September 1, 2022 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Dcn. Gayle Rhodes assists Bishop William F. Medley during the August 14, 2022 bicentennial Mass for St. Lawrence Parish in eastern Daviess County. The bishop referred to St. Lawrence as the “mother church” of the county. COURTESY OF BRADY HANCOCK

Bishop, parishioners, celebrate ‘mother church’ of Daviess County

BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC

During his homily for the August 14, 2022 bicentennial Mass of St. Lawrence Parish in eastern Daviess County, Bishop William F. Medley wondered aloud just how many lives had been impacted because Catholic families gathered in the area to worship 200 years ago.

The Catholics who gathered in the region “began to build the foundation of the 17 other parishes here in Daviess County,” said the bishop, referring to St. Lawrence as “the mother church” of the county.

Today, half of the Catholics in the Diocese of Owensboro reside in Daviess County, he added.

“That is the heritage of that first Mass celebrated here,” said Bishop Medley to the church packed to standing-room-only. “Jubilees are also an opportunity to look at the future… let’s leave those people who will come behind us the same heritage that they left us.”

Parishioner Pam Higdon, who with her husband, Jim Higdon, and daughter, Heather Clark, had coordinated the historical research and planning for the parish’s bicentennial, told The Western Kentucky Catholic that “it’s been a pleasure to do the research.”

Bishop William F. Medley greets a young parishioner following the August 14, 2022 bicentennial Mass at St. Lawrence Parish in eastern Daviess County. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

“It’s all been word of mouth history because people didn’t think to write it down,” she said, adding that she worked with Diocese of Owensboro archivist, Edward Wilson, and Archdiocese of Louisville archivist, Tim Tomes, throughout the project.

When St. Lawrence was originally founded, it belonged to the Diocese of Bardstown, which would eventually become the Archdiocese of Louisville. Owensboro became its own diocese in 1937.

“St. Lawrence is very prolific; we have a lot of young families, so my hope is that it continues,” said Higdon.

Girls carry a quilt, representing all the families of St. Lawrence Parish, up the aisle during the parish’s bicentennial Mass and celebration on August 14, 2022. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

Note: Bishop Medley wrote about the history of St. Lawrence Parish in his column this month. Read it here.


Originally printed in the September 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Tina Kasey
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