By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
HORSE CAVE, Ky. — Our Lady of the Caves Church in Horse Cave, Ky., caught fire in the early hours today, Dec. 9. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Father of Mercy Joel Rogers, former pastor of Our Lady of the Caves, said the fire was reported about 6:30 a.m. today, Dec. 9.
“It’s devastating. Right now we are in shock. We can’t believe it happened,” said Father Rogers, who served at the Hart County parish for 15 years, 13 as pastor.
Theresa Smith, the wife of Deacon David U. Smith, a permanent deacon of the parish, described the inside of the church building as a “total loss.”
“Right now, they (firefighters) are still soaking the outside of the structure. It is still standing but the inside is a total loss. The roof is totally gone,” she said.
Father Rogers said parishioners are focused on setting up a temporary worship space in St. Bernadette Hall, the parish hall next door which escaped fire damage.
Deacon Smith said the Fathers of Mercy, who administer both Our Lady of the Caves and St. Helen Church in Glasgow, Ky., will deliver an altar and tabernacle for use in the parish hall.
Deacon David U. Smith said the parishioners he has been in contact with are “in total shock.”
“One woman I talked with said it was like someone dying. She was in shock. We are all in shock,” Deacon Smith said.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz plans to celebrate Mass Dec. 11 at 8 a.m. in St. Bernadette Hall.
The church was blessed in 1954 by Archbishop John A. Floersh. According to the parish website, Our Lady of the Caves has 75 families and 250 parishioners. It remains a mission of St. Helen under the leadership of the Fathers of Mercy.