Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral
With its cornerstone laid in July, 1816, the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral became the first Catholic diocese west of the Allegheny Mountains. (The Bardstown diocese was formed in 1808, along with the dioceses of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Before that, the only U.S. diocese was Baltimore.) The Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral is a National Landmark that contains fine paintings and altar adornments that were gifts from Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies, and Pope Leo XII. Site of a famous art theft in the 1950s, it is open for tours around regular services and weddings.
310 West Stephen Foster Ave., Bardstown, KY 40004; www.StJoeChurch.com, 502-348-3126
Bishop Flaget Log House and St. Thomas Church
The church and cabin date from 1812-1816. The single-floor log structure was the first home of St. Thomas Seminary – the first west of the Alleghenies, Flaget’s residence for seven years and the founding site of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Built by Thomas and Ann Gough Howard in 1795, it is the earliest structure related to the Catholic faith still standing in the Midwest region of the United States. Look for the unique crucifix in the adjoining cemetery that is the largest in Kentucky. Tours available by appointment.
870 Saint Thomas Lane, Bardstown, KY 40004; www.St-Thomasparish.org, 502-348-3717
Though established in 1844, the current church was built in 1929, after the previous 1886 church was destroyed in a fire. With more than 1,300 parishioners, St. Catherine continues to be the community’s backbone with an elementary school and community outreach ministries.
174 N. Main St., New Haven, Ky. 40051-6342
St. Gregory Church
The roots of St. Gregory Parish stretch into the early days of the Diocese of Bardstown. In 1827 Catholic settlers gathered for Mass at a farmhouse near the present site of St. Gregory Church. Occasional prayer gatherings continued until 1851, when Catholic families joined in building the first church at St. Gregory Cemetery. The present church, built in 1960, serves nearly 1,900 parishioners and rings with the voices of new families and new faces that intermingle with generations past.
391 Samuels Loop, Cox’s Creek, KY 40013; www.stgregoryparish.org
St. Michael Church
The beginnings of St. Michael Church dates back as early as 1792 when English Catholic pioneers settled in northern Nelson County along Cox’s Creek. These settlers gathered for worship in the homes of Clement and Henrietta Gardiner, Nicolas Miles and Thomas Gwynn. By 1800 some forty to fifty Catholic families were living in the locality which necessitated the establishment of a church. In 1807 the first church of St. Michael was built under the direction of Father Charles Nerinckx. The Cox’s Creek settlement of the early years became known as Fiarfield. The present brick church as built in 1883.
111 Church Street, Fairfield, KY 40020
St. Vincent Church at the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Motherhouse
Located on Hwy 31-E. The SCNS began in 1812 with Bishop David and Catherine Spalding at St. Thomas area. In 1822 they moved to their current location in on Hwy 31-E on the north side of Bardstown. Stroll the serenely picturesque grounds of the Nazareth campus on a self-guided walking tour, see the circa 1850 St. Vincent de Paul Church and explore the history of The Sisters of Charity in Heritage Hall there. The museum celebrates the order’s story and mission. Interpretive exhibits illustrate the leadership of the sisters in areas of education, health care and social services. Follow the signs on the campus to The Nazareth Visitor Center, which shows a 10-minute DVD of where the Sisters currently minister in 5 countries.
40 West Dr., Nazareth, KY 40048; www.SCNazarethKy.org, 502-348-1500
Did You Know . . . You can schedule a private retreat at the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Motherhouse. Includes overnight accommodations and meals at the Motherhouse. Enjoy quiet time to reflect on the beautiful grounds. Mass is celebrated daily in the historic St. Vincent Church.
Holy Rosary (Springfield)
Holy Rosary Church located on Rosary Heights in Springfield was established in 1929 by the Dominican Fathers of St. Rose Church. The church was founded to ensure that African American Catholics in the community could have their own church to promote faith, have a place for worship and maintain the identity and traditions of African Americans. The first church was completely destroyed by fire on election night in 1933. Plans were made immediately to rebuild and the present church was rededicated in 1934 by Louisville Archbishop John A. Floersh.
378 Rosary Height Rd, Springfield, KY 40069
Holy Rosary (Manton)
Situated on the waters of Hardin’s Creek in a village named Manton, formerly known as Blincoe, the church’s cornerstone was laid November 2, 1844. In the early years of its history, the church as a mission of Holy Cross Church. The first recorded baptism was that of a Joseph R. Berry, born July 12, 1866 of Thomas and Julia Berry. Father Patrick Thomas Faunt was pastor at the time. In February of 1932, the church became a mission of Holy Trinity Church of Fredericktown and this status remains the same to this day.
Hwy’s 605 & 1183, Manton, KY 40037
Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church was built in 1883 in the valley in central Kentucky where the Beech Fork River and Cartwright Creek meet. Nestled in one of the most beautiful valleys in Kentucky, Holy Trinity was established due to the tireless efforts and ardent desires of the citizens of the Fredericktown community. The original church was replaced in 1955 with an impressive structure built of Bedford stone. The same tower of the old church was placed in the copper tower of the new church. The Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph served the parish from 1916-1978. Church members still hold great gratitude for the Sisters’ sixty two years of service. The church currently serves many families from Nelson and Washington Counties.
306 Fredricktown Rd, Springfield, KY 40069
St. Dominic Church
St. Dominic Church in Springfield was first located on Armory Hill south of the railroad tracks and was dedicated in January, 1844. As church membership grew in the town in the mid-1800’s, a new location was secured on Main Street. The Record states that the lot chosen “is a magnificent one, situated on the Main Street of their beautiful town, elevated, ample and forming together a site surpassed by none in the diocese.” The new church was blessed in 1894 by Bishop McCloskey. St. Dominic Church did have a school in earlier years, but the present school was built in 1929 and was staffed by the Kentucky Dominican Sisters from St. Catharine Motherhouse. As membership grew once again, a church annex and auditorium were constructed and dedicated in 2010.
303 W. Main St., Springfield, KY 40069
St. Rose Priory
Founded in 1806, St. Rose Priory was the first foundation of the Dominican Friars (Order of Preachers) in the United States. The friars, who came from England, established St. Thomas of Aquin College (1812-1828), the first Catholic educational institute west of the Alleghenies. One of the famous names on the college’s roster is Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. The priory served as the novitiate for the St. Joseph Province intermittently for nearly 150 years. The original Tudor Gothic Church, built in 1809, is now the sanctuary of the current church. The frontal addition was constructed in 1855.
868 Loretto Rd., Springfield, KY 40069; www.op-stjoseph.org/dominican/St-Rose/default.htm, 859-336-3121
Holy Cross Church
Built in 1792, Holy Cross Church became the first Catholic church erected in the state and site of the first mass west of the Allegheny Mountains. A new church – built under the leadership of Rev. Charles Nerinckx and made of bricks rather than the logs that characterized the structure it replaced – was built from 1812 to 1823. The church is located in the St. Francis Activity Center and may be viewed through the glass doors.
3560 N. St. Francis Rd., Loretto KY 40037; www.sf-HC.org, 270-865-2521
Holy Name of Mary Church
The settlement of English Catholic pioneers along the Rolling Fork River dates from the year 1788. One of the early Kentucky missioners, Father Michael Fournier, homesteaded in this area and cared for the spiritual needs of the people. After his death in 1803, Father Charles Nerinckx ministered these settlers and directed the construction of the first church which was completed in 1806. The present church was completed in 1897.
3265 Highway 208, Calvary, KY 40033
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church
Our Lady of Fatima Mission Church in Phillipsburg was organized with twenty-two Catholic families in 1948. A church was built on donated land with donated lumber in 1949. The first Mass was offered on March 7, 1949, in a former schoolhouse. Archbishop John A. Floerish dedicated a permanent churn on October 26, 1949. Father Louis P. Bossung, pastor of Our Lady of the Hills, served the community. Priests from Finley ministered at Our Lady of Fatima until 1990 when it was clustered with OUr Lady of the Hills and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Today it has about 55 parishioners.
St. Augustine Church
Not long after English Catholic pioneers settled along the Rolling Fork River, many of them moved from the river bottom lands to the area of what was to become the town of Lebanon. A prominent settler named Benedict Spalding set aside four acres of ground for a Catholic church. Father Charles Nerickx directed the building of the first church, named in honor of St. Hubert, which was completed by 1820. A second church was erected on the same site as the first in 1837 and was dedicated to St. Augustine. Due to an expanding congregation, the third and present church was build and completed in 1872.
235 S. Spalding Ave, Lebanon, KY 40033
St. Charles Church
St. Charles Church had its beginning as early as 1786 when the English Catholic pioneers began to homestead on Hardin’s creek and neighboring streams. Historically known as the “Hardin’s Creek Settlement”, these early Catholic settlers erected a log cabin as their center of worship in 1806 under the guidance of the Belgium missioner Charles Nerinckx. The first brick church was built in 1832 under the leadership of Father David Alexander Deparcq and stood just west of the present church, which was constructed in 1906. The original Loretto Motherhouse stood at a site 1/4 mile directly east of the present St. Charles Church.
675 Highway 327, St. Mary, KY 40063
St. Francis of Assisi Church
The Catholics in Lebanon’s Loretto-St. Francis neighborhood waited decades and decades for a church.The present-day St. Francis of Assisi Church, a solid brick structure, was built in 1896 on the site of the original 1859 frame church. A newspaper account of the day noted, “There is not a more beautiful church in the Diocese.”
200 School Drive, Loretto KY 40037, www.SF-hc.org/history.html, 270-865-2521
St. Francis Xavier Church
Early in the 19th century, Catholic pioneers from southern Maryland settled in an area along the Rolling Fork River near Prather’s Creek. During this period, these people no doubt worshipped at Holy Cross, St. Charles, or Holy Name of Mary as convenience permitted. The increase of Catholics living in this area necessitated the establishment of a parish. The cornerstone of the first church of St. Francis Xavier was laid and blessed August 21, 1837. Father Louis Nicolas Petit served as the parish’s first pastor. In the fiftieth year of the parish’s establishment, the present church was built and dedicated.
108 Main Street, Raywick, KY 40060
St. Joe Church
The present St. Joseph Church was built in 1907 (now closed) when the St. Matthew Church closed and was demolished. The Old St. Matthew Church was located on a road now called St. Matthew Church Rd. Its 3 acres of land was purchased from Rose Ann Davis and her husband, John Hardin Davis by Rt. Rev. Wm. McCloskey, Bishop of Louisville, for $15 on May 30, 1874. See Marion County Deed Book 8,page 172. Reference: History of Marion County, Vol. I, compiled by Marion County Historical Society.
3300 St. Joseph Rd, Raywick, KY 40060
St. Vincent DePaul Church
St. Vincent de Paul Church dates back to 1819, when a sizable group of Catholic families secured the building of a small church. Erected under the leadership of Father Charles Nerinckx, this church stood where the parish cemetery is located. James Dant, a prominent Catholic settler, supposedly donated the tract of land used for the church. The cornerstone of the present church was laid and blessed June 12, 1887. The church was consecrated May 22, 1890.
104 Church Street, New Hope, KY 40052