St. Leonard Parish was established in 1953 on approximately eight acres of property that had been donated to the Archdiocese for a church to be named for the donor, Mr. Leonard Blandford. The first Mass of the fifty-eight-member parish family was celebrated on October 18, 1953 in the nearby chapel of St. Joseph Orphan’s Home. Father Joseph Emrich was the first pastor.

In the early years of the parish, funding and building were the primary focus as Father Emrich built a church, rectory, convent, and school. Staffed by the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph, the parish school opened in 1957.  Small by design, it continues to serve the needs of families near and far.  Soon the parish had developed numerous organizations and ministries, such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Legion of Mary, many of which survive to this day.

After Vatican II, a lay advisory board, later known as the Parish Council, was established, and RCIA programs began in the early 1980s.  Many ministries have been developed as parishioners respond to their baptismal call, including the “Leos on the Go” for active seniors and the “Leonard Ladies” women’s ministry.

In 1972, the church was renovated, and in 1980 a bell tower was erected.  A second renovation took place in 1996-97.  In 2002, a $1.3 million Family Life center and expanded school complex were completed.  The following year, the parish celebrated its Golden Jubilee with many activities commemorating the founding and accomplishments of this dedicated community of over 1,300 parishioners.

The Second Vatican Council inspired greater involvement of the laity.  With the leadership of a talented staff and committed parishioners, programs of lifelong formation have taken root.  The parish family continues to embark on updating facilities and dedicating itself to faithful stewardship of its time, talent, and treasure.

St. Leonard Parish on Archdiocese of Louisville website

Timeline of St. Leonard Parish History

September 3, 1953 St. Leonard boundaries were published in The Record.  The parish was named in honor of Leonard Blandford, who had previously donated the eight acres of property to the Archdiocese of Louisville.  Saint Leonard of Port Maurice is the patron saint of the new parish.
September 22, 1953 Rev. Joseph C. Emrich appointed as founding pastor.
October 18, 1953 First Mass for the St. Leonard Parish community offered in the St. Joseph Orphanage chapel.
March 28, 1954 First parish bulletin printed (and mimeographed!).
1955 Parish purchased a house adjacent to the property to serve as the first parish rectory; this house later became a convent for the Ursuline Sisters.
1956 Construction began on the school/church complex.
December 24, 1956 The same Nativity figurines are still being used today.
September 1957 St. Leonard School opens and is staffed by Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph.
1957 Parish rectory and garage completed.
June 1959 First graduating class of St. Leonard School.
1960 Establishment of a St. Vincent de Paul chapter at St. Leonard Parish.
1960 Establishment of a parish committee to assist Vietnamese refugee families; refugee ministry would continue to be an important outreach of St. Leonard Parish for several decades.
1961 Parish convent home completed.
1961 Two classrooms added to the school building to accommodate increasing enrollment.
1967 Parish rectory expanded to house VA Hospital Catholic chaplain.
1969 Rev. William O’Hare appointed as pastor.
1972 First Parish Council elected.
Early 1970s First renovation of the church interior completed.
1974 Founding of United Crescent Hill Ministries, of which St. Leonard Parish is a member, in response to the destruction of the April 3, 1974 tornado.
1979 Last year that the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph taught in St. Leonard School.
October 1980 Bell tower donated by Lucy Beam in memory of her husband, Jeremiah Beam.
1981 Statue of Mary relocated.
December 1981 Silver Jubilee of St. Leonard parish marked by a beautiful midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and a production of The Sound of Music by students, parishioners, and friends of St. Leonard.
1982 First Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program organized at St. Leonard.
1988 Rev. James Hackett appointed pastor.
1990 Parishioner Marie Heckel began coordinating the publication of a monthly newsletter.
1993 Parish adopts a new Mission Statement: “St. Leonard is committed to being a Roman Catholic community of faith which supports our parish family, and the local archdiocesan church, in all its programs of worship, education and social outreach.”
1996 Parishioner Robert Dever ordained as a permanent deacon.
1996 Second renovation of the church interior completed.
2002 Rev. R. Dale Cieslik appointed as pastor.
2002 New Family Life Center and school addition buildings completed, adding a gymnasium, music rooms, science lab, library, preschool rooms, computer lab, and new office space to the facility.
2003 Parish Golden Jubilee celebrated.  At the time of the Jubilee, St. Leonard Parish consisted of 483 registered families.  In the previous 50 years, the parish community had marked 1,632 baptisms, 205 marriages, and 723 deaths.
2005 Outdoor classroom constructed by school staff and families in collaboration with Dr. Art Parola of the University of Louisville Stream Institute and Tom Biebighauser of the US Forest Service.
2006 St. Leonard and St. Frances of Rome parishes clustered together under the leadership of Rev. R. Dale Cieslik.
2008 Rev. B. J. Breen appointed as pastor.
2012 Ralph Bartley ordained as a permanent deacon and assigned to the clustered parishes of St. Leonard and St. Frances of Rome.
2017 Rev. Louis J. Meiman appointed as pastor.
2017 School library renovated and converted into a Library/Media/Makerspace equipped with robotics tables, green screen, and 3-D printers.
2018 St. Leonard received the Today’s Catholic Teacher “2018 Innovations in Catholic Education Award for Curriculum and Instruction.”
2018 Membership Activation Committees established in response to parish discernment process facilitated by the Archdiocese of Louisville. 
2018 Parish adopts a new Mission Statement: “The St. Leonard family welcomes all into our Catholic community to serve, pray, and worship, as we welcome Christ.”
2020 School space transitioned from St. Leonard School to Immaculata Classical Academy.
2020 St. Leonard and St. Frances of Rome expand digital communications and live-streaming capacity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.