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ST. LEONARD PARISH
St. Leonard Community is a Roman Catholic Parish in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Valuing our unique size, we are an active community of faith, committed to offering parish members programs of worship, education, ministry, and service to the larger community.
To make our parish a vital center of worship and Christian community.
To teach Catholic beliefs, traditions and values in the context of encouraging lifelong faith formation.
To provide stewardship opportunities for all parish members so they can serve others by sharing time, talent and treasure in the spirit of following the life of Jesus.
To call forth and train parish members for leadership in ministry.
To respect the dignity of every person and to reach out in compassion to others as we strive to facilitate the reign of God.
(As told by the book Faith and Mission Parish Histories in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Archdiocese of Louisville)
St. Leonard Parish was established in 1953 on approximately eight acres of property that had been donated to the Archdiocese for a church to be named for the donor, Mr. Leonard Blandford. The first mass of the fifty-eight-member parish family was celebrated on October 18, 1953 in the nearby chapel of St. Joseph Orphan's Home. Father Joseph Emrich was the first pastor.
In the early years of the parish, funding and building were the primary focus as Father Emrich built a church, rectory, convent, and school. Staffed by the Ursuline Sisters of Mt. Joseph, the parish school opened in 1957. Small by design, it continues to serve the needs of the families near and far.
Soon the parish had developed numerous organizations and ministries, such as the St. Vincent DePaul Society and the Legion of Mary, many of which survive to this day.
After Vatican II, a lay advisory board, later known as the parish council, was established, and RCIA programs began in the early 1980's. Many ministries have been developed as parishioners respond to their baptismal call, including the "Leos on the Go" for active seniors.
In 1972, the church was renovated, and in 1980 a bell tower was erected. A second renovation took place in 1996-97. In 2002, a $1.3 million family life center and expanded school complex were completed. The following year, the parish celebrated its golden jubilee with many activities commemorating the founding and accomplishments of this dedicated community of over 1,300 parishioners.
The Second Vatican Council inspired greater involvement of the laity. With the leadership of a talented staff and committed parishioners, programs of lifelong formation have taken root. The parish family continues to embark on updating facilities and dedicating itself to faithful stewardship of its time, talent and treasure.