Historical scene of the Catholic Church of Tours, mass, ice cream on August 15

WV’s oldest standing Catholic church will be the setting for the annual Feast of the Assumption Mass on August 15 at 6 p.m. with an ice cream social on the grounds after mass. The church will be open at 4 p.m. for tours of the building which was built as early as 1839 and the public is invited.

Father James Conyers, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in White Sulfur Springs and St. Catherine of Siena in Ronceverte, will officiate with other priests from nearby Virginia and as far afield as the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, should to help.

The music for the mass will be provided by the “Hymns and Hers” choir from the Sainte-Catherine de Sienne church in Ronceverte.

Built as early as 1839, the church served as the family church of the late Governor John Floyd of Virginia, whose daughters attended Catholic schools in Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA, and converted to the Catholic religion, with their mother.

The Floyd family extended their involvement in the Catholic religion to Wytheville, Virginia, among other parts of the South.

Priests serving Sweet Springs in the 1800s also rode horses to areas as far afield as Summersville, Lewisburg, and southwestern Virginia, establishing outpost churches in each area.

The church was built of brick by slaves from the Lynnside Plantation owned by the Lewis and Floyd family and slaves also attended masses in the church.

For more information on August 15 tours, mass and ice cream social, call the Greenbrier Valley Catholic Churches office 304-536-1813 or Greenbrier Valley Council 8689 Knights of Columbus 304- 645-1373.

The public is invited to church events. The church is located on VA/WV 311 at its intersection with WV 3 in Sweet Springs. From the east, take the Callahan Virginia exit from I-64 and travel south on VA 159/311 less than a mile into WV to the church; From the west, take I-64 to Crows, VA, exit and VA/WV 311 to Sweet Springs. From the south take US 219 North to downtown Union and WV 3 east for 30 miles to Sweet Springs.

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