Welcome to our website!
As Pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Franklin, KY, I would like to welcome you and thank you for visiting our webpage. We are located just north of Kentucky’s border with Tennessee, in a small town that is also the county seat. St. Mary’s is one of the oldest churches in Franklin, having been a part of the community since the 1870s.
We are a friendly parish, and our membership is multi-generational. We have Sunday classes for everyone from Preschoolers to Adults. The women of our parish meet monthly and provide a social atmosphere for our members. We offer a Mass for the Hispanic community each Sunday, and we celebrate together the important events in the lives of our members.
And at the center of it all is our faith. We worship together, we sing together, and we pray together. We welcome you to our website and hope that you will join us as we celebrate our Risen Lord in the Eucharist.
Fr. Daniel Dillard
St. Mary’s is one of the oldest churches in Franklin. During the mid-1800s, many Irish immigrants came to work on the building of the Railroad through southern Kentucky. Lawrence and John Finn opened their homes to celebrate the Mass and Sacraments when missionary priests were in the area. By 1867, the number of Catholics in the area had grown so large that the Finn home was no longer adequate for services. Father Joseph DeVries of Bowling Green organized a Catholic Church in Franklin and it was named ‘St. Mary of the Woods’. Construction of a church building began in that year. In a nearby house, St. Mary’s Catholic School was started. Father James P. Ryan was the first resident pastor of St. Mary’s.
Fire destroyed the original wood frame church on New Year’s Day 1938. The parishioners continued to meet for Mass in the old school building, located on the present site of the rectory. The Glenmary Missionary priests moved into Southern Kentucky, but found only 6 Catholic families in the Franklin area. They continued to say Mass at the school building until 1953. In that year, under the leadership of Fr. Robert Healy, a stone church was built facing Main Street and membership continued to grow. In 1965, a Glenmary priest, Father Raymond Berthiaume, became the first resident Pastor since 1888. He served both St. Mary’s Parish and Christ the King Church in Scottsville.
As membership increased, St. Mary’s once again outgrew their meeting place. In 1999, a new church Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall were built behind the stone church. The following year, renovations in the old church building provided church offices and classrooms for Religious Education. Parish members come from both Kentucky and Tennessee, providing a varied group of people with different backgrounds. St. Mary’s Church continues to be a place where area Catholics can gather to worship and pray together.
Under the authority of the Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, Fr. Eric Riley became a temporary Pastor of St. Mary’s in 2003.
Father Robert Drury was assigned to St. Mary’s in 2004, and served the parish for 10 years. In June 2014, Fr. Daniel Dillard became our Pastor and currently serves both St. Mary’s and Christ the King in Scottsville.