St. Augustine marks 175 years

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Members of St. Augustine Catholic Church gather on their parish’s front steps Sunday morning after a Mass marking the 175th anniversary of the church’s founding. Archabbot Lambert Reilly OSB was the chief celebrant and shared some of the history of the parish’s first pastors. Perry County was much more forested than today and priests new to the area often relied on locals to help them find their destinations. The earliest priests often arrived in the episcopal see of Vincennes. One early pastor traveled on his own for most of the day and thought that he’d reached his destination that evening only to find that he was just a mile or two from where he began in the morning. The community of Leopold, established by the Rev. August Bessonies, will celebrate the 175th anniversary of its founding in two years. August Bessonies laid out the community of Leopold and for generations the parish and town have been nearly inseparable, Reilly said, providing a welcoming physical and spiritual home. In his homily Sunday, Reilly admitted neither St. Augustine the parish nor Leopold the town have been perfect but they offer “gateways to heaven.”