A Short History of St. Dominic Parish
Delhi Township (or West Price Hill as it was called in the 1930s) was not the same busy area we know today. It was a rural area of farmers, truck gardeners and florists with family ties to European countries, great faith in God and a commitment to the Catholic Church. Worshipping was more than a Sunday activity. It was the basis of one's social connections and family life. St. Vincent de Paul Parish founded in 1861 was designated for Irish immigrants and Our Lady of Perpetual Help founded in 1878 was for the German immigrants and families. The eastern portion of the area had no parish and school of its own. The walk was 2.5 miles to Our Lady of Perpetual Help for school children. The western portion was served by Our Lady of Victory Parish known as St. Stephen in 1844, then Maria Zum Siege and finally the same name as today, but it was quite a distance to travel for those in the eastern sections of the area.
In 1930 Archbishop McNicholas accepted a plot of land donated by the Robben family on Tanner Rd. (now Pedretti) to build a new parish. Rev. J.A. Grimmelsman, chaplain at Mount St. Joseph, was assigned the task of building the parish. On October 29, 1933 the first mass of the new St. Dominic Parish community was said at the Mutual Aid Hall on Greenwell Rd. Rent amounted to $25.00 per month and the first collection was $20.00. On July 22, 1934, the cornerstone for the first building was laid. It was a one-story brick building with four classrooms and a temporary chapel in the basement. September 10th of that year the school opened with 93 students and three Sisters of Charity as the faculty.
With the growth of the parish, a new chapel was built in 1938 on the south side of the school building. In 1940, Fr. Basil Haneberg became the first associate in the parish. The class of 1942 was the first to have completed all eight grades at St. Dominic School. Four more classrooms were added to the existing physical plant and 180 students were enrolled that school year.
The face of Delhi began to change. The family farms were being divided and new homes constructed. A larger population meant more people worshipping at St. Dominic so in 1948 construction began on a new undercroft church. Christmas Day 1949 saw the first mass in the new facility. With World War II and the Korean War over, Delhi began to grow again. From 1950 to 1960 the population increased from 6,347 to 14,579 people. In June 1955 construction began on the final church building. The steeple was raised in February 1956 and Archbishop Karl J. Altar dedicated the new church on June 2, 1957.
The school building also needed to grow. In Fall 1959 the new addition was ready for use and the enrollment approached 1000. In 1962 a convent was added for the Sisters of Charity who served the parish as teachers. Fr. Grimmelsman retired in 1969 as pastor. In July of that year Fr. Charles Blum stepped in for 6 months until Fr. Edwin J. Bertke was assigned as the new pastor.
In the Summer of 1972 Mt. Alverno Boys Home and its expansive property was sold to a developer. More homes were to be built in the new subdivision. St. Dominic parish was able to purchase the Skinner organ from the brothers for $1500. The organ was blessed on the 39th anniversary of the parish.
Fr. Grimmelsman died in January 1981. The parish mourned the loss of the man who was driving force behind the development of the parish.
During Fr. Bertke’s time as pastor of our parish, the Church experienced Vatican II and continued growth in our parish population.
Under the guidance of pastors Father Jim Collins, Bishop John Kaising and Father Jim Walsh, we have reaffirmed our mission to address the spiritual needs of our members.
In 1997, Fr. Jim (Collins) organized discussion groups to assess the future needs of St. Dominic.
In 1999, Bishop Kaising and the newly formed Pastoral Council began "Planning Our Future Ministry Together." This process began with formal listening sessions through focus groups involving input from over 350 parishioners. The initial effort was further enhanced through focus groups that were held in parishioners' homes. In May, 2000, the parish, through our Pastoral Council, received the results of our parishioners' input. The key focus areas and defined goals included:
Ministerial Needs and Pastoral Staff - To meet the ministerial needs of our Parish in the areas of Adult Education and Formation; Spirituality; Senior Ministry; Teen and Young Adult Ministry and Outreach; by recruiting and hiring people for a Pastoral Associate, Youth Minister and/or Director of Religious Education, as program development and funds allow.
- Facilities - To provide sufficient space to carry out our Parish's existing and developing programs and ministries, by assessing the current and future needs for the space within the parish complex, develop a master facility plan and implement the master plan. Specifically the findings of the focus group and listening sessions identified the following critical space needs for the parish. In priority order they are:
1. A multi-purpose facility to serve the meeting and office space needs of the parish.
2. A gathering space for parishioners to utilize before and after masses.
3. A practice gymnasium to meet the demand of the expanded youth athletic program, which has and continues to rent space from external organizations.
Fr. Walsh implemented these ministerial recommendations by adding or expanding what have now become over 100 ministries. Ministries that we added include: New Parishioner Welcoming; Adult Faith Formation, including Christ Renews His Parish and Parish Wide Sacramental Preparation and the youth ministry program. Ministries that were expanded include: Bereavement; Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA); Baptismal Sacramental Preparation for Parents.
As ministries and staff were enhanced, Fr. Walsh and Parish Leaders realized that an evaluation of the space within the parish was necessary. A steering committee was formed at Fr. Jim's request by parishioner Harry Groen to study the options and to develop a "master plan" to address the space needs of our parish organizations. The established goal was to provide a dedicated location to for members of our Parish Community to meet, learn, worship and socialize, as well as provide additional athletic facilities.
In September of 2002, a feasibility study was conducted by a local consulting firm to assess the acceptability of the "master plan" and to gauge the financial support within the St. Dominic Parish Community. Fr. Jim and Harry presented the plan to Parish organizations in November of 2002. The financial feasibility study indicated a need for change to the initial priority of the "master plan." Upon review, it was discovered that the cost of the Gathering Space, due to the need to build walls, roofs and other structures to connect the Church and the Parish Center that would later be torn down to construct the Gathering Space, would increase the cost by $150,000 or more, if the Gathering Space were not built in conjunction with the Parish Center.
Therefore, recommendations from the "Building to Serve" Steering Committee and Finance Council were made to add the Gathering Space to Phase I of the project. Fr. Jim, although hesitant, due to previous assertions that the Parish would remain debt free, decided that it was in the best interest of the Parish's future to include it in Phase I.A town hall meeting was held in March of 2003 with all parishioners invited to attend. Building plans were presented and projected costs were discussed. Parishioners were then contacted through a mailing campaign or by personal phone calls requesting their spiritual and financial support. From this first fund raising effort, the direction and priorities identified in previous endeavors has remained consistent; Phase I - A Parish Center and A Gathering Space and Phase II - A Practice Gymnasium. With over $1.2 million pledged, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 27, 2004 for the construction of the meeting and gathering spaces. On August 30, 2005, pledges totaled over $1,420,000. Donations exceeding $1,200,000 have been received from more than 915 Parish Families and Friends.
Anticipation, growth, changes, and new developments all described the exciting happenings here at St. Dominic Parish at that time. After hours of parish input, the rectory building being razed and a big hole dug, what once seemed like an enormous undertaking was completed: the addition of a Parish Center - one which will provide a new opportunity of spiritual renewal for our parishioners, as well as enhancement our Delhi Township Community. Our Parish continued to see the efforts of our "Building to Serve" project (a journey that began seven years ago) realized, as construction of the Parish Center and Gathering Space was completed in 2005. Much time, planning, listening, and talent have been applied to aid our Parish in achieving its goal to provide facilities that serve the many ministries of our growing faith community. We have many new and exciting changes in our future with endless possibilities ahead.
Ann Andriacco 1/23/2006 from the parish archives in Fr. Grimmelsman’s own handwriting or current information. Revised 12/3/2013