Historical marker unveiled at St. Vincent de Paul Church

The former St. Vincent de Paul Church, now Sojourn Community Church, at 1207 S. Shelby St. (Record Photos by Marnie McAllister)

By MARNIE McALLISTER, Record Editor

A Kentucky Historical Highway Marker was unveiled Aug. 1 at the former St. Vincent de Paul Church, which is now Sojourn Community Church, on South Shelby Street. One side of the marker briefly describes the history of the church, which was founded in 1878 and served primarily German Catholics.

The parish closed in 1996 and was used for other Archdiocese of Louisville ministries, including the Catholic deaf community and archives, until it was purchased and expanded by Sojourn Community Church in 2010.  The marker says the newly restored church “served as a catalyst for Shelby Park neighborhood revitalization.”

The current church building, which was completed in 1888, was designed by architect and urban planner Dennis Xavier (D.X.) Murphy. The other side of the marker details Murphy’s accomplishments. He designed several other Catholic churches in the area and his firm designed the twin spires at Churchill Downs.

Representatives of the Archdiocese of Louisville, the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association and those who work in the area attended the unveiling. Dr. Brian B. Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer of the archdiocese, reminded those gathered of the parish’s long history.

“Buildings tell stories,” he said. “Thousands of people worshipped here and were educated here on this corner. At one point, 1,000 children at once were educated in that building, all in German,” he said, gesturing to the former St. Vincent de Paul School situated across Shelby Street from the church.

The school building now houses archdiocesan offices and is known as the Maloney Center.

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