Our History

Our History

St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church has a long and rich history that dates back to 1880, when the Diocese of Covington, in conjunction with local citizens, purchased a lot and built a frame structure and named it in honor of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. This original church building was located near where the current Swindler and Currin Funeral Home is located. For the next 39 years, St. Cecilia served as a “mission church”, and was attended to by the priests in residence at St. Paul Catholic Church in Florence.

As the Independence area continued to grow, plans were laid for St. Cecilia’s future. In 1911, most of the land encompassing our current campus was purchased, originally to serve as our cemetery. After the original church building burned to the ground in 1919, a much larger and more modern structure was built on the cemetery property. What became to be known as the “1919 Church” was followed by the building of the first rectory in 1921, and the original St. Cecilia School in 1923. A few Sisters of the Divine Providence from St. Anne’s Convent in Melbourne took up residence as teachers in the school. Meanwhile, our status as a mission church ended at this time, with Rev. Henry Heringhaus being named our first full-time pastor.

The quick growth of St. Cecilia in these years proved quite costly in monetary terms, resulting in the community coming together to raise funds for the new buildings. Hence, on Labor Day, 1919, our annual festival was born. In those early days, it was mainly a chicken dinner, with both the chicken and the fixings all donated by parishioners. Although our festival has grown by leaps and bounds since those days, the tradition of the chicken dinner on Labor Day continues to hold fast after all these years.

After many years of the resident pastor living off campus, St. Cecilia finally built our current rectory in 1950. This was followed closely by the construction of a new school building in 1953 (this is the old section of our current school building). By 1966, our congregation had grown to such an extent that the 1919 church was expanded and doubled in size. Even this was not enough, and two new parishes, St. Patrick in Taylor Mill and St. Barbara in Erlanger, were created to handle the overflow.

By the time of St. Cecilia’s centennial in 1980, the need was again becoming apparent that expansion was again necessary. Because of the cost, the plans took a number years to come to fruition. Groundbreaking for our current church building occurred with Bishop William Hughes in 1990, but the dedication did not happen until 1997, under Bishop Robert Muench. After many years of discussion, plans were also laid to build a Parish Life Center on campus. This addition, which would be constructed as an adjunct to our school building (and provide a long-needed gymnasium), was formally dedicated on February 23, 2020. St. Cecilia certainly has a long and storied history, with many more chapters still to be written. Our current pastor, Father Harry Settle was installed as our 13 th full-time pastor on January 27 th , 2021, and he continues to lead us into what promises to be a very bright future!