Mercer County - 1836
Several Mercer County churches were established in 1836.Mercer County, since 1845, has been the home of the Society of the Precious Blood order, established by Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner C.PP.S. (1795-1859) a missionary priest from Switzerland. He was invited by Archbishop Purcell and worked primarily with the German speaking Catholics of Ohio. Since the Downtown Dayton Parishes are led by Society of the Precious Blood priests this history of four early churches in the “Land of the Cross Tipped Churches” may be of interest.
St. John - In 1833 three German settlers each with the first name of John settled in Mercer County and named their settlement St. John. The first Mass, attended by 45 people, was offered in June 1836 by Fr. Henry Damian Junker, the resident pastor at Minster, in the home of John Leistenschneider. In 1836, the parishioners began building the first church building. In November of 1845, the Society of the Precious Blood assumed care of the parish. During the ensuing years, the parish community rebuilt St. Johns multiple times, the last being in 1891. This is the church where our Fr. Matt Keller was ordained.
Miles = 245
Will I allow Christ to transform me? Will I radiate Christ so that others can know his goodness and love?
St. Henry Parish was established (1839) two years after the village of St. Henry was founded. It was named after Henry II, who reigned as Holy Roman Emperor during the 11th century. Fr. John VanDerBroek, C.PP.S was the first pastor. The first church building was a small frame structure (1840). In 1854 a brick structure was erected. By 1895 a new building was needed, much of the work on the Gothic structure was done by the parishioners and remains to this day. On the website for St. Henry is an audio church tour of the stained-glass windows and is an excellent description and reference for the Catholic symbolism in the windows.