PASTORS OF ST. PIUS TENTH CHURCH
|Rev. Robert T. Wilson||1957 – 1963|
|Rev. George Boehmicke||1963 – 1966|
|Rev. Clarence Pettit||1966 – 1971|
|Rev. Paul P. Powell||1971 – 1976|
|Rev. Robert T. Wilson||1976 – 1981|
|Rev. Gerald J. Glahn||1981 – 1989|
|Rev. Bruce Fogle||1989 – 1992|
|Rev. Larry McBride||1992 – 2000|
|Rev. Richard C. Meredith||2000 – 2011|
|Rev. Julian Ibemere||2011 – 2015|
|Rev. Tom Buckman||2015 – present|
ASSOCIATE PASTORS OR PRIEST-IN-RESIDENCE
In early 1957 rumors spread in the Owensboro Catholic Diocese of the plans being made for the building of a new church in the Owensboro area. Sts. Joseph and Paul Church parish community had grown over the years to the extent that it was felt that the eastern portion of the parish should split away and form a new church community. The Diocese of Owensboro purchased 13.1 acres of land from Mr. R. C. and Dora Day Blocker, Sr. for $132,000.00. Soon after, Father George Boehmicke began visiting families who were officially members of Sts. Joseph and Paul Parish of Owensboro. The families formed the "Christian Family Movement" for this new parish, becoming the very first members of the new parish. Boundaries were dawn and, at times, neighbors on one side of the road remained in Sts. Joseph and Paul parish while those on the other side became members of the new parish. Construction of the new church began in 1957 on a hill above Highway 60 East across the road from the Levy Memorial Boys Home. Members of the new parish continued to give their donations to Sts. Joseph and Paul where the pastor would take the funds given by these families and send them to the new parish. Families soon began to visit the construction site to view the progress as if it were their own home being built. The new parish was named in honor of Pope Pius X, who was canonized a saint in May 1954. The congregation of St. Pius X Parish celebrated it's first Mass and Dedication on December 27, 1957. A choir had been formed during the construction period and an impressive group sang on this momentous occasion. Officiating at the Mass was Bishop Francis R. Cotton assisted by the newly appointed pastor, Rev. Robert T. Wilson. Fr. Wilson had high hopes and strong words of encouragement for his new congregation that cold evening. All listened with wide-eyed curiosity hoping for a magic phrase to enthuse them. Men of the parish volunteered as altar servers that evening. Lasting friendships were formed, beginning with the choir and continuing on when the Altar Society, the Holy Name Society, and the St. Vincent De Paul Society were formed that year. A rocky road was ahead. The debt of the new parish community was great and the resources were limited. Many of the parishioners were large middle class working families, farmers and factory workers. Fr. Wilson proved to be a good and adaptable leader. Father's commitment to reducing the debt was such that parishioners joked that "if your child swallows a nickel, don't call a doctor, call Fr. Wilson!" Since there was no rectory when the church was built, Fr. Wilson's first home was above the school in what would later become the convent. He lived there until five Ursuline Sisters arrived. He then took up residence in the school, taking two classrooms as his home. The generosity of the congregation was demonstrated that very evening of dedication when many furnishings were donated. The early years saw the beginning of our annual picnic, as well as numerous smorgasbords, fish fries and chili suppers. The first smorgasbord was a tremendous success, netting $810.00, a substantial sum of money in 1958. Fr. Wilson enjoyed those activities, not only because of the monetary gain, but also because of the fellowship the events created. 1958 brought the formation of Home & School Association, and St Pius opened the doors of it's school on September 2, 1958. The first faculty was made up of five Ursuline Sisters from Mt St Joseph. Sr. Cecilia Jean Lonergan was the first principal and continued in that capacity for six years. Because it was a small school, several classrooms housed two grades. The nuns lived above the school in the convent. It has been reported that due to severe restrictions on outside recreational activity, roller-skating and bike riding was done in the school and convent halls. The hundreds of graduates and staff of St. Pius Grade school have made substantial contributions to the community over the years, the more notable being two college presidents, Sister Vivian Marie Bowles (teacher) and Sister Suzanne Sims (student).
The 1960's saw many changes in the parish as it continued to grow. St. Pius was privileged to host the dinner and reception for the newly consecrated Bishop Henry J. Soenneker in the spring of 1961. In 1962 the rectory was built and Fr. Wilson was able to move out of the school and into his new home. In that year, Mr. Andy Reynolds was asked by Fr. Wilson to work on the establishment of a baseball program. Under Mr. Reynolds leadership, St. Pius became the first parish in Owensboro and Daviess County to offer a sports program in their elementary school. The first Catholic League began with teams from eight different Catholic grade schools. Fr. Wilson reached out for help from his Navy buddies and equipment arrived, all sized for men. With one field, Coco-Cola bats and shirts with hand-sewn emblems, the team began it's first season. Parents and supporters brought Popcorn and Kool-Aid to sell as a fundraiser at the games. The first sports trophy was won in 1963 when the team went undefeated, 14-0. Later in this decade, the sports program expanded to basketball. Boy Scout Troop 120 was organized and officially established in 1965. Scoutmasters Gene Bickwermert and John Froehlich guided the many activities of the boys. Their work and the work of subsequent Scoutmasters have produced over 31 Eagle Scouts. It remains one of the strongest and longest chartered troops in the district. Fr. George Boehmicke became the second pastor of St. Pius X in 1963. Under his direction, the west wing of the school was constructed in 1964. In 1966, Fr. Clarence Pettet succeeded Fr. Boehmicke and he initiated the drive that began to make St. Pius X "a Tithing Parish". It proved to be very successful, both financially and spiritually. With the Bishop's approval, a Finance Committee was organized in 1966. In keeping with Vatican II, the church was remodeled in 1967. The altar was placed in the center of the sanctuary and the pastor said Mass facing the congregation for the first time. During the 60's our parish continued to grow and prosper. Many new organizations were formed: the Credit Union, the Legion of Mary, the Teen Club, CCD, the 4-H, the Athletic Association, and several others that dealt with all phases of parish life.
In 1970, Fr. Edward A. Jones became the first member of St. Pius parish to be ordained a priest. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Jones. Also that year, a roof was built over the barbecue pit. In 1971, Fr. Paul P. Powell came to our parish as its fourth pastor. Bingo was started as a most needed source of revenue for the parish and Sr. Mary Mercy began the kindergarten and daycare, which has been a great asset to the parish. The parish grounds received a face-lift when trees were planted, the burgoo barn was built, and three ball diamonds were constructed. In 1973, Fr. Powell celebrated his Silver Jubilee as a priest. The following year, he organized a parish census. Men and women visited every home within the parish boundaries during this time. Also in 1974, Fr. Powell and Sr. Mary Lois Speaks formed a steering committee to organize a parish council. In 1975, the St. Pius Tenth Parish Council was formed when twelve parishioners were elected and commissioned. The council remains a very active organization within the parish today. Fr. Robert Wilson returned as pastor in 1976, and during this time the convent was remodeled.
St. Pius Tenth was assigned another new pastor, Fr. Jerry Glahn, in 1981. After ten years, bingo was discontinued and the gym was completed and dedicated to Sr. Mary Mercy. The gym was the site for many basketball and volleyball games each year. It was also used for many school and youth group activities. Also, during the 1980's, the parish Cooking Team began to receive recognition when it started competing at the Owensboro Barbecue Festival. In the fall of 1981, Frs. Glahn and Lauzon, the associate pastor, conducted several parish renewal weekends which helped to promote spiritual growth in the parish. The church celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1982 and a door-to-door census was also conducted that year. Fr. Glahn began the custom of having a St. Pius Tenth Parish Day in 1983. It is held in August, close to the feast of St. Pius X. There is usually an outdoor Mass, a meal, activities or entertainment, and lots of time to visit with friends. Fr. Jerry celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination in 1984 and in the fall of that year the first season of Renew began. Over 500 parishioners were involved in this program. The first lay principal, Mary Kennedy, was hired for the school in 1985 and, in the fall of that year, a major renovation of the church began. All liturgies and services were moved to the gym during that time and, as work on the church preceded under the direction of the Renovation Committee, many men and women of the parish donated their time and talents in order to keep cost to a minimum. On Palm Sunday, 1986, the renovation of the church being complete, a Rededication Mass was celebrated by Bishop John McRaith. The first baptisms in the new baptistery took place on Easter. During Advent that year, the first parish Christmas party was held. Each family was asked to make an ornament for the Christmas tree in the sanctuary and these ornaments are used every year. In 1989, Fr. Bruce Fogle became the new pastor. That year also saw the beginning of the Owensboro Catholic School System. St. Pius Tenth closed its doors in May and, when it reopened in August, it was called Bishop Francis R. Cotton School. Its students were members of St. Pius Tenth and Sts. Joseph and Paul parishes. Bishop Cotton holds classes for Kindergarten through 6th grades, and the 7th and 8th grade classes attend Owensboro Catholic Middle School.
In the early 1990's a new cross was purchased with parish donations and hung behind the altar in church. Fr. Larry McBride became the pastor in 1992. St. Pius Tenth grew to a community of approximately 650 families and employed a Pastoral Minister, a Director of Religious Education and a Sacramental Coordinator. A Senior guild for parish members 50 and older, Youth Groups for those in Middle and High Schools, a Buildings and Grounds Committee which oversees the upkeep of the church property, a Social Concerns Committee which addresses current issues of interest to all, and a Bereavement Luncheon Group which serves a meal for the family and friends of deceased parishioners on the day of the funeral was established. With the help of many volunteers, the church received a new coat of paint in early 1997. Each year the annual picnic continues to draw crowds from all around to sample the delicious barbecue, burgoo and potato salad. Athletics and scouting are still very important activities for parish youth and adults alike. The different committees and groups not only serve the parish and its parishioners, but are often a source of fellowship for their members.
The Millennium, the momentous changing of the century also brought momentous challenges and advances to St. Pius. In anticipation of these challenges and opportunities, it was determined that a Long Range Plan should be developed which would provide a well studied and carefully constructed plan for growth and development in the parish, addressing all aspects of the parish community. Beginning in June of 2000, under the leadership of parishioners Steve Valentine and Al Johnson, 27 "speak-up" meetings were held over a period of 5 months. Literally hundreds of people were involved because of the plans impact on every ministry in the parish community from Altar Society to Cooking Team to Athletic Association. In June, the parish received news that Fr. Larry McBride was to be transferred out of the City. Fortunately, his replacement, Fr. Richard Meredith proved to be equal to the daunting task being dealt with by Fr. Larry. This smooth transition of religious leadership is also a reflection on the strong skills and commitment of the lay leadership of the parish. Parish convocation was held in August 2000 to establish priorities for the next 5 years. The top priority identified was construction of a "parish hall" facility to house the parish ministries and the parish offices. For years, the many ministries of the growing parish as well as the administrative offices had been "shoe horned" into every available nook and cranny of the existing buildings. The next step required the blending of all the issues and agendas of the different ministries into a workable "campus master plan". A Louisville firm tasked with the responsibility of designing the campus master plan, organized yet another series of meeting and over a period of 12 months, the proposed plan was presented to the parish. A local architect was hired to design the facility and a building site was chosen. The new parish hall would be located on the east side of the existing structures near Highway 60. However, with the plan well under way, devastating news was received by St. Pius and the other parishes that a major revision of Catholic elementary school system was to bring some school closing and consolidation. Economic and demographic factors lead the Owensboro Catholic School Board to determine that the existing system of parish schools would be converted by a consolidation of all Kindergarten thru grades three in one location and all Grades 4 to 6 in another. St. Pius Grade school was to be closed. This news dealt a devastating blow to the campus master plan. The loss of revenue, decommissioning of the two-story school building, wings on each side of the church and considerable modification of the mission as outlined in the plan required substantial reconsideration. Should the existing former grade school structure be remodeled? Would its configuration accommodate the work of the many ministries? Would a meeting hall of the dimensions desired be possible in the existing building? After much consideration, it was determined that the two-story east wing of the school would be torn down due to its age and deteriorated condition of it's mechanical systems and the new parish hall would be build on this site. Two pieces of limestone from the original structure were salvaged and one presently is on display, built into the wall as a dedication stone on the Northeast corner of the new parish hall. The school closing also affected the gymnasium. The athletic programs went with the school program to new locations and the gym was no longer used for parish functions. The Brantley Construction Co. whose generous support made it possible had constructed the gym. It's funding was further assisted by aggressive fund raising efforts by students at St. Pius. After much soul searching and thought, it was determined that the refitting of the building would be too costly. The structure was purchased, disassembled and relocated and is now being used by a welding company. In 2004, Bishop Cotton Grade School, formerly St. Pius X Grade School, closed after 46 years of providing quality faith based education. This new challenge did little to deter the determination of the parish community to reach its goal of building the parish hall. The redesigned project moved forward in its conceptual development and Al Johnson became its unofficial "project manager". Essential to the success of the project was sufficient funding. In late fall of 2005 a $1.3 million dollar Building Campaign was launched. Diocesan rules required 80% of the funds pledged before construction could start. Parish leadership determined that we must have 100% pledged before breaking ground. In the spring of 2006, the goal was reached and ground was broken. Demolition of the old building became a "family affair" with many parishioners assisting in the removal of salvageable items. St. Pius was fortunate to have so many dedicated and sacrificing members, several of whom stepped into key roles. For Vince Hayden and his son Steve of Hayden Construction Company, who was the general contractor, and Harry Roberts of Harry Roberts Plumbing and Heating, this project could have been described as a "labor of love". Both performed far beyond what would be expected. On December 27, 2006, Our 49th anniversary or as Fr. Richard would say "the beginning of our 50th year" the beautifully designed new Parish Hall was dedicated.