In 1940, Bishop Cotton assigned Fr. Robert W. Conner to minister to Blacks in Owensboro, Kentucky. At that time, Black Catholics attending mass were seated in the choir loft at St. Stephens Cathedral. The young Fr. Connor established the “Catholic Colored School” at a residence at 5th and Plum Street in September 1940. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth assisted with the establishment of this first school and continued to teach at Blessed Sacrament until its closure.
In 1946, property at 7th and Sycamore (formerly the Daviess County Consolidated Colored School) was acquired and Blessed Sacrament School was established. This provided the parish family with a place for education, fellowship and worship. Thirty-five to fifty-five students were enrolled in grades K-12 throughout the years. The erection of Blessed Sacrament Chapel in 1948 was a significant landmark of diocesan ministry to Black Catholics in Western Kentucky.
The school was the center of education, socialization, and fellowship for the Black community-with such activities as Christmas plays, Sweetheart pageants, Bingo, chili suppers, Mae-Queen celebrations, and participation in C.S.M.C. rallies. The annual “Emancipation Day Picnic”, held the first Saturday in August, was one of the largest attended in this area.
Blessed Sacrament Chapel provided full sacramental and liturgical ministry throughout the Church year to its 60 – 80 households until its closure in 1966.
This building was leased for a museum for a while. It was reopened as the Robert W. Connor Center by Fr. John Bartolomucci in 1976. The Center celebrated Mass every Sunday and provided outreach services to the Black community. The Sisters of the Lamb of God provided daycare services.
The current facade of Blessed Sacrament Chapel is the result of renovations in 1985 when a roof was replaced and central heating and air conditioning installed. The diocese sold the school building to St. Vincent de Paul. In 2001, the parish hall was built.
Today’s parish family consists of many of the founding families and it continues to grow. We are a culturally-diverse Catholic faith community with an Afro-centric focus.
We are a mission, established in the spirit of Jesus Christ, committed to spreading the “Word” through fellowship and good works. All are welcome here!