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St. Al’s Shandon marks 25 years on Chapel Road

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HAMILTON DEANERY — Members of St. Aloysius Parish in Shandon came together for a special Mass on Sept. 27 to mark the faith community’s 25th anniversary at its current Chapel Road location.

St. Aloysius Church in Shandon. (Courtesy photo)

More than 200 people gathered for the liturgy, at which Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr served as primary celebrant and homilist. Concelebrating were Father Raymond Leurck, current pastor, and Fathers William Dorrmann and Gerald Haemmerle, former pastors. Also on hand were Deacons Bill Brunsman and Larry Maag.

The parish was established in 1868, when the Archdiocese of Cincinnati purchased a frame house in Paddy’s Run (also known as New London), which was blessed as a temporary chapel. The pastor of St. John the Baptist in Dry Ridge attended to the spiritual needs of the people until 1873. From then until 1944, the Franciscan friars served the mission with Mass once a month, later increasing to twice monthly. A small brick church was built on the site of the frame building in 1878, but it was destroyed by fire in 1900. With assistance from the residents of Hamilton, the church was rebuilt on the same foundation where it sits today in downtown Shandon.

For its first 60 years St. Aloysius served only 17 to 20 families, but grew to 25 by 1934, and 150 in 1968. Children from the parish attended Queen of Peace School in Millville until there was no room. An agreement with St. Joseph School in Hamilton was made in 1955, and St. Aloysius children still receive their education there today.

Young Massgoers read the anniversary program at St. Aloysius Church in Shandon. (CT/E.L. Hubbard)

The land for the current church on Chapel Road was purchased in 1971, with the groundbreaking occurring in 1983. The church was dedicated in January 1985. A parish cemetery opened in 1989 and is managed by members of St. Aloysius. Today the parish serves some 700 families and has many groups and activities geared toward meeting the spiritual and social needs of all its members. St. Aloysius members are also active in outreach, generously supporting the St. Vincent de Paul Society and adopting a Louisiana parish after Hurricane Katrina to assist in recovery efforts.

In 2008 the decision was made to move the stained glassed windows to the Chapel Road location, where they have since been installed. In the future, the parish hopes make additional improvements to the worship space, add office facilities and expand the multipurpose room.

For Vera Lierer, a member of the parish for 47 years, the 25th anniversary celebration of the present church, was an opportunity to reflect on how St. Aloysius has changed and grown.

“We’ve made a lot of progress over the years,” she said. “There’s a lot of involvement on the part of the parishioners. It’s a really nice, friendly community. It’s not one where you just disappear after Mass on Sunday. We all stand around and talk. I really enjoy being a member here.”

“It was a wonderful celebration,” said Nancy Padgett, who has served as parish secretary for 14 years. “The Mass was beautiful and it was very special for us to have Archbishop Schnurr and our former pastors here.”

The anniversary Mass was followed by a reception in the parish hall.

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