Albion Interactive History / St. Johns Catholic Church

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Churches

St. Johns Catholic Church, 1845
 
    Rectory Added 1918

    Sold to Albion College 2001

St. John’s Catholic ChurchBy Father J.V. Coyle

The history of St. John’s Church in Albion begins with the arrival of Thomas Slowey and family in 1845, followed shortly by the Doran, Roberts, Lynch, and Cashen families. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was first observed in the Lynch home, now the residence of William McAuliffe on South Ionia Street. At that time, Ann Arbor was the western terminus of the Michigan Central Rail Road and, from that place, Rev. Father James Cullen made his way along the old Indian Trail and Territorial Road to Jackson, Albion, Marshall, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo. The first railroad train passed through Albion on July 4, 1845. As the number of Catholics gradually increased, the work became too arduous for Father Cullen’s failing strength and his territory was divided. Father Hennessy was given charge over the western part, with headquarters at Marshall. He was succeeded, in 1855, by Rev. Father Peter Koopmans.

As the number of members grew, the house became too small to accommodate the worshippers and, in 1866, the property now occupied by the Church and Rectory, on the corner of Huron and Cass Streets, was purchased from W.H. Brockway, a Methodist clergyman and real estate dealer. But, as the Rt. Rev. Casper Borgess, Bishop of the Diocese of Detroit, would not allow a debt to be contracted, the work of building was delayed until 1873, when it was undertaken under the director of Rev. Father D. Callaert, ably assisted by John Fanning. The farmers hauled the materials and the honor of delivering the first load of brick went to John McAuliffe. The cornerstone was donated by Mrs. John Lynch. The young men donated the altar. The windows were donated by those whose names they bear. The organ was presented by Mrs. John Bergeron, Mary Dolan, and Kittie Welsh. Mary Fanning was the first organist.

In 1882, Rev. Father Peter Baart, S.T.L., was appointed pastor of Marshall and missions, where he labored faithfully for 26 years. During that time, he was assisted by Fathers O’Hare, Brancheau, Sadlier, and Fleming. In 1890, the Marshall territory was divided and Albion became a mission of Hillsdale, from which place it was attended in turn by the Rev. Fathers P.J. Slane, Dan McLaughlin, and C.M. Korst.

In 1898, St. John’s Church became a separate parish, with Rev. Father Henry Sullivan as the first pastor. Father Sullivan built the first rectory. He was succeeded in 1903 by Rev. Joseph Marx who guided the destines of the parish for twelve years. In 1918, Fr. John Crowe became pastor and erected the beautiful brick rectory which now stands as a memorial of his two years’ pastorate. He was succeeded in 1918 by Rev. Joseph V. Coyle, the present incumbent. The church building has become too small to accommodate the rapidly increasing numbers and a new and more spacious house of worship is being planned.

Source: Miriam Krenerick, Milestones and Memories, 1932. 133-134


The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was first observed in the Lynch home on SouthIonia Street. Rev. Father James Cullen made his way along the old Indian Trailand Territorial Road to Jackson, Albion, Marshall, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo.As the number of Catholics gradually grew, Father Hennessy was given charge overthe western part, then succeeded in 1855, by Rev. Father Peter Koopmans.

As the number of members in Albion’s congregation grew, the house became toosmall, and in 1866 property was purchased from W.H. Brockway at Cass and HuronStreets. The work of building was delayed until 1873. Rev. Father D. Calbertwith the help of John Fanning, led construction.

In 1898, St. John’s parish became a separate parish, with Rev. Father HenrySullivan as the first pastor. He built the first rectory. He was succeeded in1903 by Rev. Joseph Marx who guided the destinies of the parish for twelveyears. In 1918, Fr. John Crowe became pastor and erected the rectory thatremains today. He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph V.Coyle, who undertook buildinga new and more spacious home of worship. K132

Image Source: James B. Field, Souvenir of the City of Albion, 1894.

The first Catholics came to Albion in 1845, and a local mission was established here in 1852. Construction of a church sanctuary began in 1873, and the building was completed in 1875. Picture is of the original church, as it looked in 1894. A new church was erected in 1933 following demolition of the old one. This Norman Gothic structure was completed in 1934, and dedicated in 1938.


The first communion of Maria Asaro and Mary Gianformaggio.


New confirmands after their first communion at St. John’s Church about 1965. Various ethnic groups are represented.

 

Source: Frank Passic. A Pictorial History of Albion, Michigan; From the Archives of the Albion Historical Society. Dallas, Texas: Curtis Media Corporation. 1991.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>
*
*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.