The leader of Bartholomew County’s largest house of worship feels both abundantly blessed and sufficiently challenged as he prepares to help his congregation celebrate the close of its year-long 175th anniversary Saturday.

The Rev. Clem Davis, pastor of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, sees a growing segment of young adults and families with babies in the parish where an average of 2,000 people attend four services weekly. But offsetting that positive local development is a national trend of declining weekend church attendance facing Catholic leaders.

“We’re called to be evangelists,” said Davis of bolstering Catholic commitment and fervor.

Davis, associate pastor the Rev. Andy Syberg, and former St. Bartholomew priests will concelebrate a Mass at 4 p.m. Saturday with Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin to mark the Columbus congregation’s historic anniversary. A packed house of worship of more than 1,000 people is expected.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.