The Sixties

Writer: Rita O’Neill-Wiseman

Continually adjusting its boundaries and always seeking to further fulfill the dreams of its creators, the parish prepares for the challenges of The Sixties. 1960 Work begins on enlarging the remodeled school and construction of an all-purpose gym. Reverend Vernon William Wright, Jr., C.SS.R. is ordained in June and Sister Mary Therrese Hillary, RCS, daughter of Mr. ad Mrs. Gerard Hillary, enters Sisters of the Good Shepherd of Cincinnati, Ohio in September. 1961 A group of creative parishioners form the “Theatercrafters.” Father Charles Ausberger is ordained in June and comes to St. Thomas as assistant pastor. Brother James Edward Kozak, CSC, professes as a Holy Corss Brother in August. 1962 Reverend Valentin Rodriquez, who was ordained in Belgium in 1937, arrives at St. Thomas in September. Sister Mary Brigid Clingman, O.P., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. lewis Clingman, professes as a member of the Cominican Order. 1963 The school and gym completed and in use, thought is now given to the new convent. The old house that serves as a convent at 1420 Grace Street is razed, and a new convent is built on the site. At a cost of $150,000, the building is state-of-the-art. Opened in September, it is generously and tastefully equipped by many parish members. Father R. Dale Mrogan comes to St. Thomas as assistant pastor. Sister Mary Margaret Lazio, CSJ, enters the Order of Sister of St. Joseph of Caroncelet, St. Louis, Missouri. 1964 Sister Patricia Mary of the Trinity Metzger, daughter of Mrs. Patricia Metzger, professes her final vows in the Order of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Rennes, Brittany. 1965 Sister Lisa Ann Lazio, CSJ, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lazio, enters the Order of Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis, Missouri. 1966 St. Thomas forms a Parish Board of Education based on the Michaigan Catholic Conference constitution and serves as a pilot board for one year-assisting other parishes as well. A permamnent constitution that suits the specific needs of St. Thomas is put into place. A Home and School Association soon follows. Revenerend Stanford Chrysostum Van Hoeck, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Van Hoeck, is ordained on June 9. 1967 At an estimated cost of $227,298, a new rectory is built. A Parish Finance Committee is formed to direct a tithing renewal prgoram to help support the building costs. 1968 Monsignor Sweeney and Fr. Ausberger occupy the new rectory. The building has rooms where clergy can come to reside and learn. With meeting rooms as well as living quaters, it is planned to also serve the parish as an administration center. Father Andrew Cruschiel comes to St. Thomas for a stay of one year. Father John Neuhaus also arrives. School enrollment reaches its peak as 470 baby boomers attend classes. 1969 In accordance with directives from Vatican II, a Pena-Council is established. Father Gaspar Ancona takes up residence in the new rectory.