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St. Bartholomew Parish celebrates 50th anniversary

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September 26, 2011

By Denise Menke

ST. MARGARET MARY DEANERY — Members of the St. Bartholomew Parish in Finneytown marked the 50th anniversary of the parish with a special Mass Aug. 28. Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr served as primary celebrant for the Mass, along with Father Patrick Welsh, pastor. They were assisted by Deacon Michael Ascolese. Many former pastors and associates were also on hand to join with the faith community in celebrating this milestone.

 

S., Bart's anniversary mass
Members of St. Bartholomew Parish pray during the 50th anniversary Mass. (CT/Colleen Kelley)

The parish’s history began in August 1961, when Father Francis J. Flanagan was given the assignment by Archbishop Karl J. Alter to begin a new parish in northern Hamilton County. The parish, named St. Bartholomew, started with 17 acres of farmland, a farmhouse and a small barn. Father Flanagan and the founding members immediately began building the new church. Father Flanagan moved into the farmhouse Sept. 2, 1961, after it was made ready by the parishioners. The barn was remodeled by the founding parishioners and used as the parish chapel for weekday Masses, along with confessions, baptisms and weddings.

 

In the early days of the parish, Sunday Masses were held at Kolping Grove, which was a popular dance and reception hall on Winton Road run by the German Kolping Society. To prepare Kolping Grove for Mass, the men of the parish would meet at 5 a.m. each Sunday to cleanup after the previous night’s event.

 

Work began in the spring of 1962 to build the school building, with one floor to  be used as a worship area. Father Flanagan worked side by side with parishioners painting, nailing, and cleaning; everyone pitched in where they could to get the job done.

 

By September 1962 four Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters had arrived, led by Sister Mary Mark Deters as principal. With the Sisters and four additional lay teachers, the school opened for 334 children in grades two through five. In December 1962 the first Sunday Mass was held on St. Bartholomew grounds in the school facility.

 

In the early years, numerous parish traditions were begun and religious and service organizations were formed, such as the St. Anne’s Altar Rosary Sodality for women and Holy Name Society for men. Both organizations fulfilled many needs in the parish.

 

As the parish grew, it became obvious that more of the school building was needed for classrooms and plans were made to build a church-convent-rectory complex.  Under the guidance and leadership of Father Flanagan, parishioners were creative and persistent in their task. 

 

On Dec. 21, 1969 Archbishop Paul F. Liebold dedicated the new St Bartholomew Church. After eight long years of hard work, fundraising, and endless phone calls, St. Bartholomew Parish joyously celebrated its first Mass in the new church at midnight on Christmas Eve 1969. 

 

Archbishop Schnurr at St. Bart's
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr chats with Jean Ascolese after the anniversary Mass. (CT/Colleen Kelley)

Since that first decade of building and growth, St. Bartholomew Parish has settled and grown as a faith based community. Over the years, the parish has adopted and assisted a displaced Vietnamese family and supported the startup of the local Ministerial Association and the Northern Hills Ecumenical Council. 

 

Under the tenure of Father William F. Krumpe, the fourth pastor of St. Bartholomew Church, the teenagers of the parish became engaged through a variety of religious and social programs including trips to World Youth Day ‘93 celebration held in Denver and again in 1997 in Paris to visit the late Pope John Paul II.  During Father Krumpe’s tenure the Parish Activity Center was conceived and built in 1994. The center was renamed in his honor after his death in 2000.

 

In recent years deanery planning led to the designation of St. Bartholomew and neighboring St. Vivian Parish as a pastoral region. The school consolidation was altered, replacing St. John Neumann and Corpus Christi with St. Clare and Our Lady of the Rosary parishes, and the consolidated school’s name was changed to Pope John Paul II.  The faith community also participated in the Institute of School and Parish Development (ISPD) program to identify and address needs and priorities in the parish.

 

The founding families of the parish, were honored at a special Mass Sept. 24, followed by a picnic, during which a 50th anniversary time capsule was filled. Additionally, parishioners have been invited to attend history discussions groups to share stories, pictures, and documents. Stories have been told and pictures and documents have been copied in an effort to preserve the collective history as a parish.  This history has been presented through articles, published in the Sunday bulletins each week since March. The articles will continue through the end of the year.  

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