Fayette, IA - St. Francis Assisi Catholic Church

Fayette, IA

St. Francis of Assisi Parish began as a mission of Clermont on the 1870's. At that time pioneer Fayette County Catholics were visited by Father Eugene Sullivan, pastor of Clermont from 1876 to 1879. The Holy Name congregation at West Union was also in his charge. During those years the parish cemetery was established two miles northwest of Fayette when Mr. Boughy donated the site in 1876.

In 1879 a pastor was appointed to the West Union parish. About this time the first church was built in Fayette, and the mission continued in the care of West Union pastors until 1946, when Fayette and Hawkeye received their own pastor.

Father William P. Mullen was the first resident pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish from 1946 to 1954. From that time until 1992, the Fayette pastors also served St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hawkeye. Ralph Sinnott and Julius Wegner were appointed lay directors of the parish corporation and served for many years.

Father John Roskopf came to the parish in 1954. The third pastor came in 1957, Father Lowell J. Shekelton. The 1961 census of the parish showed 390 members, prompting the parish to buy a site for a new church and rectory on highway 150. They were completed in 1967. The following year, Father Dale Rausch, a member of the parish was ordained a priest.

Father Eugene C. Kutsch followed as pastor and served the two parishes for two years. Father Richard Kuhn followed in 1971. He invited Father Maurice J. Tracy to reside in the rectory and assist the parish.

After Father William E. Franklin came to the parish in 1976 the previously planned bell tower was erected. The parish council was organized in 1977. In 1979 the parish celebrated its centennial and published a pictorial history and directory for the occasion. Father Franklin left St. Francis in 1980 when Father Norman White became the eighth pastor. Father Franklin was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop in April, 1987 and in 1994 became Bishop of the Davenport Diocese.

Father Philip Recker came to the Fayette and Hawkeye parishes in November, 1984. In July, 1990 Father John Paisley succeeded as pastor. In 1992 Father Thomas Schwinn of West Union became pastor as Holy Name and St. Frances of Assisi were once again linked. In 1995 Father Dale Rausch, former member of St. Francis, returned to the area to become pastor of the two sister parishes in Fayette and West Union.

In 2003 as part of the diocesan realignment of parishes, the formation of the St. Joseph the Worker cluster began. On July 9, 2003 Father Rausch was appointed pastor of St. Peter's and Holy Name parishes, and Father John Purtell became pastor of Immaculate Conception, St. Francis Xavier and St. Francis of Assisi parishes during this interim period. Father Purtell retired in July 2008, and Father James Brokman became pastor of St. Francis of Assisi and Immaculate Conception parishes.

In 2010 the process was completed to cluster the parishes of St. Francis of Assisi, Fayette; Immaculate Conception, Sumner; Holy Name, West Union; and St. Peter's, Clermont. The parishes began operating as St. Joseph the Worker Cluster under Fr. James Brokman as the paster and Fr. Dale Rausch as the Sacramental Priest.

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Fayette County, IA

Fayette County, IA

Visit our county page and you will find information about our town and county's points of interest, festivals/events and faith community. You also will find stories about the contributions made by farmers/ranchers located throughout our county and of course you will learn about the community organizations that have built and continue to build strong communities (chambers, community groups, and departments, etc) and much more when you visit the Fayette County, IA page.