All Are Welcome!
"Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;
All are welcome in this place."
At St. Mary's Catholic Church, we hold these words that we sing very dear to
our hearts. Each of us has a different journey in our faith and we welcome you
at each and every step. We are a community in every sense of the word, sharing
the fire within us that is our faith in Jesus Christ. With our commitment to
service, compassion and the love of the Lord we welcome you!
St. Mary’s Catholic Church was established under Bishop Hennessey, of Dubuque, Iowa, on September 15,1874. The frame church building was erected at 2nd and Grimes in 1875 at a cost of $800.00 and Father J. Barry was pastor and membership came from 20 families. In the early 1880’s, it is recorded that Father Shiffmacher, pastor of St. Mary’s, served the region by serving in Villisca, Malvern, Corning, and Griswold. Of these, he recorded that Corning was the most promising. In 1890’s, this territory was redistricted. A Catholic Cemetery was purchased before 1883 and is located two miles north of Hwy. 34 on 8th Street and then ½ mile west. In 1902, a new church was built at 3rd and Grimes at a cost of $7,000 with Father William Quinn as the Pastor. This church served the needs of the people until 1962. He also was instrumental in having the parsonage built near the church location at a cost of $2,500.00. In May of 1919, work started on a Parochial School at 301 Nuckols Street. The school building was opened in January 1920 with school beginning on September 2, 1920. The Dominican Sisters taught at this school. Fifty students attended classes with 20 of them from Griswold, the out-mission., who came on the train to attend the school. A Convent also was located near the school on 3rd and Nuckols. Father F.B. Ostdiek was Pastor during this time. Also on the North East Corner of 3rd and Nuckols Street, St. Mary’s Clubhouse was used for meetings with the Holy Name Society. The Griswold Church remained a mission of St. Mary’s, Red Oak until 1970’s. Msgr. J. L. Mackin was pastor when 6.4 acres were bought on the site of the present church. This was purchased on June 15, 1959 from Fred Kennon. The new church was built in 1962 at the present site of 1510 Highland Avenue. A Cornerstone dedication was held on October 21, 1962. The church opened for services in 1963. In June of 1978, the church was remodeled with a new south entrance, reconciliation room and a Mother’s Room (cry room). Father Joseph Devlin was pastor at this time. Another major renovation to the church was completed in 1989. At this time the entire worship space underwent renovation. The Gathering Space of the Church was renovated in the fall of 2000 with work completed in the spring of 2001. Father Lazarus Kirigia currently is Pastor of St. Mary’s in Red Oak.