St. Patrick's Catholic Church

Grand River, Iowa
The first Catholic Church, in Grand River, was started in October, 1895. The first Grand River school house, built in 1879, was purchased by the Catholics and moved three blocks east. It was remodeled and used as the church, until 1929. This church was called St. Mary's Catholic Church. This building was later sold to the John Taylor family, who made it into a home.

The new and present church, Saint Patrick's, was erected in 1929, by Father John O'Conner, who was serving St. Mary's parish, in the east end of Grand River. He was also the pastor of St. Brendan's Church in Leon.

The church was built on land donated by James and Hannah Daughton. The contractor was Frank Schmidt of Leon, Ia.

The dedication of St. Patrick's Church was held in November of 1929, by Bishop Drumm. The altar for the new church was donated by the late Samuel and Brigget Wallace, of Creston, Iowa, who were former members of the old St. Mary's Church, in Grand River.

Some of the names, on the church roll fifty years ago, were; CASHEN, CONWELL, O'BRYAN, O'GRADY, GILREATH, MCGRAW, WARD, DAUGHTON, OWENS, CARR, WALTERS, BUELL, MCGREEVEY, GROGAN, CAIN, BEARSLEY and BURLEY. Most of these people are now deceased.

In the spring and summer of 1979, a parish hall was added. It was planned and designed
by Fred Matlage and the whole congregation helped with the construction.

St. Patrick's had a fifty year celebration, on Sunday, November 11, 1979, with a
concelebrated mass and a dedication of the parish hall, by Rev. Maurice J. Dingman, Bishop of Des Moines.

The Altar Society was organized in 1930 and has continued until today. Bake sales and serving household sales have been a way of raising money in past years. Bandage rolling and prayer groups were get-to-gethers for the ladies, fun in groups of two or three. Today, the Altar Society is still an active organization in St. Patrick's Parish, raising money for parish projects. An annual "pig roast" is held each year, in June.

A study club was organized in 1948 and continued for a period of ten years. It met again for a period in 1976-77.

From 1929 to 1971, the pastor of St. Patrick's Parish was also the pastor of St. Brendan's Parish in Leon. In 1971, Bishop Maurice Digman established a team ministry of three priests to serve the combined parishes of the Leon Region. Besides St. Patrick's of Grand River, these parishes include St. Brendan's Church, Leon, Iowa; St. Joseph's Church, Mt. Ayr, Iowa; St. Bernard's Church, Osceola, Iowa; Immaculate Conception Church, Maloy, Iowa; Corydon Catholic Community, Corydon, Iowa; St. Mary's Church, Woodburn, Iowa; and in 1978, Sacred Heart Church, Chariton, Iowa, joined the Leon Region of Catholic Community.

St. Patrick's Parish inspired the vocations of two girls to serve our church; Sister Carolyn Walters and Sister Mary Ethel Burley.

Pastors who have served our church:
Father John O'Conner Father E. J. Schumann Father E. J. Harken
Father John Cunningham Father James McIlhon Father Paul Connelly
Father John Lorenz Father Larry Hoffman Father Joe McDonnell
Father Jerry O'Conner Father Dennis Trausch Father James Keirnan
Father Don Daleke Father Frank Chiodo
We have always offered a program of religious education for the young people of our parish. Parents help teach during the school year and in the summer a Religious Sister comes for one week to lead Vacation Bible School.
Transcribed from "Reflections of Grand River, Iowa 1881-1981," Clark Publishing Co., 1981, out of print.
2009 Photographs by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2013
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