About Us


A Brief History of Saint Stephen Cathedral

Saint Stephen Cathedral, established in 1839, was the first parish in the city of Owensboro. The present church was built in 1924. Membership is approximately 620 households.

  • 1822-1839 –  The mission years.  Mission priests celebrated Mass in the homes of the early settlers in Daviess County.
  • 1839 – The first St. Stephen Church was built at Second and Cedar Streets.  Reverend John C. Wathen was appointed pastor of the new church.
  • 1849 – The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth opened St. Francis Academy, the first school in Daviess County.
  • 1856 – A second and larger Saint Stephen Church was built at the same location.
  • 1924 – 1926   –  The third Saint Stephen Church was built at 610 Locust Street.   The artisans who designed the church were foreseeing that one day our church would be called “Cathedral.”
  • 1937 – Pope Pius XI  created the Diocese of Owensboro.
  • 1938 – Pope Pius XI designated Most Reverend Francis R. Cotton  as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, and Saint Stephen Church as his Cathedral.
  • 1938 – Reverend Anthony Higdon was the first priest to be ordained from Saint Stephen Cathedral.
  • 1939 – We celebrated 100 years as a parish and the first parish school was opened at 7th and Frederica Streets for grades 1-5.
  • 1948 – Blessed Sacrament Chapel established as a mission church.
  • 1951 – Owensboro Catholic High School opened.
  • 1962 – A new Saint Stephen Cathedral parish school opened at 600 Locust Street.
  • 1986 – Saint Stephen Cathedral Preschool was established.
  • 1989 – Owensboro parochial schools consolidated; St. Angela Merici became the designated school for our parish children.
  • 1989 – We celebrated 150 years as a parish!
  • 2004 – Saint Stephen Cathedral parish held its first annual Parish Picnic.  The first Capital Campaign “Preservation for the Next Generation” was opened to renew and refurbish the parish facilities.
  • 2010 – Pope Benedict XVI designated Most Reverend William F. Medley as the 4th Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro.
  • 2011 – Work continues on plans for the interior renovation of the Cathedral.
  • 2012 – The newly renovated Cathedral was re-opened and the new altar dedicated on November 18, 2012.
  • 2018 – The “Keeping Safe & Secure” Capital Campaign was begun to replace the front porch and steps as well as to improve campus security.

Today, Saint Stephen Cathedral is a vibrant parish serving the spiritual needs of its families with Most Reverend William F. Medley as Bishop and Reverend John Thomas as pastor.

We are a blessed parish indeed!