St. Christopher Parish History

1928-2012

St. Christopher Parish began in May 1928 as a Mission of t. John de La Salle Parish in Niagara Falls.  During the first year, Masses were held in a tent while the church - designed for 182 people - was built.

On July 2, 1935, Bishop William Turner, recognizing the growth of the Mission, changed its status to a parish and appointed Fr. Bertram Trautman as the first pastor. In 1940, Fr. Trautman built the rectory.

On February 27, 1944, Monsignor William Solleder was appointed pastor of the rapidly expanding community. During his twenty year tenure, the church was expanded and the parish school built.

When Msgr. Solleder retired in 1964, Msgr. James McCarthy became the administrator until Monsignor Robert C. Schwab assumed the role of pastor in 1967. It was during this time that many of the changes resulting from Vatican II were implemented into parish life and worship.

In December 1985, Monsignor Francis G. Weldgen was appointed pastor and the parish began a new period of growth. The Parish Council was recreated in November 1986 spurring development of numerous organizations and committees. In the Spring of 1988, a committee was organized to consider renovation and expansion of the church.

Then, on  Monday September 26, 1988, the church was consumed by a fire. The next evening, the Parish Council, Parish Management Committee and the Renovation Committee met in a joint session to chart a course of action. The result was a four year process which led to construction of the new church and conversion of the old church into a parish center and parish offices. This was all accomplished without incurring debt.

Statue of St. Christopher that survived the fireWhile this change in the physical campus was extraordinary, it becomes secondary when compared to the change in the people of St. Christopher. By their active involvement in the process, the parishioners came to understand that the word "Church" really means "People of God" not the building. We learned that when we built a new "church", we accomplished much more than the construction of a worship space, we built a new community.

In July 2006, Fr. Fran retired and Fr. Charles E. Slisz was appointed pastor. He provided the leadership that guided us through a successful merger with St. Edmund Parish in September 2007.

In April 2015, Fr. Chuck retired. In June 2015, Father Steve Jekielek became Pastor of St. Christopher Parish & School.