St. Augustine

When Bishop Toebbe was pastor at New Richmond, Ohio, he occasionally crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky to attend Catholics on the south side of the River in the Diocese of Covington, who did not enjoy the services of priests. Augusta was one of the places which benefited from his priestly zeal. The first Mass offered at Augusta was said in the home of Mr. Richard O’Neil. After the Benedictine Fathers came to Covington the small congregation at Augusta was placed under their care, and mass was offered there on the first Sunday of the month. Under the encouragement and direction of the Benedictine Fathers, the Catholics of Augusta undertook to build a church. A building fund was begun, and an acre of land was purchased on Fourth Street, which constitutes the site of the present church. Bricks to be used in the construction of the church were burned on the site. On Sunday, May 29, 1859, Bishop Carrell laid the cornerstone of the new church. It was an event memorable in the history of the Church at Augusta. The occasion attracted a large crowd of people from the surrounding counties of Kentucky and Ohio. Three steamboats, Champion No. 1, Champion No. 2 and the Caledonia, gaily decorated with flags and banners, left Cincinnati at eight o’clock that morning, carrying passengers to Augusta for the Pontifical services.

 The little congregation at that time consisted of about forty Catholic families, mostly of German and Irish descent. When brought to Completion, the neat brick church was dedicated by Very Reverend Thomas R. Butler, V.G., on Sunday, October 7, 1860, under the patronage of St. Augustine. Prior to 1866, the mission was cared for by the Benedictine Missionaries, including Father Oswald Moosmueler, O.S.B., Father Emmeran Bluemel, O.S.B., Father Leander Schnerr, O.S.B., and Father Isidor Walter, O.S.B. In 1866, Reverend Alto Hoermann, O.S.B., was appointed as the first resident pastor, his pastorate continuing for about a year, until the time of his death in 1867. From 1867 to 1875, there were a number of priests who held temporary appointments at Augusta. During the administration of Reverend Eberhard Gahr, O.S.B., the first priest’s house was built. In 1875, Reverend Caspar Oslangenberg was appointed pastor of Augusta, his pastorate continuing for ten years. Father Ostlangenberg invited the Sisters of Notre Dame of Covington to conduct the parish school.

 During the pastorate of Reverend Bernard Greikfenkamp, the church was enlarge, the present sanctuary being added. He likewise erected the present rectory. His successor, Reverend Anthony Goebel, improved the parish plant by the erection of a new school building. On October 24-25, 1909, the Golden Jubilee of the church was fittingly observed.

On December 1, 1911, Reverend Romaine Van der Vorst was transferred from the chaplaincy of St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington, to the pastorate of Augusta. His pastorate continued for seventeen years, until his death, April 17, 1928. He was buried in the cemetery on the hill overlooking Augusta.

 Reverend Michael E. Tierney, the present pastor, was appointed to Augusta on September 29, 1931. The parish school has continued under the charge of the Sisters of Notre Dame. St. Augustine Parish today has a congregation of eighty 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