Amid great trials, Bishop Maes built a cathedral to ‘speak for centuries to come’

Bishop Maes funeral Mass is an historic event

Messenger staff report.

An historic event will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 26. On that day the funeral Mass and entombment of the diocese’s third bishop, Bishop Camillus Paul Maes, will be held.

Bishop Roger Foys will be the celebrant. A walking historical tour of the Cathedral will be given following the Mass. Invitations went out last week to all the people of the diocese.

It was through the vision and vigor of Bishop Maes that the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption was built. Records show that Bishop Maes built Covington’s Mother Church as gift to the city of Covington as a token of his affection and as a monument to speak for centuries to come of the love of Christ, for “indeed, the message of the Cathedral is the message of Christ himself.”

Bringing Bishop Maes home to the church he loved and built is a “monument of gratitude” for his contributions to the Church in Northern Kentucky.

The former baptistery — now a prayer space located under the choir loft — has been transformed into a mausoleum. Bishop Maes, who last month was exhumed from St. Mary Cemetery, Ft. Mitchell, will be entombed in the mausoleum. The new tomb of Bishop Maes features a sarcophagus of white and green marble, similar to the cathedral’s marble work. The lid features a hand carved white marble effigy depicting Bishop Maes lying in repose.

Bishop Maes was the longest serving bishop of the Diocese of Covington (1885–­1915).

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The interior of St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1888, just three years after Maes became Bishop of Covington. Archives of the Diocese of Covington.

Part I: From the beginning, Camillus P. Maes seemed destined to become Covington’s shepherd

The little girl’s gift that built a cathedral

On a warm summer afternoon in the late 1880’s, a little girl walked up to the front door of the residence of the Bishop of Covington and rang the bell …