No Destination: St. Francis Catholic Church

St. Francis (de Sales) Catholic Church
St. Francis Catholic Church, Georgetown, Ky.

Between Georgetown and Frankfort sitting to the right atop a small hill rests a beautiful Catholic Church. The St. Francis Catholic Church represents the oldest Catholic congregation in the Commonwealth (first Mass was held on Dec. 1, 1793) and the church building dates to 1820. It is the second oldest Catholic Church west of the Alleghenies. Interior features evidencing the historic nature of the church include the kneeler stretching across the front of the church and doors to the pews. It is named after St. Francis de Sales.

The rural church is not ordinarily left open for contemplative prayer, but is available for scheduled tours. I happened to visit on a day when the church was having a picnic. So I was able to stroll into the church for a little prayer (and photography)! It is absolutely beautiful.

Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin was the congregation’s resident pastor for many formative years; Rev. Badin was the first Catholic priest ordained in the United States. Born in Orleans, France in 1768, he was ordained May 25, 1793 by Bishop Carroll of the then-Diocese of Baltimore. Soon thereafter, Rev. Badin was appointed to the Mission of Kentucky.

A convent was located here until from 1875 to 1896 when it was moved to the Cardome Center, just north of Georgetown.

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