St. Aloysius Parish
In the early Winter of 1864, the large Mother of God Parish found itself unable to offer accommodations for its rapidly growing membership. There was definite need of another German-speaking parish in Covington. On January 8, 1865, a meeting was held in a grocery store on Bakewell Street to discuss the matter of forming a new German parish, in that section of the city. Bishop Carrell approved of the project, and accordingly on January 23, 1865, property was purchased for this purpose on the southeast corner of Seventh and Bakewell Streets, offering a frontage of one hundred and fifty-nine feet on Seventh Street, with a depth of one hundred and eighty-seven feet on Bakewell Street.
The parish building committee consisted of Louis Schnorbus, August Berger, Henry Niemeyer, Herman Roemer and Henry Sommer. The plans drawn up for the new church called for a three-story structure, thirty by ninety-six feet. The first floor was to be arranged for church purposes offering a seating capacity of three hundred; the second floor was to be furnished as living quarters for the Sisters, and the third floor was to contain the school. Completed on September 8, 1865, the new combination building was solemnly dedicated, in honor St. Aloysius, Patron of Youth, by Bishop Carrell, in the presence of a large crowd from various parishes of Covington, Newport and Cincinnati, on September 17, 1865. On the following Sunday, September 24, 1865, Reverend Ferdinand Kuhr, Pastor of Mother of God Parish, blessed the altar and offered the first Mass in the new church. On the same day, St. Aloysius Parish received as its first resident pastor, the Reverend Edward Froelich, a young priest who had been ordained by Bishop Carrell in the spring of the previous year.
The new congregation grew beyond all expectation, and within a few months, it was evident that a separate church building was necessary. At the close of a mission held in the parish, in February, 1866, conducted by the Reverend Francis Xavier Weninger, S.J., the entire congregation pledged their loyal support for a new church. On New Year’s Day, 1866, Bishop Carrell blessed the cornerstone of the new church, and by November, of that year, the church was ready for dedication. On November 24, 1867, Bishop Carrell dedicated the new St. Aloysius Church amid impressive ceremonies. At the time of the death of Bishop Carrell, the parish had two thousand parishioners with four hundred children under instruction.
Father Froelich’s pastorate continued until his untimely death, in 1873, whereupon Bishop Toebbe appointed Reverend John Stephany to the pastorate of St. Aloysius. After a laborious pastorate of thirteen years, on June 21, 1886, St. Aloysius’ second pastor was claimed by death. The third pastor of St. Aloysius Parish was Reverend Joseph Blenke, a native of Camp Springs, Kentucky. Acting on the decree of the recent Council of Baltimore regarding irremovable rectorship, Bishop Maes appointed Father Blenke irremovable pastor of St. Aloysius. During the twenty-one year pastorate of Father Blenke, the church, school and rectory underwent many substantial improvements. In 1889, in connection with the church, he constructed the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes which has become a well-known pilgrimage shrine. Likewise during his pastorate, the new rectory was built. The entire city of Covington, as well as his congregation, was cast into the deepest grief, when on January 23, 1907, it learned of the death of St. Aloysius’ third pastor.
On April 1, 1907, Reverend Ignatius M. Ahmann began a pastorate at St. Aloysius, which was to continue for more than forty-two years. Through his efforts the church was renovated to its present state of grandeur, and the parish received its present parish school building. In 1911, in preparation for the Golden Jubilee of the parish, Father Ahmann began a complete reconstruction of the entire church building which, as erected in 1867, was a plain structure of mixed Gothic and Roman architecture. The exterior brick work of the church showed signs of crumbling. It was decided to face the exterior walls with an imitation rock finish. At the same time, at the suggestion of Bishop Maes, a number of incongruous features in the structure of the building were eliminated, to bring the church in conformity with its predominant Roman style of architecture. The work on the exterior was completed by the summer of 1912, and appropriately commemorated on Sunday, October 27 of that year.
In the early part of 1914, the interior was remodeled in conformity with the new exterior. In this regard, Father Ahmann undertook to reproduce in the St. Aloysius Church the beautiful interior of St. Ignatius Church in Rome, which had been designed in the Roman Renaissance style, by the famous Filippo Brunelesco, and no detail of ornamentation was overlooked. When completed, St. Aloysius Church was an unusual example of Romanesque Etruscan style architecture, presenting a perfectly harmonious ensemble. After the interior work had been completed, the tower, which had been left incomplete several years previously when the exterior renovation was done, was brought to completion in preparation for the Golden Jubilee celebration. The last week of May, 1915, marked an auspicious event in the history of the parish. Pastor and people united to celebrate with appropriate ceremonies the Golden Jubilee of the parish and the Silver Jubilee of the pastor’s ordination to the Priesthood.
The year 1923 saw another great improvement in the history of the church, with the installing of fourteen new art windows. The enlargement of the sanctuary in 1930, brought the church to an excellent condition.
As early as 1928, the question of a new parish school had been rather acute. But it was not until 1932, that work on the present school on Eighth Street was begun. Receiving permission from Bishop Howard to build, May 2, 1932, Father Ahmann began work on the new school the following August 5. With the cornerstone laid on Sunday, September 18, 1932, the school was under roof by December of that year, and was dedicated the following year. The new school completed a well-organized parish plant. In 1936, Father Ahmann, at that time Vicar General of the Diocese, was elevated to the rank of Monsignor, by Pope Pius XI. Monsignor Ahmann’s pastorate continued until the time of his death, June 24, 1949.
On September 7, 1949, Reverend Nicholas Judermanns, the present pastor, was appointed successor to Monsignor Ahmann. In 1950, under the guidance of Father Judermanns, St. Aloysius Church and Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto were extensively redecorated. In the fall of 1950, a kindergarten was opened at St. Aloysius School. The parish today has a congregation of four hundred and eighty-five families.
excerpted from History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, on the Occasion of the Centenary of the Diocese, 1853-1953, by Rev. Paul E. Ryan