Monday, May 30, 2016

The Story of St. Francis Borgia Parish

Our city of Washington resulted in the joining of two towns, Owensville and Bassora. The latter was also called "Goosetown" because of the raising of many geese by the people of this area. The founding of these settlements dates back to the 1820's.

The first Germans to set foot in Washington came in the year 1833. It was on July 25,1833 that the twelve Catholic families departed from their native homes in Osterkappeln and Belm, near Osnabrueck, on St. James Day. They traveled first to Bremen and then to Bremerhaven. There, the families of John T. Hustermann, G Gerhard Trentman, Henry Koehring, Adolph Schmertmann, Gerhard H. Uhlenbrock, Rudolph Uhlenbrock, John H. Buhr, Herman Schwegmann, John Fred Bleckmann, Frederick Riegel, William Weber, and John Edelbrock set aboard a sailing ship intending to form a German settlement in Illinois.

After a weary journey these people finally landed at New Orleans. Here, the German settlers did not stay long. The climate was very hot and the many mosquitoes were very annoying. So they continued their journey on to Missouri.

In the fall of that year they arrived in St. Louis. Their original plan was to settle somewhere along the Illinois river. They were ready to board the boat, but Providence had determined otherwise. As they prepared to depart, the cry rang out, "The ship is sinking!" They held back and sought to find out when the next boat would travel up the Illinois river.

At anchor lay another very pretty boat that soon would leave, but for Missouri, not Illinois. After a long conference they finally resolved to travel up the Missouri river. On the slow journey the men had opportunity to consider where it would be best to settle with their families.

One of the passengers had read Gottfried Duden's report of travel in Missouri. The newcomers were interested and eager to listen. There was much talk also of a newly laid settlement called Marthasville, where the group eventually decided to settle.

When they arrived at the landing depot the captain said, "Here is the landing, but Marthasville is quite a distance north of the river bank. Night is coming on. I would rather take you to the opposite shore. There you can find a house where you can stay overnight. You can make the trip to Marthasville tomorrow."

The captain succeeded in persuading the newcomers to land on the southern shore of the river, October 12, 1833. There they remained.

These German families spent their first night in Washington in Bernard Fricke's log tavern which stood at the corner of Jefferson and Main streets. They spent their first winter in a smoke house belonging to William G. Owens.

Soon the men began building small log houses. The women made clothing from wool, and the children never grew tired of watching the North American wild animals and birds.

After some time, each family had his own farm. In the spring of 1834 new German families joined their relatives in Missouri. Everything went well and the settlers wanted almost nothing more - only they had no church, no school and no priest.

About this time, here and there, Jesuit missionaries came into the region. A Jesuit priest traveled from St. Charles, Missouri to the new settlement to celebrate Mass at Eastertime in 1834. This is considered by many as the real beginning of the parish.

The German Catholics were able to build their first small log church in the spring of 1838. The site was about one mile south of Washington near the present cemetery. Rev. Henry Meinkmann, a secular priest, became the first pastor. He was succeeded one year later by Rev. James Busschots, S.J. in 1839.

In 1840 Lucinda Owens, the founder of Washington, offered four lots to the Catholics in Washington. Some wanted to leave the old site and build a church in the city, but others wanted to remain on the original church site. John F. Mense, who had married Sarah, the daughter of Lucinda Owens, offered a site for the building on Main street. On orders from the Archbishop, the church was built in Washington. Workmen came from St. Louis to start the construction of the brick building, which was to be 36 feet wide by 70 feet long. The roof, doors and windows of the new building were completed in the spring of 1846. During the summer the carpenters finished the interior. On October 10,1846, the feast of St. Francis Borgia, the church was blessed in honor of St. Francis Borgia by Rt. Rev. Bishop Barron.

The old church near the cemetery was torn down and the material was used to build the first parish school at Main and Elm streets.

Because it became necessary to attend to the spiritual needs of a group of Irish railroad workers along 26 miles of right-of-way, a gallery had to be added to the church building at a cost of $300.

Father Busschots was removed in 1845 and replaced by Father Antonius Eisvogels, S.J. Father Martin Seisl, S.J. came as an assistant in 1846, and Father Henry Mierlo, S.J. in 1849. The duties were then divided so that Father Seisl took charge of Washington, Father Eisvogels ministered to the Irish railroad workers, and Father Mierlo visited the neighboring towns.

Father Seisl, who had become pastor in 1853, secured a sanctuary lamp for the church and had a balcony built to the rear and along the sides of the building. New pews were obtained and a new altar, benches and an organ loft were built in 1855. Funds for these projects were supplied by subscriptions.

Meanwhile, Father Seisl experienced trouble with the teachers in the school and began thinking about securing the services of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

He conferred with Sister M. Seraphina, who had charge of St. Joseph's School in St. Louis, and asked her to use her influence to obtain school sisters for the small parish in Washington. The request was honored. Soon the spiritual directors of the Motherhouse came to make the necessary arrangements for supplying the teaching nuns.

In September 1856, Father Seisl organized the school society, whose duty was to provide the salary for the teachers and music director, supply funds to maintain the school building and to purchase needed supplies.

The first stone of St. Mary's Academy, the convent school at Main and Elm streets, was laid July 20, 1859.

The first three sisters arrived here on All Saints Day, November 2, 1859. The sisters' convent was not complete so the nuns were quartered in the log house which had served as the first church, and later as a school for boys.

Nine children attended classes the first day the sisters taught. The following spring the enrollment in the school had increased to 60 pupils.

By 1860 the parish contained more than 150 families, and it became more and more evident that a new church should be built. Father Seisl went door to door collecting contributions and subscriptions for the new church.

Enough funds were not forthcoming, so the trustees of the parish took over the fund-raising drive and the building of the church Within a few weeks $20,000 had been collected.

The laying of brick for the new and present church began April 4, 1867. The wages for the approximately seven months of bricklaying totaled $3,811. The carpenters prepared the joists, pillars, erected the framework, and also covered the roof. A group of plasterers from St. Louis did the walls and ceiling for a contracted price of $1,400. The job was completed November 22, 1867.

Stained glass windows for the building were obtained from New York. A man named Hastings decorated the church for approximately $1,000.

Pews for the church were ordered from a St. Louis factory, which later burned. The pews were destroyed at a loss of $550 to the parish.

Joseph Mintrup bequeathed $550 for an altar. Henry Strubberg supplied the means for making the tabernacle.

In 1868 the old church was remodeled into a school for boys. It contained two large classrooms and a large hall on the second floor. The old log church/school was demolished. The nuns decided in September that they no longer wanted to teach the boys. After the lay teacher hired to teach them left without notice, Father Banhaus was named to teach English classes.

The new church was blessed April 6, 1869, Easter Monday. The Rev. Provincial Fred Cossemann gave the blessing.

The bells were blessed on July 4, 1869 by the provincial. One bell weighed 3,160 pounds, another 1,590 pounds, and a third 869 pounds.

The high altar in the new church was built and installed by Schwazer and Company. The pulpit, which cost $371.96, was donated by the Young People's Sodality. Gin;Trentman and Company constructed the railing used for communion at a cost of $201.43. Vestments and altar linens were donated by various sodalities. The baptismal font was a gift from the Young Ladies' Sodality. Mr. A. Jasper made an iron enclosure for the font.

A fence was placed around the church cemetery and a large cross erected in 1873. The Benevolent Society was organized the same year.

A school was built about six miles west of Washington on ground donated by Mrs. Peistrup in  1878.

Father Alexander Mathaushek, S.J. served as pastor from September 1880 until December 1885. He was assigned elsewhere for one year. He returned to Washington in 1886, and remained until December 1894.

In May 1882 the foundation of the residence adjoining the church was under construction. The brickwork was completed in July and the building was ready for occupancy in October.

The decision to build a new parochial school was made in 1884. The location was the corner of Main and Cedar streets. The old church turned school standing on this site was torn down. August Beinke, a practical carpenter and architect from St. Louis was asked to draw the plans.

The construction contract for the new school was awarded to Degen and Breckenkamp on a bid of $11,784. The building was completed December 6 at a total cost of $14,000. Father Mathaushek dedicated the new structure.

During the years the sisters had lived in very poor and close quarters. Father Mathaushek built a combination convent-school on the southeast corner of Second and Cedar street in 1891.

The first Franciscan priest arrived in August 1894. He was Father Paul Teroerde, O.F.M. A farewell celebration was held September 4 in honor of the Jesuits who had worked so faithfully for many years in Washington.

At this time the parish numbered 350 families and the total debt was $9,588.50. Initially the parishioners were not happy with the Franciscans, but later began to cooperate with the priests.

Franciscan devotions were introduced from 1894 through 1896.

The residence next to the church was enlarged by adding a dining room between the building and the church The reception rooms at the front of the rectory were also added.

Father Anthony Moll, O.F.M., who became pastor here in 1899, introduced &e Third Order of St. Francis. The school, which was being built three and one-half miles west of town, was completed and named in Father Anthony's honor.

Around Christmastime in 1901 Father Anthony was transferred, and Father Alphonse Bergener, O.F.M., who arrived in Washington on January 6, 1902, became the pastor. His long pastorale was replete with many outstanding activities. He worked untiringly for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his parish. Among the many improvements made during his regime: he put a new roof of galvanized shingles on the church; gilded the cross on the steeple; had the interior frescoed by George Hoepfinger of Chicago; installed pictorial stained-glass windows in the church; procured a new set of Stations of the Cross, new altars, pulpit, confessional and communion railing; and introduced a steam heating system and electric lights for the church. He also procured and blessed a new pipe organ in 1909. The parish grew rapidly.

The twelve apostles were painted on the ceiling in 1903. Installation of the stained-glass windows began that same year and was completed in 1904. They were supplied by the Emil Frei Art Company of St. Louis and are regarded as model work. They almost stand in comparison with windows from Munich.

Father Alphonse also introduced in 1910 a two-year commercial high school course.

Father Donulus Evers, O.F.M., arrived in Washington in 1915. His six years as pastor were marked by the trying times of the First World War. Due to the terrible epidemic, the so-called "Spanish influenza" which spread through our area, both the church and school were closed for over a month in the fall of 1918. Father Donulus purchased the Henry Hibbeler property on Cedar street for the sum of $10,000. The house was remodeled as a sisters' convert. At the same time the building on the corner of Second and Cedar streets was remodeled and enlarged. The school building at Main and Cedar was abandoned and the lower grades moved into the remodeled building in April 1917. The old building at Main and Cedar was leased to the Washington Cap Factory in August, 1919. The firm occupied the building until 1930.

Father Valerius Neller, O.F.M., succeeded Father Donulus in 1920. He introduced the parish bulletin in 1921. He also purchased the Herkstroeter property on the southwest corner of Second and Cedar at a cost of $9,500. Father Valerius founded the Sodality Circle in 1920. In the same year he was instrumental in forming the St. Cecilia Mixed Choir. He was a born musician and naturally took great interest in church music. He was pastor until 1922.

In the same year, Father Anastasius Rhode, O.F.M., who had been pastor at Union, succeeded Father Valerius. He founded the Usher's Guild and introduced the custom of paying pew money at the doors of the church.

The crowning event in Father Anastasius' pastorale was the building of our local St. Francis Hospital. When Father Anastasius left in 1927, a splendid $120,000 hospital was completed.

The next pastor was Father Ignatius Classen, O.F.M. He was an assistant here before becoming pastor in 1927. He spent 21 years of his priestly life in the service of this parish. Father Ignatius was primarily concerned about the spiritual advancement of the parish. He introduced the practice of schoolgirls wearing uniforms. He erected a new reinforced concrete wall on Cedar street. After the $8,000 fire in the old school building on Main and Cedar he remodeled the entire building and made it a most suitable parish hall for all parish activities. He introduced the budget system to replace the old system of Sunday collections.

He was a pastor in the real sense of the word, which means "shepherd." If anyone knew his people, he did. No labor was too bad, no time too inconvenient when the welfare of souls was at stake. It can be truly said that we are still living in the tremendous spiritual impetus he gave this parish.

In December 1926 the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis took possession of the hospital building here in Washington.

The lot owned by the parish at Second and Olive streets was purchased from Henry Otto in 1915.

Ill health forced the transfer of Father Ignatius in 1932. He was replaced by Father Joseph Meyer, O.F.M., who had served 13 years as a missionary. The new pastor introduced the four-year accredited high school program in 1933. Kindergarten was also started with an enrollment of 50 pupils.

Because of the shortage of classroom space, construction of the high school building and auditorium was planned. A ground-breaking ceremony for the new structure was held March 11,1934 at Second and Cedar streets. The cornerstone of the building was laid April 22 of that same year.

Father Joseph, in announcing his plans, made these remarks:

"The necessity of a four-year high school for the Catholic children of our community has long been felt. It is a need that grows out of the nature of education itself. True education must fit the whole man, to cope with the problems of existence today."

In spite of the crowded condition of the school, another teacher for high school work was obtained So a third year was added as the first step to a full-fledged four-year high school course.

Construction of the high school building was completed in the fall of 1935. The structure was two stories high and had a full basement. A separate boiler and a coal and ash room were built underground at the rear of the building. The basement was designed for ten bowling lanes, and was also equipped with a modern kitchen to be used by the Christian Mothers' Society and as a meeting room for the other organizations.

The first floor of the high school included a laboratory, office, two classrooms and a principal's office. The second floor contained three classrooms, typing and press rooms.

The auditorium was located on the north side of the building. A large stage and dressing rooms were also located in this area. The seating capacity in the auditorium was about 1,000 people.

The beautiful structure of our St. Francis Borgia High School was thought to be unquestionably the most outstanding edifice in the entire city of Washington.

The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of St. Francis Borgia parish took place on October 14,1934 with a pontifical high mass in the morning, with Bishop Winklemann as celebrant. Solemn Vespers were held at 3 p.m. On Monday there was a solemn Requiem Mass for all the deceased members of the parish.

The Century Jubilee book, issued in October 1934, recalled briefly the history of St. Francis Borgia Parish from its very early beginning to the present time. The Foreword of this book began:

"All honors and thanksgiving for the blessings and favors of the past 100 years, to the Father, the Almighty, whose kind and merciful Providence blessed the parish and its undertakings, and caused the little mustard seed, planted in the wilds of Missouri, to grow and prosper."

Father Sebastian Krempel, O.F.M., replaced Father Joseph as pastor in 1936. He was a very capable organizer. He reorganized the Young Men's Sodality and in cooperation with the Knights of Columbus, began a circle of Columbian Squires.

While Father Sebastian was pastor of St. Francis Borgia church, the High School became a fully accredited institution in 1941 with the acquisition of an athletic coach. State school officials who inspected the institution declared that the school was well equipped in every department. They expressed considerable satisfaction over the construction and arrangement of the new high school.

In 1940 new vestments were donated by the Third Order, a new lighting system was installed in the church and new kitchen equipment was donated by the Married Ladies Sodality.

The kindergarten was discontinued in 1941.

During this time a basement was built beneath the sisters' convert. Other improvements included padded kneeling benches in church, leveling the school playgrounds, repairing the church roof, and placing the glass panels in the church vestibule doors. New concrete steps were also constructed at the church entrance.

Father Sebastian exchanged pastorates with Father Erwin Huntsha, O.F.M., then pastor of St. Joseph's Church at Omaha, Nebraska, on July 8, 1942.

Father Erwin can best be characterized by his deep interest in youth and his ability to make improvements. He organized the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Brownies and the Cub Scouts.

In 1943 a school band was organized with Fred Mauntel as general supervisor, and Leo Holzem and Louis Semon as directors.

In 1945 Father Erwin made plans to build an addition to the high school. It took several years to get the project started. In 1950 the building committee approved going ahead with the addition of a new wing. The entire project was approved by the St. Louis Archdiocese. In May 1951 the school drive was organized. In November 1951 a cornerstone ceremony was held with Bishop Charles Helmsing officiating. Open house of the South Wing was held in August 1952, and of the West Wing on September 7, 1952.

In 1949 the works of the tower clock of the St. Francis Borgia Church were removed and sent to Cincinnati, Ohio where they were equipped to operate electrically. For nearly 20 years Ted Noelke had been climbing the dusty stairs to wind the clock every five days. The task usually took 10 or 15 minutes and considerable puffing. The clock was wound with a large hand crank. The I.T. Verden Machine Company in Cincinnati wired the clock for electricity, so that since then, the bells ring out the "Angelus" automatically at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.

Father Erwin was pastor of St. Francis Borgia for fifteen years, from 1942 to 1957.

Because of the tremendous growth of its membership, in 1958 St. Francis Borgia was divided into two parishes. The Catholics living in the eastern half of the city became members of the new Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. The membership continues to grow in both Washington parishes.

Father Thomas Cashman, O.F.M., was assistant pastor at St. Francis from 1944 to 1949 and pastor from 1957 to 1963, 11 years all together.

While pastor the interior of the church was completely redecorated. The ornately decorated wooden altars were taken down and replaced by marble ones. Wood paneling was installed throughout the church. The Stations of the Cross were also redecorated.

Some changes within the church have been made practically by every pastor in the course of the past century and a half, so that nothing remains of the original interior of the church.

Father Ethelbert Harms, O.F.M., became pastor in 1963. He made plans to build a new grade school to be located on Pine Street, facing west. Estimate cost was $420,000 for the building and $80,000 for a new gymnasium, total cost around one half million dollars. The new grade school building was necessary because the old school was no longer considered safe. These plans, however, were not carried out.

When Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council to session on October 11, 1962 many changes were forthcoming in the Roman Catholic Church. Liturgical reform included the use of vernacular language in many parts of the Mass and in administering sacraments. And, in January 1965, a new marble altar was erected in the church facing the people.

Father Wired Domas, O.F.M., came to Washington in 1967 and served as pastor until 1974. He initiated the practice of parents of First Communicants receiving instructions with their children. He also formed the first parish council.

After the St. Louis Archdiocese ruled out the building of Msgr. Hildner High, the Washington Deanery high school, Fr. Wired turned to parishioners for suggestions to solve parish concerns. Committees were formed to study future needs of the parish and of the grade and high schools. "Operation Upkeep" was thus born. This program consisted of men of the parish volunteering their time to make improvements and do maintenance work. One such project was, in June 1969, the removal of the third floor of St. Francis Borgia grade school. Repairing the front wall and steps of the church was another. These projects and others were supported financially by a parish fund drive.

Father Tom Carolan, O.F.M., with his arrival in 1974 inherited a school system that was not only draining the parish financially but was also overcrowded. In May 1978 the bowling alley was closed and converted into the cafeteria. The old cafeteria provided space for three additional classrooms.

Father Tom stressed this was only a partial solution. Further school expansion planning was necessary. In September 1979 he outlined to parishioners a one million dollar fund campaign. This drive was to provide funds for the construction of a new grade school and gym.

When the drive met with greater success than anticipated, it was decided to work toward the high school plan that had been favored from the beginning, but was believed to be out of financial reach.

In June 1980 the new Archbishop of St. Louis, John L. May enthusiastically approved the building of St. Francis Borgia Regional High School. The site is a 30 acre tract in southwest Washington, commonly known as the Knights of Columbus property. Groundbreaking was April 26, 1981 on the $4.8 million project.

The new high school designed for 750 students opened in August, 1982.

With the completion of the Regional High School, the task of organizing the move of the grade school facilities from the two old buildings to the former high school building fell to Miss Fran Kampschroeder in the summer of 1982. Her essay, "How to Move a School," is stored in the school archives.

Miss Kampschroeder, long-time teacher at St. Francis Borgia Grade School, began her duties as principal the summer of 1981. She replaced Sister Kathleen Wegman when the School Sisters of Notre Dame appointed her Provincial Leader of the SSND's in St. Louis. When it was announced that there would not be a sister to replace Sr. Kathleen as principal, the pastor and school board proceeded, for the first time in the history of the school, to seek a lay person for the job.

The move also meant the old grade school could now be converted into "The Parish Center." The building on Main and Cedar was leased to the Washington Historical Society.

1982 saw a renewal in people's faith. One of two religious instrumental in this was Sister Theresa Markus, SSND, who served St. Francis Borgia Parish between 1976- 1986. She served as Religion Coordinator in the grade school and as Director of Religious Education for the parish. One of the most successful parish projects begun by Sr. Theresa, and still continued today, is the Advent "Giving" Tree.

The second person responsible for this parish revival was Father Brian O'Toole, O.F.M., assistant pastor 1981- 1986. He, along with Sr. Theresa, began "Share Your Gifts," a program encouraging parishioners to give of their special talents and time. The highly successful program is responsible for increased involvement of the laity.

The number of rectors, Eucharistic ministers, and songleaders increased. A rotating liturgy committee was formed as was an adult choir. Bible study classes started and sponsor couples were organized. The Renew program was initiated.

On October 18, 1982 the Washington Senior Citizen Nutrition Center opened in the St. Francis Borgia Grade School Cafeteria. Noon meals were prepared and served by the St. Francis Borgia Grade School cooks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the school year only.

This program was co-sponsored by the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and the St. Francis Borgia Parish. The approved nutritious menus served were different from those served to the school children. Reservations were made in advance in order to have an accurate count of meals to be prepared. A donation of $1.50 per meal was accepted.

Holidays were observed with special table decorations. The Center offered a monthly birthday party, card playing, bingo, speakers, music presentations and slide programs.

In 1987 the Nutrition Center moved to the lower level of the newly renovated City Auditorium. By moving there meals could be served Monday thru Friday throughout the entire year. Many organizations donate money to help the Center with expenses. It also receives monies from the United Fund.

After two years as an assistant pastor, on January 1, 1983 Father Armand Lubanski, O.F.M., became pastor, replacing Father Tom Carolan. He bought a computer to modernize the parish's accounting and records, had a ramp constructed along the east church entrance. And, in June, a Stewardship Offertory Program was introduced to increase weekly offerings. That, along with the dedicated workers to the weekly bingo brightened the financial hope for the future. Father Brian continued Adult Education Catechism classes and adult servers were organized.

Father Armand and other parish leaders were concerned about the over-all physical condition of the church building. In 1984 money from an estate was bequeathed to the parish to be used for maintenance. Cathedral Crafts of Winona, Minnesota was contracted to restore the stained glass windows at a cost of $36,000.

On Sunday, October 14, 1984, St. Francis Borgia celebrated its 150th Anniversary as a parish. Rev. John L. May, Archbishop of St. Louis presided over the special Mass of Thanksgiving held at 4 p.m. that day. This was followed by a catered dinner.

In 1985 Welcoming and Home Visiting committees were formed. The church and rectory were tuck-pointed and gutters repaired. Indoor restrooms were added to the west side of the church. Two old homes next to the convent were removed and the Second and Pine Street block was excavated and leveled. The convent was remodeled-upgrading the living quarters for nuns; the rest into a shop and office for the maintenance staff.

On Holy Saturday, April 6, 1985, Borgia's first RCIA group was received into the church The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a program of preparation for adults who wish to be received into the Catholic Church. This practice goes back to the first Christians of Rome. From the early Middle Ages up until recent years, persons wishing to enter the church were given private instructions by a priest. After Vatican II the initiation process was restored. The classes consist of catechumens/candidates, their sponsors and instructors. Catechumens are those who have never been baptized, and candidates are those who have been baptized, by the pouring of water, in another Christian church. The inquiry and instructional process lasts for a period of from eight months to a year, prior to reception into the Church on Holy Saturday.

This group of 27 began the process in 1984 and finished on Pentecost Sunday, 1985.

In keeping with social concerns, the St. Francis Borgia Food Pantry began in the Parish Center in 1985 through the efforts of many parish volunteers. Food is donated by parishioners after all Masses on the first Sunday of each month. The Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are just a few of the organizations who also help collect food for the Pantry.

It is located on the first floor of the Parish Center and is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3 p.m. and Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m. The patrons of the Pantry come once a month and must abide by the government guidelines to receive food and other items. Volunteers help the patrons select items they need.

This Food Pantry continues to be a very successful program today under the leadership of Mr. Bernard "Bernie" Yenzer. Dorothy Toben contributes her clerical skills with the paperwork involved.

In the Fall of 1985 parish leaders organized a Church Renovation - Restoration Fund Drive to redecorate the inside of the church and to restore the exterior of the building. Mr. Donald Hillermann was appointed chairman. A goal of $500 000 was reached and surpassed through pledges by parishioners. John L. Hoffmann and Associates were architects and Albers Construction, General Contractor. Restoration of the roof and brick exterior was begun in early 1986. Remodeling of the inside began in May, 1986. Church services were held in the school gymnasium until completion in December. In order for the school children to have gym classes and games, chairs were moved in the gym many times by students and maintenance personnel. Everyone was very patient during the remodeling time! The last church service held in the gym was First Friday morning Mass. The first service in the newly-decorated church was First Friday evening Mass (both on December 5, 1986). There were some small parts of the project unfinished and these were completed in early 1987. A special Mass of Thanksgiving was offered by Father Armand Lubanski and associates on Sunday afternoon, February 22, 1987.

1986 brought other big changes. In the summer of that year both Father Brian and Sister Theresa left St. Francis Borgia. Mr. James Lause succeeded Sister Theresa as Director of Religious Education for the parish Mr. Lause attended St. Francis Borgia Grade School and High School, graduated from Quincy College and attended Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He has been a life-long member of St. Francis Borgia Parish. The DRE is responsible for organizing the religious education programs for the grade school, preschool, Parish School of Religion classes, planning the Sacramental programs, selecting and ordering religion textbooks for all programs, and working with others to plan religious education for adults of the parish. He also directs the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

Sister Sharon Betram, SSND, was hired to replace Sister Theresa as Pastoral Minister. She filled that position for one year. Upon her departure in 1987, Debbie Toedebusch co-ordinated the Special Ministries.

On Saturday,January 31,1987, Mr. Gilbert Holtmeyer, a life-long member of St. Francis Borgia Parish, was ordained a Permanent Deacon of the St. Louis Archdiocese. Archbishop John L. May conferred ordination at the St. Louis Cathedral. A special Mass of Thanksgiving was offered at St. Francis Borgia on Sunday, February 1, 1987, Father Armand officiating. A reception followed in the school cafeteria.

Deacon Holtmeyer assists the priest at Mass, reads the Gospel, preaches homilies, instructs and baptizes those coming into the Catholic faith, distributes Holy Eucharist, witnesses and blesses marriages, officiates at Benediction and Stations of the Cross, and assists/officiates at many other liturgical/para-liturgical events.

Preparing for the diaconate required several years of attending classes at Kenrick Seminary. His wife, Arlene (nee Meyer), attended some with him. Deacon and Mrs. Holtmeyer have six daughters and ten grandchildren.

In January of 1988, Sister Agnes Bartholomew, SSND, left St. Francis Borgia Grade School for health reasons. For the first time since the School Sisters of Notre Dame came in 1859, the grade school did not have a religious sister on staff.

In August of 1990, Sister LaLande Edwards, SSND, joined the St. Francis Borgia faculty, and is currently serving the grade school in the capacity of guidance counselor.

Our parish has been most fortunate to have had the sisters for so many years.

In July 1989. Sr. Mary Pascal Schaeffer, C.P.P.S., a Sister of the Most Precious Blood of O'Fallon, Missouri, was hired by the Parish Council to fill the position of Pastoral and Music Minister. She began many prayer-oriented ministries and organized liturgical music. Sister Pascal left the summer of 1991.

Mrs. Doris Dimaya became the new Pastoral Minister in July, 1991, and is currently serving St. Francis Borgia. Mrs. Dimaya is continuing the prayer and music ministries and is actively promoting Youth Ministry at this time.

In 1989, the Franciscans announced that they would be leaving St. Francis Borgia in June of 1990. The Franciscan leaders were reducing the number of parishes served by Franciscans, citing increasing age of the priests and a decrease in new vocations. The Franciscans served St. Francis Borgia for 96 years (1894-1990). It was announced that priests of the St. Louis Archdiocese would staff the parish.

A special Mass of Thanksgiving was offered on Pentecost Sunday, June 3,1990, followed by a testimonial dinner in the school cafeteria. The Franciscans who last served us were Father Armand Lubanski, Pastor; and Fathers Cloud Billig, Larry Nickels and Alois Gabrus, associates. The parishioners of St. Francis Borgia are very grateful to the Franciscans for their many years serving the parish.

Deacon Gilbert Holtmeyer became the first Business Manager for the parish on April 1, 1990. He had recently served as a vice-president of the local Mercantile Bank; retiring after 33 years of employment.

Archbishop John L. May of St. Louis appointed archdiocesan priests on May 29, 1990, to serve St. Francis Borgia Parish. The priests would begin their ministry on July 1,1990. Rev. Robert Banken was appointed pastor, Rev. Thomas Wissler, associate pastor, and Rev. William Kempf, part-time associate pastor, who would also teach religion at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School.

There was a Mass of Installation on July 1, 1990, followed by a luncheon reception so that parishioners could meet and get acquainted with the new priests.

Since that time we have had 3 pastors and 7 associates:

Father Jack Costello, pastor 1994 to 2005

Father Andrew Sigmund, pastor 2005 to 2013

Father Brian Hecktor, parochial administrator, 2013 to current

Father Dan Mosley, associate 1995 to 1995

Father Mike Oslance, associate 1995 to 1999

Father Pat Christopher, associate 1999 to 2002

Father Mike Boehm, associate 2003 to 2004

Father Greg Klump, associate 2004 to 2009

Father John Mayo, associate 2009 to 2012

Father Brian Hecktor, associate 2012 to 2013

Father Joe Wormek, senior associate 2013 to 2014

Father Brian Hecktor, Parochial Administrator 2013 to 2014

Father Joe Wormek, Pastor 2014 to Current

As we close our book today, filled with many thoughts of bygone times, we are pleased to look ahead now to the months and years that stretch out into the distant future.

We hope the Good Lord will be with us always, to guide us safely to our heavenly home.

We thank the Lord for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us and all the members of St. Francis Borgia parish.

Copyright by St. Francis Borgia