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Presentation on theme: "Our Centennial History CELEBRATING A CENTURY OF: FAITH, FAMILY SACRAMENTS & SERVICE."— Presentation transcript:


2 Local farming communities … Lodi, Sycamore, Virgil and Blackberry The names back in the mid 1800’s in some cases were different. Blackberry Township’s largest community of Blackberry (or Blackberry Station as it is noted on this early plat map), destined to be called Elburn. Our other neighbor, Maple Park, was then called Lodi.

3 Traveling to Church before the early 1850’s Elburn area Catholics were totally dependent on missionary priests from Elgin and Chicago OR they were forced to walk 10 miles to St. Charles – the closest church!

4 1851 – the first Catholic church in Blackberry Township 1851 – Fr. William Feeley 1853 – Fr. Patrick O’Dwyer The first Catholic church in Blackberry Township was just off Keslinger Road on land donated by the Barney Milnamow family. The site was halfway between Elburn (then called Blackberry) and Maple Park (then called Lodi) and included members from both. The small wood frame church was called at various times Milnamow Chapel, Barney’s Hill, and, most often, simply the Hill Church. The official name was St. Mary. Construction began with Fr. William Feely, pastor of St. Mary, Elgin, in 1851. The church was completed in 1853 by Fr. Patrick O’Dwyer. Only a partial cemetery survives there today as the tiny church was moved to DeKalb.

5 1870 – Fr. O'Leary, Missionary 1872 – Fr. McGuire 1870 - The first St. Gal Church is built. The first Catholic Church in Elburn was located on the southeast side of town near the end of First and Swain Streets. It was called St. Gal (with just one “L”, taken from the ancient Gaelic spelling). The church was built of pale colored cut stone.

6 1875 – Church debt is cleared 1872 - Fr. James Maloney Lodi (Maple Park) 1875 - Fr. Paul Halbmeier A bell tower and a new steel roof are added to the young church, now a mission of St. Mary in Lodi (Maple Park). Fr. Maloney pays off the church debt of $1700 – a huge sum in those days – by establishing a Building Fund and working tirelessly to raise the needed funds through contributions.

7 Local young man ordained In mid 1894 – Fr. Daniel J. Conway was ordained in the Chicago Archdiocese and celebrated his First Mass in Elburn. He was the first of the sons of our parish to become a priest. The name of the parish had evidently changed by then to the current spelling – St. Gall with two “L”s.

8 1911 - St. Gall named an independent parish and resident pastor assigned 1911 - Fr. Daniel Drennan, 1st pastor / St. Gall In 1911, just three years after Rockford Diocese was created out of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the small St. Gall Church, by now a mission of Holy Cross in Batavia, was assigned its first resident pastor. St. Gall was now an independent parish for the first time! Fr. Daniel Drennan, the first pastor, had been the Assistant pastor at our parent parish of Batavia before this assignment.

9 The 1 st rectory … Prior to his arrival… the parish bought a home across First street from the stone church as a rectory for Fr Drennan. His mother and sister lived with him. This house is still standing in south Elburn – it is yellow and blue.

10 The parish relocates to Shannon Street This excerpt came from an unidentified newspaper clipping – August 1925: “During the past several years plans were formulated for a modern and up to date edifice. These plans have been perfected under the supervision of the present pastor, Fr. Robert C. [Troy] … The new church, of Romanesque design, because of its central location at the corner of Main and Shannon Streets will add not a little to the beauty of Elburn’s main thoroughfare … Buff colored pressed brick is to be used in the construction of the church and a Spanish belfry will top it as a fitting and pleasing ornament. This new church will be completed and furnished at a cost of $28,000.” In today’s dollars that would be at least $700,000 – which still seems like a bargain!

11 1924 – 1925 Present church constructed 1924 - Fr. Robert Troy 1921 - Fr. Daniel McCaffrey First Mass is celebrated in new church on Christmas Eve 1925. In this photograph we see the very recently finished current church. Notice the surrounding ground is still all bare dirt. It was also under Fr. Troy’s leadership that the parish purchased the 2nd rectory – the two story white house next to the old post office.

12 The original interior … The original interior looks quite a bit different than today. Notice the stained glass windows are already in place.

13 Early Depression 1929 – Fr. Edward O’Brien With the impact of the financial hardships of the Depression, the 31 remaining families (an all time low membership) could not afford to keep a resident pastor. Fr. James Friedrich was the chaplain of the Illinois School for Boys and St. Gall became a mission under his care. He served the needs of the parish faithfully and well for ten years, until his death in 1940. He never took a dime as pay and even paid some of the parish bills. 1929 – Fr. James Friedrich

14 Late 1920’s – the old stone church is dismantled Elburn Forest Preserve The stone and timber from the original St. Gal is later used in the construction of shelters at both Johnson’s Mound and Elburn Forest Preserve Parks. Parts of the story behind this happening are still a mystery under investigation – including the exact date. Tillie Henderson, a 93 yr. old lifelong resident, has a distinct memory of watching the old stone church being torn down through the windows of the old elementary school on south First Street. She was between 3rd and 5th grades, placing the date as between 1927 and 1929.

15 Johnson’s Mound The stone was at some later point donated to the Forest Preserve to be used in the shelter construction. According to legend the men of St. Gall parish also donated much of the labor.

16 After rapid growth in the late ’30s, Fr. Leonard Guzzardo is appointed resident pastor. Sisters of St. Francis from Virgil begin religious instruction classes. Fr. Guzzardo served the longest period of time as pastor … 20 years. 1940 – Fr. Leonard Guzzardo St Gall receives their longest serving pastor …

17 1952 - Rectory is built next to the church. By 1958 the parish has 110 families on the membership roster and that number continues to climb steadily.

18 St Gall Latin Mass 1960 - Fr. Edward Fanning He becomes new pastor, but only stays for 1 year.

19 1961 – Fr Joseph Driscoll He takes over as pastor. He remains until 1967 when ill health forces him to resign. 1967 – Fr. Harold Nilges He is appointed pastor for three years. Priests of our Parish …

20 1970 – Fr. Robert Devine appointed pastor. The new Parish hall, begun by Fr. Nilges, is completed. Construction and Changes … By 1970 the parish has nearly doubled in size from the previous decade – reaching 202 families enrolled. At the end of this decade there were even more, 275 families.

21 New Parish Hall 1970

22 The stone lintel and keystone on the 1870 St. Gal Church AND in its current place of honor on the side of the parish hall near the current entrance. Ties to the Old church reconnected …

23 1974 – Fr. Thomas Dempsey New Shepherd He then directs renovation of facilities.

24 Bishop O’Neill re-dedicates the church in 1975 You can also find Fr Thomas Dempsey to the Bishop right (center).

25 50 th Anniversary of the Church building

26 1978 – Fr. Walter Roberts 1986 – Fr. Albert Rennell He served only until 1987 Priests of our Parish …

27 1987 – Fr. Richard Paddock A Growing Parish … From 300 families in 1987, when Fr. Paddock joined the parish, the Elburn area undergoes a population and building boom. By 2003, when he retired, the membership had mushroomed to 700 families!

28 1990 – Church interior is renovated again Paneling removed and many other changes made. During the time the scaffolding was up parishioners were peeking through the doors trying to see what it looked like. The church ended looking much as it does today.

29 Great outreach and Fundraiser … Turkey Dinner


31 Fr. Richard Paddock’s Retirement 2003 Fr. Paddock retires in 2003 after 16 years as St. Gall pastor – the 2nd longest in our history.

32 2003 – Fr. Karl Ganss Our Current Pastor …

33 Fr. Karl’s 40 th Anniversary – 2008 He looks just the same, doesn’t he?

34 Photos taken during Fr. Karl’s 40 th Ordination celebration.

35 Sons of St Gall … Elburn Rev. John MOORE, OSM Rev. Robert SCHNEIDER Rev. Howard LEUER, OP Rev. Richard LEUER, OP Rev. Randy FRONEK Rev. Daniel J. CONWAY Rev. Francis J. KEENAN Rev. Thomas G. FLYNN Msgr. Leo M. KEENAN Rev. Kenneth THEISON FAITH What an awesome heritage

36 Daughters of St Gall … Elburn Sr. Mary Margaret FARRELL Sr. Mary Ellen PITZ Sr. Madelyn GOULD FAITH A continuing tradition …

37 FAMILY Family centered activities enrich our parish life.

38 Blessing the bicycles and more … FAMILY

39 SACRAMENTS Celebrating the sacraments together is a golden thread connecting all of our history.

40 SACRAMENTS What a beautiful Easter

41 SERVICE Serving the parish and the wider community is something for which St. Gall has a well-deserved reputation for caring and going the extra mile.

42 SERVICE Not least of which is our 128 year history of St. Patrick’s Day Turkey Dinners.

43 Our Solid Ground To today … To tomorrow … From yesterday …

44 Our Solid Ground Our FAITH, FAMILIES, SACRAMENTS, and SERVICE all combine to create our SOLID GROUND.


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