After 10 years as Associate Pastor at what we Paulists affectionately call our “Mother Church,” St. Paul the Apostle Parish in New York, I have been appointed Pastor of Immaculate Conception parish, Knoxville, Tennessee.
The city of Knoxville was established in 1794. By the mid-19th-century, railroad construction had brought numerous Catholic immigrants to East Tennessee and, in particular, to Knoxville which had become a hub for the construction. Accordingly in 1855, the first Roman Catholic parish in Knoxville was established, under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception. (That ancient doctrine had been dogmatically defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854). The small original church, which had survived undamaged through the Civil War, was eventually replaced by the present Victorian Gothic structure, dedicated September 19, 1886. In 1973, the Paulist Fathers (who had had an earlier history of mission activities in Tennessee) were invited to Knoxville to serve both the University of Tennessee Catholic community and at Immaculate Conception Church. In 1988, the Diocese of Knoxville was created out of what had been the eastern Tennessee counties of the diocese of Nashville. Immaculate Conception is now a thriving, multi-cultural Catholic parish in the Diocese of Knoxville.
I will have a lot more to say about my new parish after I am actually there!
I plan to visit for several days at the end of June and expect to move there in late July.