History of Holy Family

In 1908 when Council Bluffs was still part of the Diocese of Davenport, with only the two parishes of St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter's and both of them in the downtown area, a need was felt for a new parish in the west part of the city.

Thus was born the parish of Holy Family. The dividing line for Holy Family Parish was everything west of 14 street to the Missouri River. At that time there were fifty to sixty families in that area.

A cattle lot was located across the street from the church. The streets were unpaved, there were no sidewalks or streets lights, most of the property was vacant lots, and sunflowers were in great abundance.

Father John O'Neill, a native of Council Bluffs, who at the time was pastor of the parishes of Bayard and Jamaica, became Holy Family's first priest. He set about the task of building the church. The structure, forty feet by one hundred twenty-five feet, is a lasting monument to the many worthwhile accomplishments of Fr. O'Neill's life.

The beautiful tiled roof structure was started in 1908 (later replaced after the 1988 tornado). And the corner stone was laid December 8, 1908.

Windows
Windows

The beauty of the windows in the church , which were made in Bavaria, is unexcelled. Each window depicts some event in the life of the Holy Family, including scenes from the life of the Holy Family and others of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

The Hy Stuckstede Bell Foundry of St. Louis cast the single church bell, about four feet in diameter. An inscription, "Restore all things in Christ" dated 1909, is found on the bell. The bell is still rung before each Mass

Father John O'Neill and his parishioners had been given a mighty task to do and he fulfilled that task nobly. When he was given another assignment in 1915, Father William Quinn came to Holy Family and it was under his pastorate that the present rectory was built next to the church. In addition, a chapel at 14th Avenue and 15th street was established for the people in the surrounding area. It was used for both Catechism classes and for Sunday Mass. Priests from St. Francis Xavier Parish also help at the chapel.

Father William Coughlan arrives

When Father Quinn died in October 1918, Father William Coughlan arrived in November and served for 41 years until he passed away in November 1959.

School
School

Less than 8 years after Fr. Coughlan became pastor, with the cooperation of his parishioners, the Holy Family school was built in the lot west of the church, and in 1928 opened its door to 120 students from Kindergarten through sixth grade. Later on, it included the eleventh grade as the enrollment grew. The Sisters of Mercy staffed the school. The School, over the years has served as Holy Family School, Primary School for the St. Albert's School System and Classrooms for the Parish Religious Education Program from 1987 - 1997. In the fall of 1997 due to high maintenance cost and city code requirements to keep and maintain the structure, the building was torn down. The Parish Religious Education now takes place in the Catholic School building on 28th & 9th Ave.

Father Frederick Reischl arrives

When Monsignor Coughlan's health began to fail, Holy Family received its first associate pastor, Father Frederick Reischl. In September of 1955 he was appointed administrator. He was an energetic and zealous priest and was instrumental in planning and organizing the Legion of Mary, the St. Vincent de Paul society, the Junior Legion of Mary and the Christian Family movement.

Fr. Joseph Shaw and Fr. Richard Wagner arrive

From St. Patrick's at Neola came Fr. Joseph Shaw in July 1960. While he was pastor, Fr. Richard Wagner came to take Fr. Reischl's place. He was a big help to Fr. Shaw, especially when Fr. Shaw became ill and spent 14 months in the hospital until God called him on the Feast of the Holy Family, January 12, 1964.


Monsignor Albert Davidsaver arrives

Msgr. Davidsaver
Msgr. Davidsaver

On the following Saturday Monsignor Albert Davidsaver took over as the Fifth pastor with Fr. Wagner remaining as associate pastor. His zeal and kindness in giving advice to those in need was beyond the call of duty. He was always a booster for civic actions in the community


Fr. Ralph Goeser, Fr. Frank Bognanno, Fr. Samuel Palmer, Father Steven Orr

Fr. Bognanno
Fr. Bognanno

In addition to Fr. Wagner, Fr. Ralph Goeser and Fr. Frank Bognanno served with him as associate pastors. Then Fr. Samuel Palmer came as Co-Pastor for three years and it was under his hard work that the church was renovated interiorly. Father Steven Orr became part of Holy Family by helping us on Saturdays and Sundays and being an essential part of the parish in addition to serving on the faculty at St. Albert High School. Holy Family Parish is indebted to these priests for their generosity in time and assistance


Fr. Phillip Lawler arrives

Fr. Lawler
Fr. Lawler

Monsignor Davidsaver's resignation became effective June 1978. Fr. Phillip Lawler, who came to Holy Family in July from parishes at Granger and Woodward, succeeded him. Fr. Daleke was assigned to St. Patrick's.


Fr. Paul Monahan arrives

Fr. Monahan
Fr. Monahan

Fr. Paul Monahan succeeded Fr. Lawler in 1985. Fr. Paul continued to develop the vitality of the parish. He was aware of the need to hire someone to coordinate the parish religious education and further develop the Outreach ministry that he and Sister Jean O'Rouke founded in 1986


Sister Lorraine Schmitz is hired

Sister Lorraine Schmitz, a School Sister of St. Francis was hired in March of 1987 to fill both positions. The Outreach ministry, under Sr. Lorraine's direction continues to grow today. Besides home visitation and visits to the hospital and nursing homes, the ministry includes a Grief Support group, Ministry of Praise and several like-to-like ministries. With the demolition of the school building in 1997, the Parish Religious Education moved to St. Albert Catholic School Primary building (at 29th & 9th Ave.) PREP now includes PK thru 9th; Family Faith Time each Sunday; and several Generation Celebrations each year

Sister Schmitz
Sister Schmitz

Fr. Ken Gross arrives

Fr. Gross
Fr. Gross

Fr. Paul stayed on as pastor until January 1993, when he left for a 6-month study in California where Fr. Ken Gross, our current pastor, had just finished his 6-month sabbatical before being assigned to Holy Family as pastor. Fr. Ken had been a Priest in the Des Moines Diocese since 1971. He has served in many parishes before coming to Council Bluffs. Fr. Ken's contributions to our parish are developed around the family. He made the Sacraments more family oriented. He encouraged everyone to be involved and take greater leadership of the church. Fr. Ken left in July 2003 to become Pastor of Red Oak and Imogene..


Fr. Dan Kirby and Fr. Ray McHenry arrive

Fr. Kirby
Fr. Kirby

Fr. Kirby and Fr. McHenry were assigned to over see three parishes in July 2003, Holy Family, Queen of Apostles, and Our Lady of Carter Lake. This is a corroborative between all three parishes. One Parish Council made up of members from all three parishes will provide guidance and direction.


Fr. McHenry leaves

Fr. McHenry
Fr. McHenry

Fr, McHenry left the three parishes in July 2004. He went on a six month sabbatical before being reassigned to another parish.


Fr. Wilwerding arrives

Fr. Wilwerding
Fr. Wilwerding

Fr. Glen Wilwerding was assigned to the three parishes as the associate pastor. He is newly ordained. He grew up in Shelby County near Westphalia, and went to school in Harlan.


Jean Plourde joined our parish from Omaha as a Deacon. He opened Gabriels Corner on 16th and 2nd Avenue to support Birth Right.

Mr. Plourde
Mr. Plourde

Fr. Glen Wilwerding leaves in July 2006.

Fr. Glen Wilwerding was transferred in July 2006, to study Spanish for one year in Guadalajara, Mexico.


Fr. Chris Reising arrives.

Fr Reising
Fr Reising

Fr. Chris Reising begins as associate with the Tri-PArish community in July 2006. Fr. Reising was ordained in 2005. He is from St Theresa Parish in Des Moines.

2007 Fr. Chris Reising leaves the Tri-Parish to go to Guadalajara, Mexico. to learn spanish to help in the future with spanish speaking parishes.


Father Lazarus Kirigia Arrives July, 2007.

Fr Kirigia
Fr Kirigia

Father Lazarus Kirigia was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Des Moines on June 8, 2007. He begins as associate with the Tri-Parish.

Sister Lorraine Schmitz Retires

In June 2009 Sister Lorraine Schmitz retired from active ministry. She moved to Omaha retirement facilities run by her order the School Sister's of St. Francis.

Father Lazarus Kirigia Leaves for Des Moines Parish July, 2009.


Fr. George Komo arrives July 2009.

Fr. George Komo was Ordained in Diocese of Des Moines June 5, 2009. He was born in Kenya and has 3 brothers and 1 sister. He attended Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, IL.

Merger
At the direction of Bishop Richard Pates, Holy Family Church, Our Lady of Carter Lake Church, and Queen of Apostles Church merged to form a new parish Corpus Christi Catholic Church. All Church properties, including the Churches, remain. Masses and events are held at each Church site. Committees, councils, financial matters have all been merged into one. Fr. Dan Kirby is pastor.

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