St. Agnes Chapel

In 1930, Bishop Howard established St. Agnes Chapel, as a Chapel annex to St. Mary Cathedral, for those Catholics living in the section of the Cathedral Parish at Park Hills and vicinity. From September, 1930 to October, 1931, Reverend Gerhard H. Geisen, Chancellor of the Diocese, engaged in organizing the new congregation at Park Hills. Thereafter a resident Cathedral assistant-pastor was appointed to St. Agnes to minister to the spiritual needs of the Chapel congregation under the direction of the Pastor of the Cathedral. In the spring of 1931, Father Geisen formed a Catholic Athletic Association in connection with St. Agnes Chapel, having an eleven acre tract of land at its disposal for athletic purposes. On August 28, 1931, the bell which was donated to St. Agnes Chapel by the City of Covington, formerly used at the Twelfth Street First House, was blessed by Very Reverend Joseph A. Flynn, V.G. 

On September 8, 1930, Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Agnes School was opened under the care of the Sisters of Notre Dame, with an enrollment of twenty-six pupils. By October 3 of that year, the erection of a temporary frame Chapel on Old State Road, below the site of the present Chapel, had been completed and on October 5, 1930, the first Mass was offered in the new Chapel, which was dedicated to St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr. 

By 1938, the congregation, numbering about two hundred families, had outgrown the accommodations of the temporary Chapel, and plans were made for the erection of a more substantial Chapel which would provide for the future, as well as the present needs of the fast growing congregation. In May, 1938, work on a new Chapel was begun by Reverend Walter A. Freiberg, Pastor of St. Mary Cathedral, at a site fronting on the Dixie Highway, near the intersection of Old State Road. On Sunday, May 22, 1938, Bishop Howard laid the cornerstone of the new St. Agnes Chapel. Early in 1939, the erection of the present attractive Chapel, constructed of brick and stone, Italian Lombard in architectural design, displaying architectural features unique in this section of the country, was brought to completion and was formally dedicated by Bishop Howard on Sunday, February 5, 1939. Salient features were the front portico, the campanile adjoining the right side, and the smaller chapel adjoining the church proper.

 In 1941, a new St. Agnes Chapel School, consisting of four classrooms and a large basement for recreational purposes, was erected directly back of the Chapel, facing Old State Road. At that time it was calculated that this new structure, in conjunction with classrooms in the Chapel building would offer sufficient accommodation for a number of years, until a larger and permanent building would be needed. Bishop Howard officiated at the dedication of the new school on Sunday, August 24, 1941, and on September 2, the school was opened to the Catholic children of Park Hills, South Hills and Lookout Heights, sections of the Cathedral Parish, which St. Agnes Chapel serves.

 St. Agnes Chapel congregation today numbers five hundred and sixty-six families.


excerpted fromĀ History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, on the Occasion of the Centenary of the Diocese, 1853-1953, by Rev. Paul E. Ryan