This page is dedicated to

the memory of



Ferdinand Brossart




By heraldic tradition, the personal arms of a diocesan bishop are shown joined to the arms of his See. Thus the Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Covington, are seen on the left.

The two hands clasped together symbolize the motto of Kentucky "united we stand, divided we fall."

The Cross, in the heart of which is a rose, the symbol of Our Lady, to whom the Covington Cathedral is patronally dedicated, and also of Bavaria, the native land of the Bishop.



On the right, are French Fleurs de lis, a souvenir of the Bishop's ancestors.

The chevron with a triangle beneath, represent the shield of the Brossart family of Normandy.

The heart is a mark of devotion to the Divine Lover of Humanity and a mark of esteem to the Bishop before him, whose main image it was on his coat of arms.


At the bottom, Bishop Brossart's chosen motto, "Sectare Caritatem".




The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky




Interior of Cathedral

In 1919, Bishop Brossart oversaw the installation of a new high altar in the cathedral. The Carrara marble altar measured 23 feet in height and 20 feet in width and was said to have weighed 30,000 pounds. The altar has a hand carved marble crucifix and two wooden angels created by artists in Austria.


Also during the Brossart era, the magnificent mosaic Stations of the Cross were erected in the cathedral. These stations were created in Venice, Italy and were based on the designs of Redemptorist Brother Max Schmalzl. Bishop Brossart hoped that the stations would arrive in 1918, however the war in Europe delayed their arrival until 1919. Each station contained more than
70,000 individual tiles.




St. Anne Convent Cemetery

Melbourne, KY
the tomb- his final resting place,
designed by the Bishop


Diocese of Covington, KY 

Bishop Brossart High School

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source, The Kentucky Post article April 13, 1998:

"Bishop Brossart touched many lives early in 20th century

Pieces of the Past column by Jim Reis:

The name Bishop Ferdinand Brossart is probably familiar to most as the namesake of the Catholic high school in Alexandria. But in addition to a school being named for him, Bishop Brossart left his imprint on Northern Kentucky in many ways and led a remarkable life.

Born in Bavaria but reared in the Gubser's Mill area of southern Campbell County, Brossart rose from a farming family to bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington. As such, he is the only local person ever to hold that position. Brossart was born in the town of Buchelberg on Oct. 19, 1849. He was the son of Ferdinand Brossart and Catherine Diesel Brossart, who were farmers. In 1849 Germany was still not a unified country. A war led the family to move to the United States in 1851, when Ferdinand was just 2. The family entered the United States at New Orleans and apparently thought about settling there, but an outbreak of yellow fever that year led the family to move north to Cincinnati, where they settled in Storrs Township. Formed in 1835, Storrs Township was located on the east side of Delhi Township. There, the young Ferdinand Brossart attended St. Michael School, which still exists. The family lived in Cincinnati for about 10 years and then moved to the Gubser's Mill area of Campbell County in 1861, where Brossart apparently continued his education at the small German Catholic church now called Sts. Peter and Paul.

While in Campbell County, Brossart apparently began showing an interest in becoming a priest. He attended St. Francis Gymnasium at Liberty and Bremen streets in Cincinnati and then Mt. St. Mary Seminary in Price Hill. Brossart then attended St. Nicholas College in Louvain, Belgium, and the American College of Louvain. He was ordained a priest in Covington on Sept. 1, 1872, at St. Mary Cathedral.

He was assigned as an assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Newport, where he served about six months before being named pastor of St. Edward Parish in Cynthiana. It was during his time at Cynthiana that Father Brossart became known to state officials. That came about during a cholera epidemic at Millersburg in neighboring Nicholas County. At the time the Millersburg area was being cared for by a priest out of Paris, Ky., but he was away, so Father Brossart responded to a call for help. Father Brossart won many friends due to his service to the ill - both Catholics and non-Catholics. Among the friends he would make was James W. Bryan, who later became lieutenant governor. Father Brossart left the Cynthiana parish in 1875 and subsequently served at a number of churches, including another stint as assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception in Newport. In 1878 he became pastor of St. Paul Church in Lexington, which at the time was the only Catholic church in that city. While there he again became known for his work with the sick, this time during a smallpox epidemic in the early 1880s. That service led in 1888 to Father Brossart being named pastor of St. Mary Cathedral in Covington.

He also was appointed vicar general of the diocese, which at that time included all of what is now the dioceses of Covington and Lexington. As vicar general, he basically served as the deputy to the bishop on administrative matters. The bishop at the time was Camillus P. Maes. When the Catholic bishop in New Orleans died in 1897 rumors spread that Bishop Maes might be reassigned to New Orleans. The Kentucky Post reported on Oct. 2, 1897, that if Bishop Maes was moved, the likely successor as bishop in Covington was Father Brossart. However, Bishop Maes remained in Covington. As vicar general, Father Brossart often stepped in for the bishop at events, when the bishop was out of town or tied up on other duties. One such occasion was the laying of the cornerstone for St. Thomas Church in Ft. Thomas in July 1902.

As vicar general, Father Brossart became an active writer on religious matters and became enough of an authority that in 1910 the University of Kentucky awarded Father Brossart the honorary degree of doctor of law.

Bishop Maes died on May 11, 1915. The next day Archbishop Henry Moeller of Cincinnati appointed Father Brossart diocese administrator until a permanent bishop could be named. Pope Benedict XV appointed Father Brossart to be bishop of Covington in November 1915, but due to a mail mix-up, the document did not arrive until Feb. 18, 1916. The installation ceremony took place on Jan. 25, 1916.

Bishop Brossart's role as a community leader was quickly put to the test as World War I raged in Europe. With the bishop's native land of Bavaria part of Germany, many locals saw Germany as the enemy of freedom. To reduce those concerns, Bishop Brossart became active in war efforts, including Red Cross fund-raisers, conservation efforts and war bond drives. Gov. A. O. Stanley invited the bishop to a statewide war conference in 1917 and that same year the bishop was appointed by the governor to the Council of National Defense.

After World War I, Bishop Brossart was among those to speak out against the rise of communism in Russia and elsewhere. He termed loyalty to God and faith just as important as loyalty to state and country. In 1921 he ruffled some locals when he declared that new parishes being formed in the Diocese of Covington should be strictly English-speaking. He also encouraged those parishes still using other languages, particularly German, to gradually phase out other languages and to encourage people to attend their neighborhood church, regardless of its ethnic heritage. Bishop Brossart also advocated special fund drives for the poor in Ireland.

Citing health problems, Bishop Brossart resigned in 1923. Replacing him as bishop was Francis W. Howard. Bishop Brossart was given the ceremonial title of Titular Bishop of Vallis and he retired to St. Anne Convent in Melbourne. He died there on Aug. 6, 1930. He lay in state at the Cathedral,

which was completed during his term as bishop. Services were held there on Aug. 9. A Kentucky Times-Star editorial on Aug. 8, 1930, said Bishop Brossart would be mourned by many throughout Northern Kentucky, Catholic and Protestant, because of his many years of service to the community. Burial was in the St. Anne Convent Cemetery in a tomb designed by the bishop."


Article from the Kentucky Post page 1, dated August 30, 1920

"Bishop Brossart to Observe 48 Years as Priest"

"On ...Sept. 1 the Rt. Rev. Ferdinant Brossart, bishop of the Catholic diocese of Covington, will reach the 48th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

He was ordained by Bishop Toebber Sept. 1, 1872 in the old St. Mary's Cathedral, the age of two came to America. He lived with his parents at Camp Srpings, KY and has ever since been identified with the Covington diocese. The bishop's early wish was to become a priest, and, accordingly, his education was centered to that and he spent four years in the Louvain University, where his theological education was acquired. After his ordination he served in churches in Newport, Cynthiana, White Sulphur Springs, Paris, Lexington, and finally, Covington. He came to Covington and to the assistance of Bishop Maes 11 years ago. Rev. Brossart was appointed rector of the cathedral and was instrumental in establishing the beaufiful new cathedral.

In 1897 he celebrated his silver ordination jubilee at the shrine of the Blessed Mother at Lourdes, France. After the death of the late Bishop Camillus P. Maes in May 1916, Rev. Brossart was named as successor to the Covington bishopric by Pope Benedict. The consecration took place in the Covington cathedral on the Feast of the Epiphany June 26, 1916. The pecular honor thus bestowed upon Rev. Brossart lies in the fact that he was elevated from a priest to administrator, to vicar general and to the bishopric in his own diocese. Bishop Brossart has at all times been a popular priest in Covington. At one time he was a member of the Covington Park Board and always was active in civic welfare movements. During the world war Bishop Brossart played an important role in various Americanization movements and helped to put many of Covington's war fund drives "over the top"."