Tuesday, August 16, 2022





# 5



“I believe that God helps those who set out to do great things
for His sake and never fails those who trust in Him alone.”

Saint Theresa of Avila

Saturday, October 15, 2022, 4:30 pm
Archbishop Shelton Fabre, Presiding
Mass, Tours and Dinner


Father Ronald Knott, Project Coordinator

Just when we thought things were rolling along, we were hit with a “pie-in-the-face” when we found out about the realities of today’s inflation. We had raised what I had been told in the initial estimate of a year ago would be enough to finish the inside of the building. The outside was completed. All the bills had been paid. We were about to begin the inside, thinking we had the funds. Then the final estimate arrived with the bad news that construction costs had risen 40% during that one year! Sadly, we didn’t have enough funds after all!
I was floored, but after a few sleepless nights I decided to plow on and see if I could solve the problem with the help of a few well-connected friends. We are making progress, but we are not there yet. As we continue to raise funds, we have decided to go as far as we can with the money we have. We have started the inside. We would love to have the Family Life Center completely finished for the October 15th dedication. It is going to take a miracle to make that happen. While outsiders are helping us, we would love to raise the last $100.000.00 from our Saint Theresa Heritage Partners. Help us out! Do what you can, but also join me in doing what Jesus said, “seek, knock and ask!” We can’t stop now! We are so close!


in honor of Father Patrick McNicholas (suggestion)

The pastorate of Father McNicholas, born in Ireland, was 20 years long and very eventful. He came to St. Theresa Church in October of 1850. He lived in a log rectory in the old cemetery. The present church and the original St. Theresa Academy building were erected under his administration. When the success of the school was assured, he felt that his work in the congregation was completed and resigned in October of 1870. No photos of him can be found. He is buried in St. Louis Cemetery in Louisville.

The parish offices will be moved into the new Saint Theresa Family Life Center. That leaves the rectory empty and ready for restoration. The plan is to repair, restore and upgrade it so that it can be used to attract retired priests, including Father Ray and Father Knott, who might be willing to help out either as fill-ins on Sunday or as presenters of programs in the Family Life Center. Various Priests, Religious Sisters, Deacons and lay persons may want to make a retreat or offer presentations in our Family Life Center. As they say, “Build it and they will come!”


“NAZARETH HOUSE” (suggestion)
in honor of the 97 Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who served the parish for 123 years. The old convent has been partially renovated.



The Venerable Augustus Tolton. First black man in the US to be ordained a Catholic priest.

His family were members of our very own Saint Theresa Church. His mother, Martha Jane, was born in Mooleyville and was moved to Missouri at age seventeen by her “owner” where she married and had three children – one of which was Augustus. After her husband’s death, she and her children miraculously escaped Missouri to the free state of Illinois.

His grandmother, Matilda, is buried in our old Saint Theresa Cemetery.


The 222 Slaves Baptized at St. Theresa Church
Rhodelia, Kentucky

Baptism records March 25, 1824 - December 31, 1865. Indexed and compiled by Emilie Gagnet Leumas.
Of the 1,699 baptisms entered in the registers during those 41 years, there are 222 enslaved persons listed. They are listed by the year they received the Sacrament of Baptism. They helped quarry the foundation stones and make the bricks for the present church. We remember and honor them by saying their names.

Father Johnson refers to one of the last black parishioners, a descendant of one of the slave families who was baptized in St. Theresa Church, as “Charley who rang the church bells until 1905.” I think I have found out a little about who he was and where his probable father is buried. I believe that this is the grave marker of his probable father, Aron, in the “slave cemetery’ over the hill behind the church near Clark’s Tavern.

Lee Leumas, our history consultant, said that ARON was owned by Oliver Burch who also had a “boy” slave named Charley. ARON could very possibly be the father of Charley. 

Stay connected to the spiritual heritage of this sacred place through newsletters that celebrate, in photos and news articles, its rich historic and ongoing ministries. Mail a note to the address below requesting you become a partner.

If you would like to make a donation to keep the process of restoration and revitalization going, mail it to the address below and make your check out to: St. Theresa Church with “Family Life Center” on the Memo line.





Mail your request and/or donation to:
St. Theresa Heritage Partners, 9245 Rhodelia Rd., Payneville, KY 40157
Please include your name, address, email and telephone number.

Sunday, August 14, 2022


Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us persevere  

in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. 

Hebrews 12:1-4 

Many of you might remember the thriller film, The Sixth Sense, which tells the story of Cole Sear, a troubled, isolated boy, who is able to see and talk to the dead, and an equally troubled child psychologist (played by Bruce Willis), who tries to help him. The most famous lines from the film belong to the young boy. “I see dead people!”

In a way, that is exactly what the writer of our second reading is telling us when he says, “we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses” who have already "finished the race."  In fact, he is saying four things.

First, our second reading is telling us that living the Christian life is like running a race. It is not a stroll for the lazy and indifferent. It takes the serious discipline of an athlete. We need to train every day of our lives. We need to know where we are going, remain focused, and keep our eyes fixed on the finish line. G.K. Chesterton said it best when he wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting: it has been found difficult and left untried.” The biggest threats to Christianity are not those who persecute it, but those who claim the name and think it ought to be easy, but who are unwilling to walk the talk!

Second, our second reading is telling us that there are people “in the stands,” people who have run the race before us and who have already crossed the finish line, who are cheering us on! It challenges us to remember that we are surrounded by a large group of supportive onlookers as we live out our lives as Christians. This is precisely what we mean when we say in our Creed that we believe in the “communion of the saints.” By that, we mean that we believe that there is an ongoing and real connection between those who have practiced the faith before us and those of us who are trying to practice the same faith today – an unbroken connection between those living here and those living in eternity. I, for one, do not actually see dead people, but I do feel their presence, helping me along the way. I believe that I am not alone on my journey of faith, but I am part of a larger story, a great procession of people marching through history. I have you and I have that “great cloud of witnesses,” all those holy men and women from every time and place,” who have finished their race and have crossed the finished line, but now are watching us race toward that same finish line - and they are cheering us on! 

When I started my St. Theresa Family Life Center project down in my home parish, I asked the people of the parish to pray to our beloved ancestors buried in our two cemeteries to help us carry on what they spent their lives to pass on to us! From the beginning of this project, I have felt them cheering us on toward the finish line!

The writer of this Letter to the Hebrews mentions some great Old Testament saints lining the racetrack, people like Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the parents of Moses, Gideon, Samson, Job, Rahab, Samson, David and Samuel.

Just think of the holy men and women who have been baptized in this diocese, who have prayed in our parishes, who were married in our parishes, who were buried from our parishes. Think of Bishop Flaget, whose bones are buried downstairs at our Cathedral! He rode horseback from here as far north as Wisconsin and Michigan, all over Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. Think of Father Elisha Durbin, who is buried on Barrett Avenue here in Louisville, who rode 200,000 miles on horseback caring for Catholic mission parishes in western Kentucky, southern Illinois and northern Tennessee. Think of Mother Catherine Spalding, whose bronze statue graces the front sidewalk at the Cathedral. She started and orphanage, a school and a hospital right there behind the Cathedral. This city reeks of their holiness! 

When I was pastor there, I could feel their presence, and not only theirs, but the little old ladies who had been keeping the lights on during the slim years when I arrived there in 1983, before we were able to revitalize that congregation and restore those buildings. Yes, I still remember many of them and I could still feel their presence watching over us!

I can feel the presence of my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, my sister, the nuns and priests who taught me, as well as the hundreds of parishioners I have buried in all the parishes I have served.  I feel them cheering me on as I race toward the finish line!

Now as I lead the effort to renovate my old St. Theresa Grade School into the new St Theresa Family Life Center and dig through our parish history back to its founding in 1818, I am especially aware of the 222 poor slaves who were baptized down there in my home parish between 1824 and 1865, including the mother, grandmother and various family members of the first African American to be ordained a priest in the United States, the now Venerable Augustus Tolton. A slave himself, he will soon be canonized a saint. I feel their helping presence when I stand over his grandmother Matilda's grave not far from where I will be buried someday.

Third, our second reading tells us to “persevere in running the race that lies before us.” Dropping out of the race is always an option, especially when one leaves home and enters young adulthood. One of the big questions I used to ask college students when I worked at Bellarmine University, is this one: “Will you abandon the religious upbringing of your childhood or will you choose it for yourself of your own free will? Will you persevere in living your Catholic Christian faith or will you simply drop out of the race because it is too hard, because it is too much trouble, because it demands too much, because it is too inconvenient or because others around you are dropping out as well. The writer of our second reading is right! Perseverance in running the race requires the personal discipline and self-control of an athlete! Sometimes it means running against the wind, swimming against the stream and taking the road less traveled. Let us, however, listen to the encouragement of those who have finished the race before us and are cheering us on from the sidelines, rather than those who have dropped out of the race for whatever reason!   

Fourth, our second reading tells us to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.” Distractions are a problem for all of us no matter how many laps we have completed. There are those who seek to draw our attention away from the race we are running. “Look here! Look over there! Look at me! Look at this! Pay attention to this! Pay attention to that! See this! See that!” If we are to persevere in running this race, we must keep our eyes fixed on the finish line, we must “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.” We must remain focused on what we are doing and why we are doing it, until we hear Jesus say to us at the finish line, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master!”