Archbishop celebrates Mass at new parish

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, right, installed Father William P. Burks as pastor of the new St. John Paul II Church Dec. 20. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, right, installed Father William P. Burks as pastor of the new St. John Paul II Church Dec. 20. (Record Photos by Jessica Able)

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

On the final Sunday of Advent, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated Mass with Father William P. Burks and the hundreds of members of the new St. John Paul II Church, 3042 Hikes Lane.

St. John Paul II Church was created by the merger of St. Pius X, 3521 Goldsmith Lane, and St. Barnabas, 3042 Hikes Lane, churches last year.

The church will operate on both campuses; Masses will be held at both locations, though Sunday Masses will be at the Hikes Lane campus. The parish office is also located at the Hikes Lane address.

The new parish, which was formally established on Nov. 29, opened with about 1,300 families. The Archdiocese of Louisville now has 110 parishes in 24 counties in central Kentucky.

The celebration on Dec. 19 served as an opportunity to welcome the archbishop to the newly-created parish, Father Burks, pastor of St. John Paul II, said in an interview prior to the Mass.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrates Mass at the new St. John Paul II Church Dec. 20. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrates Mass at the new St. John Paul II Church Dec. 20. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Archbishop Kurtz “is our chief shepherd. We want his blessing and his encouragement as we move forward,” Father Burks said, noting the archbishop and the Chancery were supportive of both parishes throughout the merger process.

In the coming weeks and months, Father said, his focus will be to “bring both communities together.”

“I think some people are still waiting to see exactly how some things will work out. It’s step by step, day by day,” he said.

Father Burks said the dual-campus model is both an opportunity and a challenge.

“It gives us a lot more flexibility to have more facilities than you would have had with just one campus,” he said. “It’s a new model for most of us as Catholics, but I’m trusting that in time — as the details get worked out — that people will embrace that more and more.”

During the Mass, Archbishop Kurtz also formally installed Father Burks as pastor of the new parish.

The archbishop said during his homily that said there are three things a priest is supposed to do as a pastor: Preach God’s word, celebrate the sacred mysteries and provide pastoral leadership and care.

“These are all the gifts he (Father Burks) brings to this new parish,” the archbishop said.

“But, you bring gifts, too,” the archbishop told the congregation. “You bring the gifts that make your new parish come together.”

The archbishop described each Sunday Mass as a “visitation,” referring to the day’s Gospel account of the “Visitation of Elizabeth.”

“A visitation with each other, getting to know parishioners maybe you have not met before, because they may have been from the other parish,” he said. “Getting to know, not only know them, but getting to know Christ in the Eucharist.”

As a way of honoring the heritage of the two founding parishes, artwork from each parish is now displayed in the parish buildings, Father Burks said. An icon of St. Barnabas will be hung in the daily Mass chapel on the Hikes Lane campus. And, a photograph of Pope Pius X, which hung for many years at St. Pius X Church, will also be displayed in the Hikes Lane church. An image of St. John Paul II is prominently displayed in the church’s vestibule.

Masses for St. John Paul II Church will be celebrated:

  • Saturdays — 4:30 p.m. at the Goldsmith Lane campus.
  • Sundays — 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Hikes Lane campus.
  • Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday (no fifth Saturday) — 8 a.m. at the Hikes Lane campus.
  • Wednesdays — 8:15 a.m. Mass at the Goldsmith Lane campus for John Paul II Academy, a regional school sponsored by St. John Paul II Church and St. Bartholomew Church.

The parish office is located at 3042 Hikes Lane, Louisville, Ky., 40220-2017. The phone number is 459-4251.

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