A History of St. Peter of Alcantara Parish, Stanley, KY

 Two gentlemen by the names of John Gaw and N.M. Lancaster first proposed the idea of building a church in the area of Oakford in western Daviess County. After two meetings, sufficient funds were raised to build the church and the location at Bernard Hill was decided upon. The first priest involved was Father Eugene Callahan of Owensboro, who attended the planning meetings. The building committee consisted of Thomas J. Monarch, John Gaw, N.M. Lancaster, J.C. Grant and T.C. Hill. At a cost of $4,000.00, the church was constructed in 1873 and was dedicated by Bishop McClosky (Louisville). 
​A second church was built in 1922 and is still in use by the parish. The basement was divided into classrooms, which were used until a school and convent for the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph were built in 1952. Declining enrollment led to the closure of the school in 1984. The church underwent a renovation in 1972. A beautiful wooden raredos (an ornamental wall or screen that rises behind the high altar of a church, forming a background for it) was installed and the side altars were removed. The old St. Peter Cemetery on Overstreet Road (known as Lancaster
Cemetery) has long since been out of use and a larger, well kept cemetery is located about a mile from the church.

Approximately 1975
Present Day

​Rev. Joseph Odendahl             

Rev. Richard Maloney 

Rev. John M. Higgins 

Rev. James L. Whelan 

Rev. Edward J. Menke 

Rev. Charles P. Bowling 

Rev. Martin Nahstoll 

Rev. James Higdon 

Rev. George Hancock 

Rev. Martin Nahstoll

Rev. Carl Asplund

Rev. Richard M. Powers

Rev. William J. Hagman

Rev. Paul Pike Powell
1982- 1999

Rev. Stan Puryear

Rev. J. Raymond Goetz

Rev. Suresh Bakka

Rev. Jegin Puthenpurackal
2012 to 2019


Saint Peter of Alcantara was born in Alcantara, Spain in 1499. His father was the Governor of the province and his mother came from a noble family. He was privately tutored and attended the University of Salamanca. After he returned home from university, he joined the Franciscans.

Peter was accepted as a Franciscan Friar of the Stricter Observance in the Friary at Manxaretes Extramadura in 1515.

At the young age of 22, he was sent to found a community of the Stricter Observance at Badajoz.

He was ordained as a priest in 1524 and in 1525 he became Guardian of the friary of St. Mary of the Angels at Robredillo, Old Castile.

He later entered the Order of the reform of the Discarded Friars. By 1538, he was elected the Superior of St. Gabriel province. As the superior, he drew up new constitutions for the order of Stricter Observance, however these were met with resistance. Eventually he resigned from this post.

Peter then began a new life, one of less formal responsibility but one of greater spiritual responsibility. He took up his spiritual cross and preached with great success to the poor. Peter preferred preaching to this group more than any other and he frequently drew inspiration from the Old Testament books. His sermons often concentrated on the topic of on compassion.

When Peter was not preaching, he would spend long periods of time in solitude. From 1553 to early 1555, he spent this time alone in meditation and prayer. Following these two years of solitude, Peter made a pilgrimage to Rome, barefoot the entire way. While in Rome he obtained permission from Pope Julius III to establish friaries, departing on his new mission just before the Holy Father's death.

Along his way home, Peter established several friaries. These friaries were compelled to follow a strict constitution, mush like the ones he endeavored to impose in St. Gabriel province.

This time, his new constitution contained reforms that proved fruitful and were later adopted across Spain.

Peter was known for frequently experiencing ecstasy, a state where he was entirely consumed with the warmth and light of the Holy Spirit. These euphoric moments were common during his prayer and meditation. Some claim to have witness him levitate.

When he was close to death, Peter took to his knees and prayed. When he was offered water he refused it saying, "Even my Lord Jesus Christ thirsted on the Cross." Peter died in prayer on October 18, 1562.

Following his death, Peter was beautified by Pope Gregory XV on April 18, 1622. He was subsequently canonized by Pope Clement IX on April 28, 1669.

St. Peter of Alcantara is the patron saint of the Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Peter of Alcantara was beatified in Rome by Pope Gregory XV on April 18, 1622, and canonized by Pope Clement IX on April 28, 1669. In 1670, Peter of Alcantara's feast day was set as October 19, the day after his death, because in the General Roman Calendar October 18 was the feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist SAINT. 

Rev John  Ighacho
​Rev. Will Thompson