Saint Francis Xavier community of Henryville, Indiana has a long and proud history of many generations of its congregation since its 1869 founding. It was the first Catholic Church built in Henryville. It was a small frame building built of timbers cut and hauled by Catholics of the community who also furnished most of the labor for the construction of the church. The first record of a baptism was October 29, 1872. During the first years, the dead were hauled in farm wagons to St. Mary’s of the Knobs, a distance of seventeen miles for burial in the church cemetery. Later, the cemetery at St. Joseph’s Hill was used until ground for a church cemetery was purchased near Henryville in 1882. The first resident pastor of St. Francis Xavier was Rev. John Hillebrand. The first marriage recorded was in 1887. The first Communion class was held in 1894. There were four boys and eleven girls. The class was confirmed Rt. Rev F.S. Chatard on May 6, 1896. In 1919, St. Mary’s of New Albany was given the mission of Henryville. During this time, a new church was built in Henryville. An auction for 100 acres, which was donated, led to funds for our new church. The cornerstone for the new church was laid in 1927, and completed in early 1928. The original frame church and parish home was then removed. The first service held in the new church was the confirmation Class on June 15, 1928. The presiding Bishop was from Nashville, Tennessee. Dedication ceremonies were held on June 17, 1928. During the year of the Great Exodus, Henryville was again given a resident pastor. In July 1934, Father Matthew Herold was appointed pastor of Henryville. Our parish has had a long succession of priests and we feel blessed having had these individuals share god’s word and celebrate our sacramental need. Each phase of renovation and continued development has been made possible by the financial and physical support of the parishioners throughout the years. In meeting our parishioner’s needs by making our parish more accessible, an elevator was installed in 2002. We pray that we will continue to be able to serve, worship, and glorify our heavenly Father, who has kept us in his loving care throughout all these years.
Saint Francis Xavier Today
Saint Francis Xavier continues to grow and serve the community of Henryville with Mass on Sunday morning and Thursday afternoon. Father Tully continues to bring experience and opportunities to include our youth and families in prayer, weekly worship, love of nature, and care of our church and community through evangelization. Saint Francis Xavier runs under the direction of Father Tully and the Parish Council. The Parish family supports the church with Fish Fries throughout the year. Emily Horine and Joe Banet lead catechists to provide religious education from age two to adult. We are linked with Saint Michael in Charlestown, Indiana to provide activities for youth, including: Vacation Bible School, parish outings, and social events. As linked parishes, we have a partnership with St. John Paul II to discover ways to share resources and programs across the Linked and Partnership models. Our cemetery is maintained by supportive parishioners and managed by Vicki and Richard Horine. We currently serve 100+ families and always welcome new members. As a parish, we are grateful for the active participation from each member and work to continue our mission to serve God and grow in love for Him, for others, and for ourselves.