that provides material support to the ministries of the diocese, primarily through the annual diocesan appeal and seminarian endowment fund. In addition, its office of respect life and human dignity provides consultation and training to pastoral leaders with life issues. The diocese maintains a presence in Peoria, Ill.