HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH
The Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Shelbyville was consecrated by the Most Reverend Bishop Martin John Spalding on the Feast of the Holy Angels, October 2, 1860. For five years previous, the Catholics of Shelbyville were served as a mission by the Reverent John Bekker, a native of Holland, who came to Kentucky at the invitation of Bishop Spalding. Mass was held in some of the Catholics’ homes. Mrs. Jane Campbell donated property for the building. Both Catholics and non-Catholics made financial donations. Two years after the dedication of the church (1862), a rectory was built.
PASTORS and CHANGES
During the pastorate of Fr. Cushing (1864-95), the bell tower was added and during Fr. Riley’s tenure (1905-1918), the rectory was expanded. In 1967, Rev. Joseph Lyon built the Education building and in 1975, Rev. Chester Bowling had a new rectory built. In 1983, one of the most beloved of our pastors arrived, Fr. John Lesousky. For ten years, Fr. John endeared himself to many parishioners. Although now retired and living in Louisville, parishioners frequently visit with Fr. John. In1998, at the request of Archbishop Kelly, Fr. Joe Batcheldor addressed the need for space created by the incoming of Catholics from outside of Shelby County, both Americans and Hispanic immigrants. Construction of a new church, with room for 400 and an expansive gathering space or vestibule, was begun, and the church was consecrated by Archbishop Kelly on February 6, 2000. A year before, in 1999, the Cotter Center property across Main Street (presently the parish office) was acquired and as a result of generosity of time and talent initially served as classrooms for CCD, which lasted for 2 years. Then it was remodeled to provide adequate space for parish offices, formerly housed in the parish rectory. Fr. Bill Bowling arrived at the Church of the Annunciation in 1999, serving first as an associate with Fr. Batcheldor and then becoming pastor the following year. While serving as Pastor of Church of Annunciation and St. John, Archbishop Kelly appointed him to also serve first as Director of Hispanic Ministry for a few years and then Vocations Director of the Archdiocese. With all these added responsibilities, Fr. Bill managed to shepherd the parishes meeting spiritual and social needs as well as making plans for the future.
The latest facility to be added to the campus was the Annunciation Community Center (ACC) Building. This property (formerly Electric City) was acquired in 2006 and was renovated through the efforts of parishioners to serve the needs of the parish. Like all facilities on this campus, with expanded ministries and activities, it is in constant use. Fr. Mike Tobin returned to COA in 2011 as the pastor of the parish. He had spent one year in 2005 in the parish of Church of the Annunciation polishing his Spanish. From 2006-2011, he established Spanish-speaking ministries in LaRue and Hardin Counties and served as pastor in Hodgenville, KY. Fr. Mike has overseen the Catholic Hispanic Community in Shelby County as a fluent Spanish speaker while fulfilling the goals formed by Fr. Bill Bowling and the Building a Future of Hope Campaign for the parish as a whole in Shelbyville. Other recent improvements to the Church and Chapel have also been accomplished – see below. The assistance of the Parish Council and Finance Council has been indispensable during Fr. Mike’s pastorate in recommending projects and supporting fund raising. The generosity of parishioners has been heartwarming.
DEACONS AND ASSOCIATE PASTORS
In 1986, Fr. Jack Jones assisted with daily Mass and weekend Masses, at the invitation of Fr. John Lesousky. He served in this capacity until 2009, the year of his 50th anniversary. Other associate priests at Annunciation and St. John’s have included Fr. Pat Delahanty, Fr. Mike Tobin, Fr. Jeff Gatlin, Fr. John Perez and Fr. Bryan Lamberson. In 1999, Annunciation received its first Deacons with the ordination of parish members John Shoulta and Brendan “Butch” Kinsella. In 2008, two more deacons were added when parishioners, Bob Hart (serving at COA) and Frank Villalobos (serving St. Bartholomew parish in Louisville), were ordained. In 2012, parishioners Joseph Bland and Jack Koenig were ordained as deacons. Deacon Butch serves St. John Chrysostom Church; Deacon Joseph and Deacon Bob serve Annunciation parish, and Deacon Jack serves now at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Louisville.