St. Ignatius Catholic Church

HISTORY  

St. Ignatius Parish was established in the early 1870’s. The history of St. Ignatius Parish is the history of strong people. They overcame many adversities through the years. Families living near the Big Ditch and Corduroy Roads area established the parish. Initially, Mass was celebrated in homes by Fr. John MacMahon. Enos Momenee donated 2 ½ acres for the Church and the cemetery. The people provided lumber and labor. The first Mass was celebrated in the new church in 1883 by Fr. MacMahon. The first baby born to the fledgling community of St. Ignatius Parish was Edward Momenee, the son of Enos.

Fr. James Rouchy, the first resident pastor, lived with parishioners until the rectory was built in 1893. By 1900, the church and rectory were both enlarged. In 1904 a school hall was added to the church, and almost immediately a tornado hit. Repairs were completed by parishioners.

On November 26, 1915 disaster struck in the form of a fire which destroyed the church. Exactly one year later Mass was celebrated in the new church. But then, on the Saturday before Easter in 1926 the church was again destroyed by a fire, and again the parishioners rebuilt.

St. Ignatius Parish is more than its church building. It is foremost its people. They are a strong people whose faith and the passing on of this faith to their children has always been a priority. A parish school was opened in 1921, but the financial burden of operating the school was too much and the school was forced to close in 1939. Although the school closed, the religious formation of the children continued, first under the direction of the Sisters of Notre Dame, and later under the guidance of Religious Education Director, Mrs. Mary Simon. Mrs. Simon was one of the first full time Directors of Religious Education in the Diocese of Toledo. In the 1970’s a full time Youth Minister was added to the staff.

To accommodate parish growth and the very active life at St. Ignatius, a Parish Life Center was erected and dedicated in May 1983 under the leadership of pastor Fr. Dan Ring. Fr. Ring also established the Parish Council, following the directives of Vatican Council II.

St. Ignatius Parish continued to grow and develop under the leadership of her next pastor, Fr. Al Ceranowski who served as pastor from 1989 to 2006. During Fr. Ceranowski’s time the cemetery was expanded and a cemetery maintenance building was erected. Improvements were also made to the Rectory. Ministries continued to flourish and some new ones were added, and parish membership continued its slow growth reaching 1000 families. After 17 years of pastoring St. Ignatius Parish Fr. Ceranowski retired in June 2006 with the new pastor, Fr. Mark Herzog beginning his duties on July 1, 2006.

Parish growth and vitality led to the decision to begin a parish planning process in the spring of 2008. This comprehensive study would review all aspects of parish life, people, programs, mission, resources and facilities. The process was directed by Mr. Michael Smith, a professional consultant, and a Steering Committee composed of parish members. The planning process stretched over four years and bore much fruit, including a revised and updated Parish Mission Statement, the development of a Parish Ministry Plan, and the engagement of an architect to develop a plan for the erection of a new church and improvements to the Parish Life Center. The plan was well received by a majority of parish members and a capital campaign was begun in February of 2011. With a total price of $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 it was necessary to split the project into two phases, with Phase I being the new church at $3,200,000 and Phase II estimated at another $500,000. By the late summer of 2012 the parish had raised enough funds to get the approval of the Bishop to begin Phase I. Work began April 1, 2013 and the new church was completed in time for the Dedication to be celebrated on March 4, 2014. Though the parish carries a manageable debt that continues to be paid down, the new church serves the community well with plenty of room, seating for 500, air-conditioning, and no steps or barriers for the elderly or handicapped. The work of the Steering Committee and Phase II fundraising continue. When Phase II is completed a new office wing will be a part of the Church/Life Center Complex, a new kitchen will be installed in the Life Center, and the Life Center will receive new floor coverings, air-conditioning and other cosmetic upgrades.

Parish Life and ministry continues to thrive with parish activities that include the works of the Altar Rosary Society, St. Vincent de Paul Society, parish dinners, St. Louis Helping Hand Volunteers, Choir and Youth Choir, Christian Formation, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Youth Ministry, and Liturgical Ministries among dozens of services and ministries that make up our parish life. From a parish which could worship in family homes in 1880, St. Ignatius Parish has grown to a community of 1,100 families and 3,000 members.



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