The Forties

Now in its teens, the parish is ready to take risks as it develops and grows physically and spiritually. The foundations of love and trust combine with strong leadership to carry its people through the war years, the Forties. 1940 On July 3, Reverend Raymond J. Sweeney comes to St. Thomas as pastor. He is no stranger to many parishioners who know 1941 In the rectory at 1436 Wilcox Park Drive, Mrs. Paul J. Hermann begins work as the first parish secretary. Sophia’s sincere, kindly personality creates an efficient, yet warm and friendly place where folks can visit or call. 1942 The houses at 1420 and 1421 Grace Street are purchased for a convent, one of many transactions enabling parish growth. 1943 Several young men from St. Thomas families dedicate their lives to God’s Work.
-Reverend Edward Eardley, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs Edward Eardley, ordained December 8, 1943.
-Reverend Robert Bernard Gillespies, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Gillespie, ordained December 8, 1943. -Reverend Gregory J. Steigmeyer, CSC, son of Mr. and Mrs. H>F> Steigmeyer, ordained June 24, 1943.
-Reverend John W. McGee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ivan McGee, ordained March 19, 1943. The first issue of The Prop Wash is sent out to service men and women from the parish on April 1. Father Gerard Guzikowski arrives to assist at Holy Week and remains until transferred in September. While at St. Thomas, Father completes a parish census and give support to the youth of the patish helping in the Prop Wash endeavor and countless other ways. 1944 Parish growth triggers thoughts of expansion. Could a land trade be possible with the Holland Home? (St. Thomas property on Fulton Street for Holland Home garden land on Wilcox Park Drive.) 1945 The house adjoining the school that had been purchased and rented is now converted into a kindergarten under the able direction of Sister M. Adrienne, and later Nancy Corcoran. Negotiations with Aquinas College commence (to purchase land east of the St. Thomas line). Eventually 4 acres extending from Wilcox Park Drive north to Fulton are purchased for the sum of $5,000. The Prop Wash publishes an Honor Roll with the names and addresses of those from St. Thomas in service and a Gold Star Roll for friends who gave their lives in World War II. Sister Anne (Sally) Keating, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Keating, enters the order of Sisters of St. Dominic on September 8. St. Thomas unit of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is organized. 1946 Newly ordained Father joseph Wiekeriak begins his pastoral work as assistant at St. Thomas. Twenty-eight St. Thomas men begin league paly at Ridgemoor Golf Club. 1947 Mr. and Mrs. H.F. Steigmeyer rejoice in the ordination of their son, Reverend Robert C. Steigmeyer, CSC. 1948 Reverend Paul F. Kersjes comes to St. Thomas as assistant pastor. Another St. Thomas son begins God’s work as William W. McKnight, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward McKnight, is ordained on May 22. Miss Anna Schulte and Mrs. Edward McKnight begin a campaign to collect old gold. The response results in the creation of a new chalice, similar to the chalich of Antioch. The gold chalice remains in use for many years at Sunday Mass. A formal Ushers Club is formed that is to become a main force in directing and financing the parish athletic program, in addition to assisting at Masses and other parish functions. 1949 Edward D. Nugent, C.SS.R. is ordained on January 6. Gilbert Rahrig, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Rahrig, is ordained on April 23.