The Fifties

Writer: Rita O’Neill-Wiseman

Like many young adults, the parish is caught in a whirlwind of change. In a beautiful new church the family can rejoice, worship, and sometimes grieve. Industriously, its people prepare for the enrichment and fulfillment of The Fifties. 1950 Ordained in June, Father Stanislaus A. Bur comes to St. Thomas in December as assistant pastor. The men of St. Thomas continue to do God’s work. Joseph Pawlicki, the first Scoutmaster of St. Thomas, is ordained on June 7. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pawlicki. Father James J. Nugent, C.SS.R. is ordained a Redemptorist priest on June 29. 1951 The third of the Nugent brothers, William A. Nugent, C.SS.R., becomes a Redemptorist priest on July 2nd. (While the Nugents were originally members of St. Alphonsus Parish, their parents later moved to St. Thomas and their sons became an important part of St. Thomas history. As an example, one Christmas Eve the three brothers concelebrated Midnight Mass, as a memorable experience for all present.) As of November 14th, St. Thomas owns 238-feet of frontage on Wilcox Park Drive eas tof the school-church and 265-feet from Wilcox Park Drive north to the Holland Home south line. 1952 Plans are in the drawing stages for a new church to be built upon the newly acquired land. In November, Father Raymond Pattok begins his stay as assistant pastor at St. Thomas. The young people continu their vocations to religious service as Thomas Neis is ordained on June 7th. 1953 Lisa Marie Lazio, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Lazio, enters the orders of Sisters of St. Dominic. Groung is broken for the new church. To finance the new construction, a parish fund drive begins. 1954 Father Lionel Harnish comes to the parish as assistant pastor. Pope Pius XII names our pastor a domestic prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor. Bishop Allen J. Babcock blesses the cornerstone for the new church. Subsequently, on the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, December 21, the church is blessed and the altars consecrated. Another round of “firsts” begins with the firt First Holy Communion Class in the new church in November and the first baptisms:Ann Mead, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Mead; Michael Campbell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Campbell; Mark Nelson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Nelson. Under the leadership of Evelyn Yentz, the women of the parish organize a golf league. Monsignor Sweeney celebrates 25 years in the priesthood. 1955 In March, the Sacrament of Confirmation becomes another “first” in the new St. Thomas Church. Paula Schmidt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Val Schmidt, professes her vows in the Redemptoristine Contemplative Order. The space formerly occupied by the first St. Thomas Church is remodeled to alleviate croweded conditions in the school. St. Thomas participates in the Diocesan Development Fund for the first time. Continuing successfully for many years, this drive comes to be kown as the Catholic Services Appeal. Work on the church parking lot commences. 1956 Our beloved pastor, now Monsignor Sweeney, suffers a heart attack. Parish life continues while he recovers, thanks to the groundwork he has laid since his arrival in 1940. Mary Sheryl Lazio, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Lazio, enters the order of Sisters of Notre Dame, Cleveland, Ohio. 1957 Sister Marilyn Qunilan, BVM, professes vows in the order of Sisters of Charity, Dubuque, Iowa in March. Father Noel Fay arrives at St. Thomas. 1958 Colbrook Creek work continues. Robert T. Hesse, CSC, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hesse, professes as a Holy Cross Foreign Missionary on June 4. 1959 Two more young women offer their lives to religious service. Sister Margaret Anne Hillary, O.P., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Hillary, professes her final vows. Sister Georgeann Quinlan, BVM, professes vows in the order of Sisters of Charity, Dubuque, Iowa.