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Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church

The Catholic Community in Covington dates back to the early history of the city.  In 1870 the first Catholic Church was located at Liberty & High Streets, until the Church was sold in 1889.  Mass was offered regularly in a building near the railroad depot for the Irish Catholics who came in to lay the roadbeds for the Illinois Central railroad in 1903. This went on until the construction was completed. The present era of Covington Catholicism started in 1947, with services held in the home of Mrs. C.H. Sullivan, Jr. at the corner of Seminary and South College streets. Leonard Oglesby would come up from Frayser each Saturday to conduct services for 14 Catholics. By 1949 the group had grown and Bishop Adrian established the Covington Catholic community as a mission church, with Fr. Edward Heymer as its first pastor. By 1950 the congregation had outgrown the Sullivan home, and conducted services at the courthouse. A 5-acre plot was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Tatlock on the west side of Highway 51 South, the current location of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.  The present brick colonial church was formally dedicated on September 28, 1954.His Eminence, Cardinal Samuel Alphonsus Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, presided at the blessing of the new sanctuary, named in his honor.

In 1969 the mission parish was transferred from the pastor of Dyersburg to the pastor of St. William Church in Millington.  From 1947 to 1970 the congregation had grown from 14 to over 100 members. In addition to services, a religious program provided education from kindergarten through adult level, growth continued from 1970 through 1990.  On September 19, 1990 a rectory building was approved by the Memphis Diocese, and St. Alphonsus continues to serve the people of Tipton County. 

Rev. William McGrath, OMI

1973- 1976

Rev. Joseph Milford, OMI

1976 - 1979

Rev. Francis X. Gorham, OMI

1979 - 1985

Rev. James Blaney, OMI

1985 - 1986

Rev. Stephen A Vasek, OMI

1986 - 1989

Rev. Robert Ponticello

1989 - 1992

Rev. David M. Foley

1992 - 1996

Rev. William DeVries

1996 - 2009

Rev. John Hourican

2009 - 2013

Rev. Martin Orjianioke

2013 - Present

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