Mt. Washington, Bullitt Co.
Pastor: Rev. R. Dale Cieslik
Permanent Deacons: Carl A. Fahringer, Gerald J. Mattingly
Sundays — Sat vigil: 5 p.m.; Sun: 7 a.m., 9 a.m.
Holy Days — Vigil: 7 p.m.; Holy Day: 8:30 a.m.
Daily — Tue, Fri: 8:30 a.m
In the early years, a visiting priest, usually traveling by horseback, celebrated Mass every fifth Sunday in the Mount Washington area. Although as early as 1830 a small group of Catholics tried to organize a parish, it wasn’t until 1845 that land was acquired. The first church was named St. Francis Xavier in 1846. In 1880, St. Francis Xavier was a mission of St. Michael, Fairfield, and in 1911, a mission of St. Aloysius, which had opened in Shepherdsville. By this time Mass was available every week.
By the 1960s the parish had grown to forty-six families with eighty-one adults. The parishioners requested permission to build a church. Groundbreaking took place in 1965, and the new church was dedicated on May 29, 1966. In October of that year, St. Francis Xavier achieved the status of a parish, and Father Henry G. Vessels was the first pastor. In the 1970s and 1980s, the parish constructed more storage space and an educational center to accommodate the growing parish.
Today, St. Francis Xavier serves about 1,800 parishioners. Religious education classes are full. Attendance at worship services is over capacity. The parish has professional staff in place to assist the pastor, and many activities and ministries exist to serve the parish and surrounding community. This explosion of growth spurred St. Francis to acquire another 1.7 acres of land in 2005, and plans are underway to construct a new worship space. The torch of faith that motivated the early residents to create their own parish continues to burn as the parish begins its next phase of growth and development.