Tuesday, December 01, 2015
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A History of St Joan of Arc Parish

Parishioners begin raising the $93,047.40 it will take to build the parish’s first church. They hold chicken dinners, raffles, rummage sales, dances and pledge drives. The Albert Riedy family donates six lots for the new building

On August 29, the cornerstone is laid with hundreds of clergy, parishioners and friends attending.

On September 2, the first wedding in St. Joan of Arc Parish takes place in Riedy’s Hall. Bernard J. Cassel marries Marion Hinterlong.

On June 25, the original St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church opens. The first Mass is the Joseph Miller – Bertha Long wedding. The building includes a three-room school, a church seating 500 and a convent.


A History of St Joan of Arc Parish

In the fall, the parish grade school opens. Classes are led by two Benedictine Sisters from Sacred Heart Monastery - Sister Mary Dolores Janota and Sister Mary Clarissa Ruda. The next year, Sister Mary Bonaventure Kovalcik arrives.

On June 17, three girls and two boys are the first graduating class from St. Joan of Arc school. The second graduating class would have 12 students.

On November 24, St. Joan of Arc’s building is dedicated. The Reverend B.J. Sheil, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, officiates.

The Diocese of Joliet is created and includes St. Joan of Arc Parish.

In the summer, construction begins on the elementary school.

The new school building on Columbia Avenue opens with 320 pupils.

The junior high addition is constructed. The addition includes a large gymnasium, the basement of which also serves as the Parish’s Chapel, where additional Sunday Masses are eventually held,  since the original church building can no longer accommodate the larger congregation.

On February 19, the parish holds a farewell Mass in its original red brick building. The building is razed in August after it is condemned for being structurally unsound.

The same year, the parish begins a $1 million fund-raising drive to build a new church.

On July 25, ground is broken for the new church.

On Christmas Eve, the parish celebrates its first Mass in the new church.

On March 13, the church is officially dedicated.

In the spring, the Benedictine Sisters return to live at Sacred Heart Monastery, and the convent is converted into parish administrative offices. The rectory is relocated to a house on Front Street, and the former rectory building is sold.

This year also sees the completion of an addition linking the elementary and junior high buildings, as well as the addition of more classrooms and offices.

In September, the parish launches a fund-raising drive to build a parish center housing adult religious education classes and other programs.

St. Joan of Arc Parish celebrates its 75th anniversary. The new parish center is dedicated on June 13.

Due to a lack of manpower, the beloved Benedictine Fathers can no longer administer the parish, so Bishop Joseph Imesch appoints Father Gerald Tivy as the new pastor, and Father Thomas Botheroyd as parochial vicar. By a special agreement between the Bishop and the Abbot of St. Procopius Abbey, Father Kenneth Zigmond, OSB also remains as a parochial vicar.

On April 22, the Adoration Chapel is opened with a solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the church to the chapel in the Parish Center. Adoration has continued unbroken day and night since then and has been a source of great grace to the parish.

New ministries are added: Funeral Ministry, PADS ministry, Pro-life Ministry, Art & Environment and Hospitality. All other ministries, such as the Knights of Columbus, are enhanced and continue add to the life of the parish.

The church undergoes a major interior renovation. The parking lot is also reconfigured, and the brick wall separating it from the north side of the church is removed to afford additional and more convenient parking for those with special needs. The grounds are landscaped, and a new roof is put on the school. The fifty-year-old boilers are also replaced.

In May, the parish's priests move into the new rectory on Kingston Avenue, just to the east of the Parish Center.  The house on Front Street which had served as the former rectory, is sold to the Lisle Library District to facilitate its future expansion plans.

This is the year that the parish also celebrates its 80th anniversary.

June 5 sees the departure of Father Thomas Botheroyd, who enters the Benedictine religious community at Marmion Abbey in Aurora, Illinois a few weeks later. The month of August marks the arrival of Father Pete Jankowski as parochial vicar, followed by the arrival of Father Don Kocher as senior priest the following month.  In October the Pastoral Council approves the new "Catholics Returning Home Ministry" for launch in January 2006 under the direction of Tom Richardt.

Father Scaria Thoppil, CMI, arrives at SJA as a Parochial Vicar, providing much-needed assistance to SJA's other priests, and Tom Richardt is  ordained a Deacon on Saturday, August 25th. A revived Women's Ministry gets off to an encouraging start in the fall with a well-attended Advent Tea in early December.  The Church building's rest room facilities get a much-needed extreme make-over during a six-week period.

In February Father Tivy announces his intention to retire upon reaching his 70th birthday in June. He uses the interim months to complete various projects at the Parish: the sidewalk/ramp at the south entrance of the Church is replaced with brick pavers. A new handrail and and more effective ground lighting is also installed in this area. A "wayside shrine" roof structure is also added to the statue of the Risen Christ in the south side Prayer Garden to protect the statue from rain damage.  In March, Bishop J. Peter Sartain announces that Father Gabriel Baltes, OSB, a former associate at St. Joan of Arc Church, will be returning to the parish as Pastor upon Father Tivy's retirment.  On June 8th, Father Tivy celebrates his farewell Mass at 11:30am to an overflow crowd of well-wishers, followed by a reception attended by over six hundred people.