St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish celebrated its first Masses on September 13-14, 1980 in a storefront in Gainesway. The Parish was a vision of Bishop Ackerman, with a formal proclamation by Bishop Hughes. Our first pastor, Monsignor John Rolf, had a post-Vatican II vision for the parish. He stressed lay involvement with the goal of building a “church” community before erecting a building called church.
As the community grew, greater emphasis was placed on the Eucharist, education, and families ministering and serving together. It was only fitting that the first American-born, newly canonized saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, become our patroness, as her life embodied those realities. Community and faith building activities continued for five years before the move to our present Church facilities.
Following the move to our current location, Parish membership, as well as new programs and ministries, grew quickly. In August 1989, we opened a preschool, answering a community need and foreshadowing things in God’s plan.
We said farewell to Fr. Rolf in June 1993 and welcomed our second pastor, Fr. Wil Fraenzle. Fr. Wil focused us on completing the building phases and paying off our debt on the church building. By 2000, we had accomplished that goal as a consequence of Fr. Wil’s other focus, continuing to build church as community. He employed Sr. Eileen Golby as Pastoral Associate with the charge of bringing CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) to enrich and build upon the community spirit in the parish.
In cooperation with the other Lexington parishes and the diocese, the United in Faith campaign accelerated the dream of a parish elementary school. Thanks to the unyielding strength and leadership of Fr. Wil and the hard work and dedication of the Seton community, Seton Catholic School opened its doors in August 2005. The school has been a catalyst for more growth and development of the parish.
The vision of our third pastor, Fr. John Moriarty, has led us to an emphasis on biblical stewardship as a way of life. An increase in stewardship of prayer, ministry and finance has brought us to the brink of an exciting new phase in the parish development. We dream of new facilities to act as a hub of activity for youth and adults alike, further fostering the growth of the parish. St. Elizabeth An Seton Parish will continue to honor its rich history as it strives to ensure that our Catholic faith grows with our community, as we embrace its future.