76 W Sycamore St., Williamsburg, KY 40769
Our Lady of Perpetual Help was founded in 1963 in the small town of Williamsburg, Kentucky, located a few miles north of the Tennessee border. OLPH is the only Catholic parish in the county of Whitley, KY, and has just 24 registered families, most of whom are spread across the county. Mass is celebrated twice a week, once each Sunday and Tuesday.
Many SJC parishioners have met Sr. Margie Verhoff, Director of Parish Life, while on work tours to OLPH. Also serving OLPH parishioners are Sr. Joyce Moeller (Parish Minister), Fr. Anthony Muthu, and Deacon John Coe.
OLPH is set in one of the poorest counties in Kentucky. The area is challenged by a high rate of drug abuse and has been hit hard by recent job losses. Though there are few Catholics in Williamsburg, there are many other Christian churches in town. The parish reaches out to help the surrounding community – both parishioners and non-parishioners alike – in multiple ways. OLPH sets aside a small monthly fund to assist people in with emergency needs, helping those unable to make ends meet due to unexpected medical bills, higher gasoline prices or utility charges. A portion of SJC sharing parish funds helps extend this support.
In addition, OLPH staff participates in outreach programs in their area:
- Williamsburg Ministerial Alliance – a group of area churches and ministries seek to coordinate support and counseling to those who are in continued need.
- Parishioners contribute food to a new food pantry in nearby Jellico, TN, created and supported by a coalition of about 20 area churches. The weekend before Thanksgiving, the group prepared and delivered 400 boxed turkey dinners to those in need.
- Operation UNITE—Sr. Margie & Sr. Joyce have been helping plan anti-drug programming for local schools
Our Sharing Parish Relationship
Our relationship between SJC and OLPH began in 2002, through a connection with a former SJC parishioner, Deacon Frank Agnoli, who moved to Kentucky. By 2005, the first group of Crossroads teens participated in the first work tour to OLPH, a week of building, repairing, fellowship and connecting with local residents and staff of OLPH.
This tradition has continued each summer since then, and Sr. Margie has welcomed every Crossroads group arriving for summer work tour.