When the Diocese of Covington began in 1853, the pastor of Corpus Christi parish in Newport served the people of Alexandria. Then the pastor of Four Mile took over the pastoral care of this area.
In 1860, a congregation of thirty families purchased four acres of land on the south side of Alexandria, property that had one hundred and thirty-three foot of frontage on Jefferson Avenue.
The historical sketch of St. Mary of the Assumption parish in the 1953 History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky by Father Paul Ryan, the last official history of our diocese, begins:
“The first Catholic church in Alexandria was built in 1860. At that time, Alexandria
was a typical little county-seat village, with its courthouse, a few shops and trading
posts, having a population of less than three hundred.”
In January 1865 Reverend D. Beck became the first resident Catholic pastor in Alexandria. In 1867, a parish school was opened with an enrollment of seventy pupils and Professor A. Maginot was the only teacher.
As the congregation grew, so did the need for a larger church building. Permission was sought from and granted by Bishop Maes to build a new church. After the bricks were made here on the grounds, the new church building was dedicated on October 25, 1891.
From 1891 until rather recently, St. Mary parish remained fairly stable in size. The final paragraph of the history of our parish in the diocesan history by Father Ryan concludes:
“St. Mary parish today is one of the finest rural parishes in the Diocese. At present ,
it numbers one hundred and eighty-four families. The elementary school has an enrollment
of about a hundred pupils….”
In the 1970’s it became apparent that suburbia was reaching the Alexandria area. By the late eighties, St. Mary began a gradual growth pattern that continues to the present. In the first two years of the nineties, about one hundred new families registered each year. The trend seems clear that growth will continue in our parish.
Since 1983, the parish has constructed a new church building, an addition to the school and a residence for the women religious who work in the parish.
During 1998, after four years of discussions by Parish Council and our parish Finance Committee, the parish made a number of changes in our facilities. Our most obvious need was more office and meeting space.
A storage/maintenance building was constructed. We converted what had been the convent into office and meeting space. The Sisters moved into the building that had been the rectory. The parish bought a house in a nearby neighborhood as a residence for the priests serving St. Mary Parish.
In the 1998/1999 school year, kindergarten was added to our school. In 1998 and 1999, the school gym was renovated and many improvements were made in the school buildings.
In 2005/2006, our parish had about 1300 families and 470 pupils in the elementary school. In 2007/2008, our parish had about 1370 families and 427 pupils in the elementary school. The once quiet, rural parish had become a very alive, growing suburban parish.
Through the generosity of parishioners to the SMART (St. Mary Accepts Responsibility Together) capital campaign, the church building in 2007 underwent a renovation, which included new heating/air-conditioning, new painting, carpeting, lighting, doors, a new ambry and a reconfiguration of the sanctuary space.
2010 marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of St. Mary. We give thanks to God for all those who have gone before us, for the opportunities and graces of the present and a future filled with joyful hope.