About Us

St. Stephen Cathedral, established in 1839, was the first parish in the city of Owensboro. The present church was built in 1924. Membership is approximately 615 households.

A Brief History of St Stephen Cathedral

  • 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 St. Stephen Church was built at the same location.
  • 1924 – 1926   –  The third St. 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 St. Stephen Church as his Cathedral.
  • 1938 – Reverend Anthony Higdon was the first priest to be ordained from St. 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.
  • 1947 – Blessed Sacrament Chapel established as a mission church.
  • 1951 – Owensboro Catholic High School opened.
  • 1962 – A new St. Stephen Cathedral parish school opened at 600 Locust Street.
  • 1989 – Owensboro parochial schools consolidated; St. Angela Merici became the designated school for our parish children and St. Stephen Cathedral Preschool opened.
  • 1989 – We celebrated 150 years as a parish!
  • 2004 – St. 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.
  • 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.

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

We are a blessed parish indeed!      

For information and to view photographs about Cathedral restorations and renovations, click on the “Restoration” link on the top left-hand corner of this page.

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