St. Patrick

When the Diocese of Covington was established in 1853, Reverend John McSweeney was pastor of St. Patrick Parish, at Maysville.

On March 25, 1854, Bishop Carrell, accompanied by Father Francis Di Maria, S.J., made his first visit to St. Patrick Parish, to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation on the Feast of the Annunciation. Father McSweeney had prepared large First Communion and Confirmation classes for the occasion. Nearly a hundred children made their First Communion at the early Mass. In the afternoon, the Bishop confirmed one hundred and eighty persons.

 After Father McSweeney’s departure from the Diocese in 1857, the Maysville congregation was attended from the Cathedral in Covington, until November of that year. In November, 1857, Reverend Peter McMahon was appointed pastor, remaining in Maysville for about a year. He was succeeded by Reverend Joseph Brogard, whose pastorate continued until 1860. In 1860, Father Lambert Young served the parish for a short time. On December 30, 1860, Father Peter McMahon was re-assigned to Maysville, remaining until January, 1867. 

In the 1860’s, St. Patrick Parish school was established with classes in the pastoral residence. In 1864, property was acquired on the north side of Third Street to serve as a convent for a community of Visitation Nuns. On July 6, 1864, Bishop Carrell canonically established the Community of the Sisters of the Visitation at Maysville. At that time a parish school for the boys was conducted in the basement of the church. During the first half of 1867, Reverend John B. Glorieux and Reverend George S. Kertson, held temporary appointments at Maysville. In July, 1867, Father Glorieux became the resident pastor, and continued as such until his death in 1895. On October 30, 1885, permission was given to begin a school at Washington, Kentucky. Bishop Maes dedicated the new St. Mary Hall and School there on September 1, 1889. 

The successor of Father Glorieux, Reverend A.T. Ennis, held the pastorate of St. Patrick’s for five years until his resignation in April, 1901. At that time, Reverend Patrick M. Jones was appointed pastor of Maysville.

 When Father Jones assumed the duties of pastor, on April 7, 1901, he found a large church debt and the church properties in a rather deplorable condition. Father Jones, in his characteristic way, at once grasped the situation and determined to make Maysville a thriving center of Catholicity. His pastorate marks a new era in the history of the congregation. 

The Sisters of the Visitation had left Maysville in 1899. The first endeavor of Father Jones was to establish a free parish school, which, with the permission of Bishop Maes, he placed under the care of the Sisters of Loretto. Six Sisters of the famous Kentucky teaching Order went to Maysville and took charge of the school. No child was excluded from the school because of religious belief. St. Patrick Parish school offered the community an outstanding service, which was more than once acknowledged by the city officials. In 1910, the school accommodated about three hundred pupils. That year, the Sisters of St. Francis succeeded the Sisters of Loretto in the parish school.

 Within the first year of his pastorate, Father Jones had erected a suitable parish residence. The parish cemetery at Washington, which had been purchased in 1853, was enlarged to twenty-one acres, and was transformed into one of the most worthy burial grounds of the South. He likewise purchased a spacious home on East Fourth Street to serve as a convent for the Sisters, which became known as “Loretto Heights.”

 The outstanding feature of the development of the parish, during the administration of Father Jones, was the erection of the present beautiful church, which was the realization of a hope long cherished by the people of Maysville, who for twenty years had felt the need of a more worthy church. To make way for the erection of the new church, Father Jones found it necessary to remove the old pastoral residence. He undertook to erect a hundred thousand dollar church building. The plans were his own. Every stone, brick and article of furnishings were subjected to his own personal inspection . In the fund-raising drives, he set the example for his congregation, and out of his own meager purse, he was the very first and the most generous contributor. 

On the southeast corner of Third and Limestone Streets, just north of the old St. Patrick Church, arose a stately church, with majestic towers, predominantly Gothic in architecture, but somewhat modified by the cruciform feature characteristic of the Romanesque style. The new church had a seating capacity of twelve hundred. Three vaulted front portals at the north entrance and a large one on the west formed the outside ingress to the vestibule. 

When the new parish church was nearing completion, the furnishings of the old church were moved to the new building, and the old St. Patrick Church was torn down to make room for the erection of the sanctuary of the new edifice. The first Mass was offered in the new church on Sunday, April 25, 1909. With the erasing of the old church there passed an historic landmark in Maysville. Many parishioners beheld with regret the razing of the venerable old structure, which harbored fond memories of the past half century. 

The dedication of the new St. Patrick Church took place on Sunday, June 26, 1910. Amid impressive ceremonies, Bishop Maes solemnly dedicated the church. The celebration included a large First Communion class, the conferring of Confirmation and the dedication of the church, which stood as an ornament in the community. 

In 1926, a frame building was obtained two doors north of the school to serve as a parish high school. Father Jones’ pastorate at Maysville continued until his death, on January 24, 1929. At that time, Reverend Joseph A. O’Dwyer, who had been assistant pastor at Maysville since 1912, became administrator of the parish for about a year, until April, 1930, when he was appointed pastor of Good Shepherd Parish at Frankfort. The organizing of St. Patrick High School had largely been due to his efforts and management.

 In 1930, Reverend Edward B. Rohrer became pastor of Maysville. Father Rohrer carried the program of secondary education a step forward. In 1940, he acquired the “Bettie Young property,” situated between the grade and high school buildings, and he likewise erected a parish hall. Father Rohrer’s pastorate was cut short by his unexpected death on January 29, 1941.

 On February 8, 1941, Reverend Leo B. Casey, the present pastor, was appointed to Maysville. Material achievements of his pastorate include the acquisition of more church property, the realization of the much needed decoration of the interior of the church, and the building of a new school. When the church was built, only the sanctuary had been decorated. In 1947, Father Casey undertook to decorate the interior of the entire church, enhancing the beauty of the massive interior with Gothic motifs in Renaissance tones. The art work of the church was restored to its original beauty by Leo Mirabile, a Louisville artist. Likewise in December, 1947, under the direction of Father Casey, St. Patrick Parish observed the Centenary of the founding of the parish.

 In December, 1947, plans were made for the construction of the present new St. Patrick School on the site of the old school building. The cornerstone of the new school was blessed by Bishop Mulloy on July 22, 1948. St. Patrick Parish school was dedicated on Sunday, October 2, 1949. The dedicatory service concluded the observance of Catholic Action Day for St. Patrick Parish and neighboring parishes. 


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