Parish History

The Parish of The Immaculate was established in the Marian Year of 1954. The Bishop at that time was Francis R. Cotton – he decreed the establishment of the parish and appointed Fr. Charles Carrico as the first pastor. The first Mass was said at the new parish on August 22, 1954, on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At this first Mass, the new parish celebrated the Baptisms of Robert Eugene Mehlbauer and Robert Anthony Steele. There were approximately 200 parish families.

The School:
Immaculate Parish was established with a church, school, rectory and a sister’s residence. The four room school opened in August 1954 and was staff by The Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph. Sr. Callista Langan, OSU, was the first principal. There were 166 students enrolled in 1954. Until the cafeteria was finished later that year, all children brought their lunches to school. Children who attended 7:30am Mass also brought their breakfast so as to not break the Communion fasting rules (these rules would be changed in coming years).

Enrollment doubled at the school within 5 years and the 1st lay teacher, Mrs. Marita Englert, was hired in 1958, to teach 5th grade. In 1962, the school library was opened, with donations from parishioners and the Immaculate Church Altar Society. By 1980 the school was entirely staffed by lay teachers as the first lay principal was appointed that year. In 1989, Immaculate School merged with other parochial schools to become the Owensboro Catholic School system. The former Immaculate School is now the Owensboro Catholic Middle School.

The Parish:
Fr. Charles Carrico came to Immaculate in 1954, to be the first pastor of the Church. He had previously been at St. Jerome’s in Fancy Farm. During the summer of 1956, Fr. Carrico became ill and Fr. Clarence Pettit became the interim pastor. Fr. Carrico died from complications with cancer in 1957. On September 15, 1957, Reverend Leo J. Dienes, was appointed as the second pastor of the church. Fr. Dienes served as the pastor until the summer of 1976. During this time, the parish grew to 600 families, and the new church was built, along with a new school wing, and a new rectory. The former church building became the school gymnasium.

During the time that Fr. Dienes was pastor, he was assisted at the parish or with weekend Masses by the Rev. Francis Powers (1960), Father Joseph Mills (1961-1973), and Fr. Ben Luther (1967-1969).

In the summer of 1976, Rev. Msgr. Bernard Powers became the third pastor at Immaculate Church, with Fr. Maury Riney as assistant pastor. Fr. William Allard was pastor from 1984-1987, with Fr. Richard Meredith as associate pastor, and Fr. Vincent Boyle. Ursuline Sisters, Sr. Julia Head and Sr. Marie Goretti were named as the first staff members to assist the pastor, with Sr. Julia as director of religious education and Sr. Marie Goretti as parish coordinator. The first Parish Council was formed in 1985.

Fr. Frank Roof was appointed pastor from 1987-1989 with Fr. Pete Lauzon as associate, then Fr. Richard Cash. Sr. Angela Wethington became the pastoral associate. In 1990, Fr. Roof joined the Air Force as Chaplain and Fr. Richard Powers, who was then serving as a Navy chaplain, became pastor. Fr. Stephen Montgomery was associate pastor then, followed by Fr. Thomas Joyce in 1991. In 1990, Sr. Clarita Browning, OSU, became pastoral associate. At that same time, a residence across from the church was purchased to become the new rectory and the former rectory became the church offices.

Fr. Timothy Sweeney, former Archabbot of St. Meinrad, became pastor at Immaculate in 1996. Sr. Geneva Stumler, was the pastoral associate. In 1999, Sr. Julia Head returned to the parish as pastoral associate. In 1998, The Parish Family Center and office complex, that had begun construction in 1997, was dedicated and opened to serve the 720 parish families.

Fr. Tony Jones, who grew up in the parish, was ordained in 1989, and was appointed Pastor of the parish from January 2006 to June 2018. Father John Vaughan was appointed Pastor in June 2018, and Fr. Tony Jones moved to St. Romuald’s Parish in Hardinsburg, Kentucky at this time. Ursuline Sister, Sr. Margaret Ann Aull, has served as pastoral associate since 2010, and Sr. Julia Head, OSU, serves as assistant director of Faith Formation (2017-present)
The number of parish families is 733.

Four priestly vocations have come from families of Immaculate Parish:
The late Fr. Pete E. Lauzon (ordained in 1979)
Fr. Ray Goetz (ordained in 1981)
Fr. Tony Jones (ordained 1989)
Fr. Randy Howard (ordained 2001)

Other vocations:
Sr. Mary Jo Curtsinger (Congregation of St. Joseph of La Grange) attended Immaculate Parish