The Longest Serving Pastor, Part 2

Past Pastors: Fr. William L. Gabe (1907-1919) 
Published on February 1-2, 2014 in the Parish Bulletin of Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY

Shortly after Fr. Gabe arrived, it became apparent that the congregation at Saint Bernard’s in Clementsville had outgrown their little log Church. A larger Church was built in 1891 and consecrated on June 1, 1892. The mission of Saint Bernard’s continued to grow after he left until it was elevated to a parish in 1897 with the Rev. John Imhof (1861-1900) as its first resident pastor. The Church that Fr. Gabe built in 1891 burned down in January 1949; it was replaced by the present Church built in 1950.

Fr. Gabe served as the pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Campbellsville from July 1888 until he fell ill of typhoid fever in March 1894. After his recovery, he was sent in the summer of 1894 to be the administrator of Saint Augustine Church in Grayson Springs and its three missions in Grayson County: Saint Mary Church in Big Clifty, Saint Paul Church (now Saint Anthony Church) in Peonia, and Saint Benedict Church in Wax.

In September 1894, he was made the pastor of Saint Romuald Church in Hardinsburg, Kentucky and its two missions, Saint Anthony Church in Axtel and Saint Mary of the Woods Church in McQuady. He began building the third and present Church of Saint Romuald’s in 1897. The Church was completed in two years and it was dedicated on October 17, 1900 by the Right Rev. Monsignor Michael Bouchet (1827-1903), then the Vicar General of the Diocese of Louisville (1871-1903).

Fr. Gabe had ministered in Breckinridge County, Kentucky a month short of thirteen years when he was sent in August 1907 to his second longest assignment: Saint Andrew Church in Harrodsburg and its three missions, Saint Nicholas Church in Rose Hill, Saint James the Less Church (now Saint Lawrence Church) in Lawrenceburg, and the Church of the Assumption (also known as Saint Mary’s) in Fenwick (now Thompsonville).

A baptism recorded and signed by Fr. William Gabe in the 1905-1965 sacramentral register of Saint Andrew's

A baptism recorded and signed by Fr. William Gabe
in the 1905-1965 sacramentral register of Saint Andrew’s

It is known that he used the old “white house” on Chiles Street as his rectory in Harrodsburg. In the twelve years that he was pastor here, he celebrated 174 baptisms and 20 weddings. Yet, it remains a mystery why there is no record in the sacramental register of Saint Andrew’s of any First Holy Communions, Confirmations, or funerals during those twelve years. Still, Fr. Gabe holds the distinction of having baptized Joseph Michael Krimm (1917-1995) on March 24, 1917 at Saint Andrew’s. Joseph Krimm was the first son of the parish to have been ordained a priest; he later became a missionary of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in Papua New Guinea.

In October 1919, after he stepped down as the longest serving pastor of Saint Andrew’s, Fr. William Gabe left the priesthood. The archives of the Archdiocese of Louisville have no record of what he did afterwards or when he died. It only says that he spent his last years in his hometown of Henderson, Kentucky.


~ by Fr. Noel F. Zamora on Saturday, February 1, 2014.

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