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Church of the Ascension
4600 Lynnbrook Dr
Louisville, KY 40220
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Venue Description

St. Barnabas Parish, established in the 1950s, became overcrowded as the post-World War II economic boom transformed the area from a sleepy rural crossroads to a thriving commercial district. The parish established an annex, affectionately referred to as “Saint Annex” or “St. Barnabas Annex.” From this beginning, Ascension Parish emerged.

With a $25,000 donation from St. Barnabas, a school opened in 1964, staffed by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. The community attained parish status in 1965 and constructed a church in the new Upper Highlands subdivision, a simple, modern structure with a permanent altar facing the congregation and a large crucifix. The formal dedication took place in January 1966, and although local churches had ordinarily been named for saints, Archbishop John A. Floersh named the new parish Ascension of Our Lord.

The first pastor, Father Bernard Hartlage, and his assistant, Father Joseph Hayden, initially lived at St. Barnabas, since there was no rectory at Ascension. Father Hartlage borrowed $40,000 to construct a rectory, to provide pews instead of chairs in the church and to purchase major cafeteria kitchen equipment. During the fall of 1965, he slept in an Ascension School classroom, guarding the Blessed Sacrament. He was overseeing construction of the rectory, which was completed by November.

Ascension now has an identity as a vibrant community of over 2,700 generous, active parishioners joining together in worship and religious education. Multiple generations and extended families continue to work together to build a strong community and attract new members. Parishioners have developed a welcoming atmosphere centered around faith and worship, school, sports and communal activities. They work hard to keep young people involved in church and outreach activities as they exit elementary school, high school and college. Numerous school and church groups participate in outreach ministries that have a local, national and global reach.

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