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Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in Cherry, IL

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History

The first mass in Cherry was celebrated in 1904 as the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul railroad was building the town around it.  

The new coal mine was bringing in an influx of Catholics, not only the experienced Irish miners already in this country but also immigrants from Italy, Poland, France, Belgium, and other European countries.  

Rev. John W. Cummings of Arlington celebrated the mass in what was known as “Ryan’s Hall” which was actually Ryan’s Dry Good store which was located at the southeast corner of present Main Street. and Park Avenue. 

Later than year Father Ambrose O.S.B, of Ladd took charge and offered Mass in the same hall.   

A close look at the picture of Ryan's Hall indicated that this was also Cherry’s first post office. 

The famous Knights of Pythias group that had so many men killed in the Cherry Mine Disaster also met upstairs in this building.


In 1905, Father Vitus O.S.B. supervised the building of a white frame church on the far west edge of town, in the field just west of Fourth Street between Cherry and Maple Avenues.   Notice the row of "mine company houses" in the foggy right background.    Very few know that these houses existed there.  Italians refered to this row of drafty, thin-walled homes as "Pole de Norte" or "North Pole."

A severe windstorm twisted the church shortly after its completion.  (Notice in the background the line of “company houses” that ran west of the mine, often refered to as “Pole de Nort” or “North Pole” by the Italian families.)

Rev. Wencel Scholar, O.S.B was the pastor at the time of Cherry Mine Disaster in 1909.  The picture below of Father Scholar shows him at the burial of a mine disaster victim in March, 1910. 

 

 

Rev. Wencel Scholar, O.S.B was the pastor at the time of Cherry Mine Disaster in 1909.  The picture below of Father Scholar shows him at the burial of a mine disaster victim in March, 1910.   Notice the original catholic church there in the foggy background to the left.


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During the pastorate of Rev. Andrew Miller OSB, this church was destroyed by fire on August 15, 1919.   Plans were made immediately to erect a new brick church on Main Street and in the meantime Mass was offered in the “Ferme and Raben  building.”  

The new brick church was dedicated by Bishop E.E. Dunne in September, 1923.    Mary Marchetti, the daughter of Ambrose and Emma Marchetti was the first child baptized there in early September.

Rev. Charles Rodemeyer OSB was in charge of the parish during an illness to Father Miller, followed by Rev Jerome Walsh OSB and then Rev. Aloysius Sharkey OSB.   Although Holy Trinity had been a mission to St. Benedict’s of Ladd until this point, Rev. Fred Winchell OSB lead Holy Trinity into independent status in 1935.  During that time, two old store fronts on Main Street were combined to form the parish’s first church hall.   A organ was also installed in the church for the first time.

Father Casimir Miller, OSB was the first resident pastor, followed by Father Joseph Brons, OSB, Father Michael Callahan, OSB, and, in May 1946, Father Anthony Wehrmann.   Father Anthony lead the effort to build the adjoining rectory, garage, and sacristy in 1956 at a cost of $26,000.   Father Anthony also lead the movement to rehabilitate and rename the Miners Memorial Cemetery to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cherry Mine Disaster in 1959.

Succeeding Father Anthony who died in November, 1963, was Rev. John Fitzgerald, C.S.B.  Father John lead the effort to expand and remodel the front of the church in 1965 seeing two new entrances, baptistery, confessional, and choir loft added.   Also, in 1968, Father John lead the effort to remodel the sanctuary area to bring the furnishings up to the requirements of the new liturgy.   

For a brief period in 1968 Father John was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Heyd, but Father John returned in December of that year.   Father John lead and organized the effort to replace the old church hall with the new and spacious Holy Trinity Parish Hall in October, 1971.   

Father John became chaplain of St. Mary’s Hospital in LaSalle in June, 1974, succeeded by Rev. Norbert Tibesar, O.S.B. who for the previous two years had been the principal and athletic director for Ottawa Marquette High School.

Father Norbert remained in Cherry until 1988.  

Father John Fitzgerald returned to Cherry and served from 1988 to 1994.   

Father Kevin Gorman came to Cherry after serving at St. Joseph's Parish In Peru.    Father Kevin remained until 2008 and was follwed by Father Paul Meismer who reamined until 2011 and followed then by the current priest Father Patrick Fixsen.