Holy rosary

After 142 years, the Holy Rosary begins a new chapter

Father Jerry Stookey greets people after mass on June 28 at the Holy Rosary in Minneapolis. He stood in front of the church after all weekend Masses to give parishioners a chance to say goodbye. DAVE HRBACEK | THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

The Dominican order says goodbye to the parish, but will continue its local presence

The Holy Rosary in Minneapolis marked many milestones throughout its 142 year history. A major event occurred on June 30 with the departure of its last Dominican pastor. The Dominicans have served the Phillips Ward Parish since its founding.

The parishioners learned in February that the Dominican friars of the Central Province had decided to end their ministry in the parish. The last Dominican to lead the parish was Father Jerry Stookey, who had been pastor of the Holy Rosary since July 2018.

Father Joseph Williams, pastor of St. Stephen in Minneapolis and archdiocesan vicar for Latin American ministry, has been appointed parish administrator for the parish.

Deacon Ramon Garcia Degollado as director of parish life and pastoral care, and Father of Pro Ecclesia Sancta Yamato Icochea, ordained on May 30 and sacramental minister, join Father Williams. Father Williams said Deacon Garcia will oversee pastoral care and Father Icochea will celebrate Masses and hear confessions.

Despite the departure of the Dominicans from the Holy Rosary and significant staff limitations in the Central Dominican Province, its members continue to live in their priory near St. Albert the Great in Minneapolis and fulfill other roles in the Archdiocese. of St. Paul and Minneapolis. . Young Dominicans have expressed a particular interest in ministry and teaching on campuses, said Father Joseph Marchionda, prior provincial of the Dominican friar’s central province in Chicago.

Provisional plans are underway for a “closing mass” on August 30 to celebrate the 142 years of Dominican service to the Holy Rosary.

Minneapolis School and Holy Rosary Church are pictured circa 1905 on the west side of 18th Avenue S. near 24th Street. WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF MINNESOTA

Looking back

Founded in 1878 near the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Hiawatha Avenue, Holy Rosary was the sixth Catholic parish established in present-day Minneapolis. Known for their commitment to social justice, the Dominicans led a parish that has long welcomed newly arrived immigrants – from the Irish at its founding to the Germans, Italians, Hmong, Vietnamese, Native Americans and Somalis. Today, Holy Rosary primarily serves immigrants from Mexico, Latin American countries, and other Spanish-speaking countries. A Saturday mass and one of the two Sunday masses are celebrated in Spanish.

Dominican priests and sisters have served the Holy Rosary over the years. Sister Margaret McGuirk, a Dominican from Sinsinawa who works with families in need at Incarnation in Minneapolis, worked at the Holy Rosary for seven years starting in 2006 – first as an administrator and then as executive director of Centro Guadalupano.

Sister McGuirk is also committed to preserving history, including that of the Holy Rosary, and she willingly shares her knowledge.

The parish’s first permanent school was opened in 1883, she said, and several years earlier the first pastor of Holy Rosary, Father Thomas Power, himself an Irish immigrant, had asked his sister, the Dominican Prioress of Sinsinawa Emily Power, to send Dominican Sisters to Holy Rosary. . In the summer of 1879, six sisters arrived to endow a temporary school. Holy Rosary School, which has grown over the years to serve K-12 grades, closed in 1993.

In the early days of the parish, Irish immigrants often worked on the railroad, and the church was adjacent to a large rail yard. The light stone exterior turned black with locomotive soot before being sandblasted in the 1970s.

“A spiritual house”

Hopkins resident Dave Horner said he has found a spiritual home in Holy Rosary for the past 20 years. Very early on, he liked to attend mass in church because it was halfway to meeting his mother who, before her death in 2017, lived in Saint-Paul. But he continues to travel a dozen kilometers to attend mass in the southern parish of Minneapolis. He said he found “good people” there, a beautiful building and wonderful friendships with pastors.

“I have fond memories of going to lunch on Sunday with a group of parishioners for good discussions and good fellowship,” he said. He recalled a former pastor, Dominican Father Charles Santoro, who joined the group every month or two.

Horner said he will be remembered for the kindness of Father Stookey. “He tells stories with a touch of levity,” he said. “He’s quick to laugh and quickly point out the flaws we all have. He is very humble and makes good stories out of it.

Yectli Huerta, a parishioner of the Holy Rosary for 13 years, said many Dominican priests have served in Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba and Mexico. Priests are often posted to various corners of the world, which gives them a broad perspective, he said.

Huerta, who grew up in Texas and is bilingual, said that in addition to practicing his faith in the parish, he appreciates the opportunity to speak Spanish.

“I will miss the (Dominicans) because of their charisma,” Huerta said. “They are good people. Father Jerry worked miracles, given the financial situation of the parish.

“But we’ll make it work,” Huerta added. “This is our church. It is a team effort. We will continue their legacy.

In 1935, the parish of St. Albert the Great was formed from the eastern part of the geographic boundaries of the Holy Rosary. Dominican Father Joe Gillespie, pastor of St. Albert since 2006, was baptized in St. Albert and has close family ties to the Holy Rosary.

“Both of my grandparents’ groups are from Ireland and they ended up in Holy Rosary,” he said. “My parents got married there. My brother and sister were baptized there.

He said he had always had a soft spot for the Holy Rosary.

“I have often thought that in a way (the Holy Rosary) was a building,” said Father Gillespie, “but it is a building that welcomes any wave of immigrants that come in. “

Today, the parish’s outreach center, Centro Guadalupano, serves a large cross-section of the immigrant and refugee community through adult English classes and an after-school program focused on academics and music. .

The Holy Rosary Youth Ministry Program offers spiritual and social activities for tweens to young adults. More than 200 children and young people are in sacramental preparation for Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.

Dominican Father James Spahn, who ministered to the Holy Rosary for nine years from 2009 and now serves a parish in Denver, noted that Dominicans are known to preach and speak out against injustice.

Reflecting on his time at the parish, he said he enjoyed working directly with parishioners, especially immigrants. “It was exactly what my soul needed,” he said.

Father Stookey, who served the Holy Rosary for two years, said he will miss the parish and its “great people”, but is excited about his new role in St. Louis as director of the St. Dominic Mission. Society, with particular emphasis on the province’s new relationship with the Dominican Mission in Puerto Rico.

Father Williams said he was listening to staff, church and financial council leaders, lay leaders and other groups to learn about their hopes and see how all can work together to make it a reality. Listening sessions with parishioners are scheduled after the September masses.

He noted that his grandfather was baptized with the Holy Rosary.

“So many people have been touched by Dominican ministry over the years,” said Father Williams, “and we are grateful for their work. “

They did so with a lot of heart, he said, especially in their outreach work with the immigrant community.

“We want to keep… that momentum,” he said. “We will see what the Lord has in store. “


Dominicans in the Twin Cities

Father James Marchionda, Prior Provincial of the Central Province of the Dominican Brothers in Chicago, said the ministries of order in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis remain important to Dominicans and to the province. The province recently selected five cities, including Minneapolis, as Dominican apostolic centers, where Dominicans will serve in a number of ministries. Currently:

  • Father Joe Gillespie is pastor at St. Albert the Great in Minneapolis.
  • Father Brian Zuelke is a part-time Associate Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Theology at St. Thomas University in St. Paul.
  • Father Timothy Combs serves St. Thomas Faculty as a part-time associate chaplain and assistant theological instructor. Brother Matthew Paul Grote, volunteers with the St. Thomas Campus ministry for the academic year as part of his training.
  • Father Michael Monshau is Deputy Director of Spiritual Formation at the Faculty of Saint Paul Seminary.
  • Father Cassian Sama is a hospital chaplain at the University of Minnesota (M Health Fairview) Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Key words: Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Closing Mass, Dominican Order, Dominicans, Father Joseph Williams, Holy Rosary, Holy Rosary in Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Saint Albert the Great in Minneapolis

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