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History of St. Martha Parish
In the 1950's, there was a great exodus of Catholics from the west end of Louisville, who were buying houses and settling in the Hikes Point area of Louisville, Kentucky, and this necessitated the establishment of Sts. Barnabas and Pius X parishes in the early and middle 1950's. In June 1960, when these parishes became overcrowded, Archbishop Floersh appointed Reverend James J. Dalton as pastor of St. Martha Catholic Church. Seventeen acres of land were acquired on Klondike Lane.
Construction of the church and school began and the first Mass was offered on Thanksgiving of 1961, with folding chairs as pews. The men of the parish constructed the rectory, garage and walk. The sisters lived in a rented house on Glenmeade until a convent was built in 1965. The first bulletin on file reveals that there were 424 families registered and the collection in January 1962 was $890.00. The Masses on Sunday were at 6:00am, 7:30am, 9:00am and 11:00am. The church and school were blessed by the Bishop on Sunday, March 4, 1962.
School for the children was held at St. Pius X in the afternoons from September through November 1961. There were three sisters and three lay teachers on staff. There were only 25 children in each grade, with the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th being taught by one teacher.
Almost immediately, St. Martha parish experienced a very rapid growth. In the fall of 1964 there were 131 children registered for the first grade. The graduation class in 1965 totaled 110 students.
By 1967, enrollment increased to 756 students and the faculty grew to 24 persons. In 1977, St. Martha was the second largest school in the archdiocese. Our faculty peaked at 25 persons. Two major additions were built to the school to accommodate this growth.
During the latter part of 1960, Vatican II's impact played an important role in reshaping our parish community, both physically and intellectually. The altar was turned to face the people. Later in 1970, the altar was moved to the side of the church building and the pews were place so that all parishioners were in closer contact with the celebration of Mass.
In 1968 the first Parish Council was formed and the laity was called upon to accept a much greater responsibility in the administration of parish affairs.
In May 1984 Bethany Center, a community center for the entire parish, was dedicated. The interior of the church was totally renovated and refurbished.
In 1990, St. Martha became a stewardship parish. Kindergarten became part of our school in 1993. In 1994, the interior of our church was repainted and carpeted. Electric service was updated, an audiovisual room was added, classrooms were carpeted, and a new phone system was installed.
1994 saw the renovating of the Parish Office basement to provide a large and well-equipped area for youth activities and a separate area for parish meetings. In the summer, we finished the addition of a new office for the Principal, a new computer room and two classrooms for the school. A new roof for the school, cafeteria and rectory were also added.
Deacon Ray Kramer who came to St. Martha with Fr. John Deatrick in 1993 was officially appointed to the position of Pastoral Associate. In 1996 Charles Brown and John Maher were ordained Permanent Deacons and assigned to St. Martha. In 1996, the Parish also paid off the debt in the Phase II program. In 1997 Fr. Michael Greenwell completed three years as a weekend associate and was replaced by Fr. Fred Hendrickson. Pam Berry was appointed DRE in 1997.
1998 saw the installation of a totally new heating and air conditioning system for the church and school. New flooring and ceiling were installed in the school and cafeteria. Mr. Jim Bennett, our long time Deacon, passed away on February 10, 1998.
In 1999 Annette Bergamini was appointed RCIA director. St. Martha took charge of the Child Care Center from the YMCA.
Completion of the Sr. William Carrico Hall was a highlight of the year 2000. This welcome addition to the school was paid for without borrowing any money and will be a tremendous asset to the entire Parish. The parish office basement was totally refurbished and a large room was dedicated to our youth program.
We were saddened by the death of Dean Ray Kramer on April 18, 2001. The parish office was named the Kramer Center in his honor. The large meeting room in the Kramer Center was named in honor of the late Dean Jim Bennett. Deacon Ken Ward joined the St. Martha staff. School opened with 551 students.
In 2002, Geoff Gnau, our parishioner, was ordained as a permanent deacon and assigned to St. Martha parish.
A new faculty room was added to the school in the spring of 2003. In the fall, we began our full day kindergarten classes and added a new weekday pre-kindergarten program.
In 2004, Fr. John Deatrick retired after 11 years as our pastor and we welcomed Fr. Don Springman as our new pastor. We also joined with the other BAMP parishes in building a Habitat for Humanity home.
There were many changes in 2005; the church was painted and updated, we completed building a new concession stand for the athletic field, and our new weekend Mass schedule changed.
Priests: Revs. James Dalton, Robert Osborne, Francis Smith, John Lehmenkuler, John Sohan, Clarence Nord, Robert Gray, John Birk, Kenneth Kamber, Michael Rankin, John Deatrick, Robert Huber, Terry Bradshaw, Harry Gelthaus, Anthony Chandler, Peyton Badgett, Scott Wimsett, and Don Springman.