Parish History

The Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Shelbyville was consecrated by the Most Reverend Bishop Martin John Spalding on the Feast of the Holy Angels, October 2, 1860.

For five years previous in 1855, the Catholics of Shelbyville were served as a mission by Father John Bekkers, a native of Holland, who came to Kentucky at the invitation of Bishop Spalding. Mass was held in some of the Catholic’s homes. Father Bekkers made his first trip from the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville to Shelbyville. He visited every three or four months to encourage the Catholics in Shelbyville to establish a church of their own. Mrs. Jane Campbell donated property for the building in 1859. Both Catholics and non-Catholics made financial donations. At first it consisted of only wall frames and rough floors. Through a series of additions, the chapel took on the present form. Father Michael D. Lawler was the first pastor. Two years after the dedication of the church (1862), a rectory was built.

During the pastorate of Fr. Cushing (1864-95), the bell tower was added, and during Fr. Riley’s tenure (1905-1918), the rectory was expanded. In 1967 Rev. Joseph Lyon built the education building, and in 1975 Fr. Chester Bowling had a new rectory built. In 1998, at the request of Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly O.P., Fr. C. Joseph Batcheldor addressed the need for a new church. Construction, with room for 400 attendances and a gathering space, was begun, and the church was consecrated by Archbishop Kelly on February 6, 2000.

A year before, in 1999, the Cotter Center property across Main Street was acquired and because of generosity of time and talent initially served as classrooms for CCD, which lasted for 2 years. Then it was remodeled to provide adequate space for parish offices, formerly housed in the parish rectory. Fr. Bill Bowling arrived at the Church of the Annunciation in 1999, serving first as an associate with Fr. Batcheldor and then becoming pastor the following year.

The Hispanic faith community is an integral part of Annunciation parish. Shelby County has seen a steady growth in the Hispanic presence going back as far as 1972. In 1997, the Centro Latino was established to provide emergency assistance, counseling and help with health, education, and legal needs in the community. Annunciation Parish, now with more than 2,400 parishioners, has responded with vibrant ministries to the needs of all our new parishioners.

Under Fr. T. Michael Tobin, our new parish center was finished in 2020. It will provide the environment to facilitate the parish potential of unity among its members, and it will help to keep the parish vibrant and centered for the Body of Christ, our faith community.

Fr. David G. Sánchez was appointed as our new pastor in 2020.