A parish church, founded on what was then the edge of the city, is today the central church of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. Saint Benedict Parish, opened 100 years ago in December 1912, is a landmark on Lincoln Avenue and visible from U.S. Highway 41.
Since 1999, when the church was consecrated as the diocesan cathedral, the towering Lombard, Basilica-style structure has served as the focal point of the diocese. It is here that Catholics from parishes in 12 counties of Southwestern Indiana gather to celebrate important days in the church year with Bishop Charles C. Thompson.
A special centennial Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, Dec. 2, the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the Catholic Church year. The parish will host a brunch after the 10:30 a.m. Mass, open to all who come to enjoy the festivities.
Chanticleer, considered the world’s top male a cappella chorus, will be in concert to benefit St. Benedict Parish on the evening of April 13, at Evansville’s Victory Theatre.
The parish celebration of the Feast of St. Benedict will include a special 4:30 p.m. Mass with festive music and a community event after Mass on July 13. The parish theme for the year is “Rooted in Tradition, Growing in Faith.”
“We are celebrating the first 100 years of the parish, but we are confidently looking ahead to living out our faith every day God gives us,” says Father Gregory Chamberlin, a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey who serves as parish pastor and rector of the cathedral.
“Thousands and thousands of people have been baptized at St. Ben’s, received their first communion and confirmation,” Father Gregory says. “Thousands of families have sent their children to our parish school. We’ve rejoiced at weddings and mourned at funerals and celebrated Sunday Mass and daily life in so many ways.”
Benedictine priests have served the parish since its establishment. Father Gregory was named pastor in 1991. Father Harold Hammerstein, an Evansville native, has provided special assistance for the parish since 1978.
St. Ben’s parishioners have witnessed the rich life of the Catholic Church over the years, including changing styles of worship since the Second Vatican Council and the re-establishment of permanent deacons.
For more information on the Saint Benedict Cathedral, visit www.stbenedictcathedral.org or call 812-425-3369.