When was it founded: 1949
Where is it located: 301 South I-Oka
Has it moved: Yes
First Pastor or Priest: Thomas O’Brien
History and interesting stories about the church:
In 1949, the foundations for Saint Raymond’s Catholic Church were set; a house at 222 South Hi-Lusi was acquired to serve as rectory and chapel, while Central School’s basement served as the temporary house of worship. With the first mass conducted and the first baptism celebrated, Saint Raymond’s was launched. Father Thomas O’Brien, assigned to the church, started a choir in 1950 and four years later, opened a school. The school’s increasing enrollment called for the employment of more nuns, and as a result, a new convent was opened. However, the social and political atmosphere of the 1960s persuaded few women to join, and in 1976, the last sister departed from the convent.
Under the direction of Father Coggins, who served Saint Raymond’s from 1963 to 1970, a memorial park was created behind the church in honor of Father O’Brien. In addition to the creation of the park, Father Coggins supervised the construction of a rectory, the expansion of the auditorium, and the renovations to the church according to the standards of Vatican II. In 1971, also in accordance to the Vatican standards, Father Buhrfeind established the Parish Council, which helped to coordinate the activities of the parish committees–finance, religious education, school board, etc. Following the leadership of Father Buhrfeind was Father Loftus who served Saint Raymond’s from 1979 to 1996. During his term, he was responsible for assembling a committee to study how environment affects worship services. The study found that most parishioners felt the church’s interior decorations distracted from worship. As a result of those findings, Saint Raymond’s interior was renovated, and the church rededicated in 1988 by Cardinal Bernardin. In 1996, the arrival of Father Bernard J. Pietrzak brought much community attention to Saint Raymond’s in part to his work with bi-theist couples and single Catholics.