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Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (Toledo, Ohio) - MS 845 mf

Introduction | Agency History | Order of Microfilming

 Introduction

The records of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1868 - 2001, were transferred for microfilming to the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403, with the cooperation of Father Paul Kwiatkowski of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Toledo, Ohio.

The collection consists of baptisms * , first communions, confirmations, convert register, marriages * , and deaths. Due to inconsistencies in pagination and transcription of data, researchers are encouraged to refer to all volumes within each series. (See order of microfilming for a detailed list of these records.) Some records are in Latin.

The register for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church collection was compiled by Nell-Garwood MacEachern in April, 2001.

* There is a seventy (70) year access restriction on baptism and marriage records. No restrictions apply to the remainder of this collection.

 Agency History

The period of the American Civil War saw the Catholic population of Toledo grow at about the same pace as the general population. The Irish immigrants in particular, who had come to build first the Miami and Erie Canal and then the railroads, swelled the ranks of St. Patrick's Church. In 1867, Father Edward Hannin petitioned Bishop Rappe to divide the territory and establish a new parish bounded by Swan Creek and the Maumee River. On a tract of land at the corner of Western Avenue and Sumner Street was built the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a plain brick church that, incidentally, was enclosed but never actually finished. In 1868, Bishop Rappe appointed the first pastor of the new church, Reverend John Quinn. In 1870, in order to accommodate an ever-growing congregation, a second and temporary church was built on five lots purchased on Jervis Street. The original church was torn down and the property sold. In 1870, Father Quinn built a small school, which opened with 200 students under the charge of lay teachers. In 1871 five lots for a permanent church were bought at the convergence of Broadway, Maumee, and Eastern Avenues. 1872 brought the construction of a pastoral residence on one of these lots.

In the face of Father Quinn's failing health, Father Patrick O'Brien was appointed the new pastor of Immaculate Conception. He worked for ten years to pay off the church's sizeable debt and to reorganize the growing school, to which end he engaged the Ursuline Sisters to teach the girls and younger boys.

When Father O'Brien was transferred to another parish, Father Francis Moran acted as interim pastor for a year. Father Timothy McCarthy succeeded him in 1890. In May 1892 Bishop Horstmann laid the cornerstone for a new church, but its completion was delayed for sometime due to lack of means. However, it was completed in 1896; in the Gothic style and built of brick, it was one of the largest churches in the Diocese of Cleveland. Father McCarthy passed away in 1900, worn out with the planning and building of the new church.

His successor was a Frenchman by the name of Charles C. Chevraux. The pastors heretofore had all been of Irish descent. Father Chevraux made significant improvements to the church, including installing electric lights, improving the organ, building new stations and constructing a new school building in 1915. During this time a new church, St. James Church, was formed from the territory of the Immaculate Conception parish.

With the death of Father Chevraux in 1916, the Reverend Edward O'Hare was appointed pastor of the parish of 650 households. In addition to reducing the accumulated church debt, Reverend O'Hare had to oversee the beginning phases of the rebuilding of the church after a disastrous fire in the spring of 1920. The new altars of fine Italian White marble were dedicated in 1923. Father O'Hare resigned in January 1925 to take up the directorship of the community of the Sisters of Mercy.

Reverend Arthur J. Sawkins began what was to become the longest pastorate in the history of the parish in 1925. Despite the Depression years, the church's debt was paid off over twenty years. Father Sawkins' pastorate also saw the change of the teaching Sisters in 1931 from the Ursuline Community to the Sisters of St. Francis, for whom a residence was provided on Eastern Avenue. After 45 years of service to his parishioners and to the larger Toledo community, Monsignor Sawkins died in 1970.

Father Richard Bechtel had been appointed administrator of the parish in 1967 due to the illness of Monsignor Sawkins, and he became the church's pastor in 1970. It was he who walked the parish through the changes of the Second Vatican Council and fostered a new ecumenical spirit. However, he requested a leave of absence from the priesthood in 1972.

From 1972 to 1979, Reverend Joseph O'Brien guided the parish through many changes. He worked to better involve lay persons in the various ministries of the Church and involved the parish as a whole in collaborative efforts with other central city catholic churches. Changing demographics brought a larger number of parishioners of Mexican descent but an overall decrease in the number of parish families. Similarly, the number of Sisters teaching in the school decreased after the change from the Franciscan Sisters to the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1979.

Under the leadership of Reverend Patrick Scharf from 1979 to 1985, the parish school was united with that of Ss. Peter and Paul Church to form the Queen of Peace School staffed by the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters.

After the transfer of Pastor Scharf per his own request, Father Gerard Ruffing undertook the guidance of the parish. He helped foster closer ties with the parish of Ss. Peter and Paul, with collaborative bi-lingual celebrations of national holidays becoming the norm. A financial bequest allowed him to set in motion numerous parish maintenance projects, but he left the parish in 1987.

The following years brought a series of "temporary" administrators and fostered the creation of an alternative style of parochial leadership among four parishes which led to the Pastoral Administrator-Sacramental Minister model. In 1989 the Reverend Mr. David Vrooman was appointed the Pastoral Administrator; he was the first married pastoral leader to take up residence with his family in the rectory. At this time, there was a succession of temporary Sacramental Ministers, and by 1990 eight parishes were operating under some form similar to this model.

In July of 1994, Reverend Paul Kwiatkowski became the pastor of two parishes, that of Immaculate Conception as well as St. James on Colburn Avenue.

Mossing, Lawrence A. S.T.D. History of the Diocese of Toledo. Northern Ohio - West Central Section Toledo and Lucas County.

 Order of Microfilming

Roll 1

  1. Record Book, 1879 - 1925
  2. Record Book, 1936 - 1955
  3. Record Book, 1956 - 1973
  4. Baptisms, 1868 - 1894
  5. Baptisms, 1894 - 1908
  6. Baptisms, 1908 - 1927

Roll 2

  1. Convert Register, 1925 - 1952
  2. Convert Register, 1984 - 1988
  3. Marriages, 1868 - 1908
  4. Marriages, 1908 - 1926
  5. Deaths, 1869 - 1924

Roll 3 (RESTRICTIONS APPLY)

  1. Record Book, 1925 - 1939
  2. Record Book, 1933 - 1948
  3. Record Book, 1949 - 1958
  4. Record Book, 1959 - 1976

Roll 4 (RESTRICTIONS APPLY)

  1. Record Book, 1974 - 1992
  2. Record Book, 1992 - 2001

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