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St. Clare Church in Colesburg will celebrate the 20 th anniversary of its founding on Aug. 10. The Rev. Ivo Cecil, the Rev. David Naylor and church members invite the surrounding communities, former parishioners, former Colesburg residents and descendants of former Colesburg residents to attend the historic and joyous celebration.
Festivities begin with a noon Mass, celebrated by Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville, and former pastors of the church. Following Mass, lunch will be served in the Community Hall next to the church. There will be live music on the grounds.
St. Clare is Hardin County’s oldest Catholic congregation, tracing its beginnings to a small log church constructed by the hands of the famed circuit-riding pioneer priest, Charles Nerinckx, in 1808. This simple building was on a small knoll, about a mile from the present church, on Lower Colesburg Road. Here the deceased members of the church have been laid to rest since the congregation was established. The first Catholic settlers to plant roots in the fertile valley, surrounded by towering green hills, met for spiritual services in the small log home of James French as early as 1803. In those years before the construction of the first church, the pioneer group was referred to as the Clear Creek congregation. The present church, the third house of worship for the congregation, was built in 1874, within the town of Colesburg. Bricks from the second church, also at the cemetery site, were transported by horse-drawn flatbed wagons into town and used in the construction of the present building. St. Clare is the only Catholic church in the area that retains its original ornate interior architecture.