St. Thomas More Church History

The first Mass for parishioners of the newly organized St. Thomas More Parish was offered on December 22, 1934, in the Valle Theater building by Fr. Richard Gregoire, O.S.B., founder of the parish. This building was used for services for three years. Fr. Richard built the church in 1937 and it was dedicated by Bishop Joseph H. Schlarman on September 26 of that year.

Fr. Richard was succeeded in 1938 by Fr. Frederick Winchell, O.S.B., who remained until February 13, 1940, when Fr. Richard was reappointed. He completed a rectory in 1941, and in 1942 entered military service.

Fr. Phillip Stauffer, O.S.B., who became pastor in 1941, was succeeded by Fr. Robert Donovan, O.S.B., 1943 to 1945; Fr. Aloysius Sharkey, O.S.B., 1945 to 1947; and Fr. Leo Zimmerman, O.S.B., 1947 to 1951. Fr. Jerome Walsh, O.S.B., succeeded Fr. Leo in 1951.

Fr. Boniface Martin, succeeded Fr. Jerome in 1954. The church was renovated outside and refurnished inside. Fr. Boniface retired in June 1964 and relinquished the parish duties to Fr. Alcuin Mueller, O.S.B., who served until his death in 1974.

Fr. Richard Powers was appointed pastor in August 1974 and was succeeded by Fr. Dale Finnell in 1975. Fr. George Hiland served as administrator for three weeks until the appointment of Fr. John Fitzgerald in January 1976.

In 1977, a new roof was put on the church building at a cost of $4,571.00, a new rectory was built in 1980 for $59,000.00 and a new parish center was constructed in 1981 for $156,000.00. (History from Catholic Post supplement - August 30, 1987)