Ss. Peter and Paul Parish

(Twelve Mile) California  In the year 1847, a number of German Catholic families settled in that section of Campbell County now known as Gubsers’ Mill and California. For Mass they were obliged to go by boat to Newport or Cincinnati. The first priest, of which there is record, who went to Twelve Mile and offered Mass at various intervals was Reverend Joseph Patschowski, S.J., from Corpus Christi Parish, Newport. Mass was said in the home of Joseph Goetz, which was located about a mile south of the site of the present church. The Goetz home became the mission station at Twelve Mile prior to the erection of the first church. After Reverend John Voll became pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in April, 1853, Mass was celebrated more regularly at this mission. At the time of the Episcopal visitation of Bishop Martin J. Spalding to Campbell County, in August, 1853, the congregation numbered thirty-six families.  In 1853, the Catholics of Twelve Mile erected a log church on the present church property. The congregation consisted of German-speaking and a few English-speaking members. During the years 1854-1856, Reverend John Voll of Corpus Christi attended the German portion of the congregation, and a priest from St. Mary Cathedral, Covington, attended the English-speaking portion. When Four Mile Creek received a resident pastor in 1856, the mission at Twelve Mile was attached to that parish, and Mass was said at the mission church once a month, usually on the first Sunday. In September, 1857, the congregation opened a full-time Catholic school. The mission was known as St. Peter Mission.  In August, 1864, Bishop Carrell appointed the Reverend John Stephany, a native of Pfortz, Rheinpfalz, Bavaria, a recently ordained priest, as the first resident pastor. Shortly after assuming the pastorate, Father Stephany began the building of a brick church, which was later brought to completion under the direction of the Benedictine Fathers, in 1866. The new brick church was blessed under the patronage of SS. Peter and Paul, by Reverend Gabriel Guerster, O.S.B. In 1874, Reverend William Cassander built a new rectory, and during the pastorate of Reverend Joseph Neiwes a new school was erected.  In 1898, Reverend Clement Keller began the construction of a new and larger church. The cornerstone of the new SS. Peter and Paul church was laid August 17, 1898. A year later, in the first part of August, 1899, Bishop Maes dedicated the church. Father Keller also purchased a piece of property adjoining the church property for a priest’s rectory. He laid the foundation for a new rectory, which was completed by his successor, the Reverend Wendelin Goehrig. From 1857 to 1916, the parish school was taught by lay teachers. On November 2, 1916, the Sisters of Divine Providence took charge of the school.  The attractive brick church, located on the brow of a hill, with its little cemetery stretching out over the hillside, commanded the view of all of the surrounding territory. It stood as a landmark in the Twelve Mile Valley. The history of SS. Peter and Paul Parish recounts how a rural parish was forced to part with a beautiful church to which it had grown greatly attached, even more so because of the isolation of the community. By the early 1920’s the church gave evidence of shifting. Ominous fractures began to make their appearance. Every effort was made to bolster up the edifice and make it safe. In 1925, Bishop Howard visited the parish and met with Reverend Joseph Broerman and the men of the parish to consider the situation. The problem was carefully studied. It was found that the foundation, in some places, rested on a stratum of soft stone. During the summer of 1927, the safety of the church was questioned. Father Broerman was advised to hold Mass in the school building.

 Thereupon, the church building was razed, to make way for the present basement church. Bishop Howard laid the cornerstone of the new church on October 7, 1928. On December 8, 1928, the Bishop blessed the new basement church.  In 1948, the Sisters of Divine Providence were succeeded by the Sisters of St. Benedict in the parish school. In 1951, Reverend Louis A. DeJaco erected the present modern ranch-type pastoral residence. Father DeJaco died a short time before its completion. On December 18, 1951, Reverend Frederick L. Terhar, the present pastor, was appointed to Twelve Mile. The congregation at present numbers about a hundred families. The first son of the parish to be ordained to the Priesthood was Bishop Brossart.  His family moved to Twelve Mile when he was a small child. His parents are buried in the parish cemetery. 


excerpted fromĀ History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, on the Occasion of the Centenary of the Diocese, 1853-1953, by Rev. Paul E. Ryan