About Our Parish

A Brief History of St. Patrick Parish

1673 - Fr. Jacques Marquette, S.J. and Louis Joliet were the first white men to explore the territory that would becom Illinois

1816 - (August 24) The United States secures this area from the Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomi Indians as part of the Treaty of Portage des Sioux, Missouri.

1835 - Before this time, a friendly group of Pottawatomi Indians of the Ce-Na-Ge-Wine tribe established a  village in the Twelve Mile Grove.

A Legacy of Faith

1851 - The "Twelve Mile Gove" was a station where Mass was said by a priest from St. Patrick Church, Joliet. Fr. Entout was the first priest to say Mass in this area.

1853 - (October 26) Bishop Ven de Velde administered the Sacrament of Confirmation in a farm house.

1858 - Wilton Township was separated from the Township of Peotone.

1860 - All of the land in Florence and Wilton Townships was taken when the Civil War broke out.

1864 - The original and First, St. Patrick Church was built by Fr. Linergan. His lay committee was: John Nugent, Patrick Smith, John Hayden, and Andrew Quigley. The church was almost immediately destroyed by a tornado.

1867 - (November 6) The deed for the Church property was given by George Dancer, Guardian of Robert Waters, a minor, to Bishop James Duggan, Chicago.

1874 - 1879 - The "Twelve Mile Grove" becomes a mission of St. Joseph Church in Manteno with Fr. F. Kurtzen in charge.

1879 - (February 7) Fr. Thomas F. O'Gara, an assistant at St. Rose, Wilmington, became the first pastor of St. Patrick Parish. he held this position for 27 years. Fr. O'Gara started the baptismal records and the first name in the book was John McCormick. In appreciation the parishioners presented Fr. O'Gara with a team of horses that would take him from Wilmington to the Twelve Mile Grove to say Mass.

1881 - (October 28) 185 people were confirmed by Archbishop Patrick Feehan.

1883 - (July 27) Fr. Gerald A. Kinsella, native of the area was ordained in the priesthood. On July 13, 1887 he died and is buried in Wilmington

1897 - (December 25) Thomas Clinton was warming the church before Christmas Mass.  He built a fire that grew out of control and the entire Church was burned to the ground.

1898 - The third St. Patrick Church was built; it was another frame wooden building.

1905- (October) Fr. Joseph McNamee became the 2nd Pastor, but the first resident pastor.  With no rectory building, he stayed with the McCormack family. Fr. McNamee stayed with the McCormack family until the present rectory was built in 1906.

1914 - (March) Fr. Timothy J. Hurley was appointed 3rd Pastor of St. Patrick Parish

1917 - (June 9) Fr. William C. Burke was appointed 4th Pastor.

1929 - (February 2) The third Church building was destroyed by fire. The fourth Church was built; this time the church was constructed with bricks. On June 16, 1930 the present church was dedicated by Bishop Bernard J. Shield; 75 children were confirmed that day.

1932 - (September) - Fr. Thomas Hayes appointed as 5th Pastor.

1933 - (July) R. William Ward was appointed 6th Pastor.

1934 - (September) Fr. John B. McCauley appointed 7th pastor

1941 - Fr. John Nellis appointed 8th Pastor. During WWII the need for military chaplains  Fr. John Ireland Gallery of Manhattan into the U.S. Navy. Fr. Nellis then served both St. Patrick and St. Joseph (in Manhattan)

1944 - Fr. Michael Ducy OSB and a Benedictine Monk became temporary administrator to St. Patrick's.  Fr. Ducy worked to establish a mission in Peotone, (St. Paul The Apostle).

1948 - Benedictine Sisters from Sacred Heart Convent, Lisle, came down every weekend for five years. On Saturday mornings, they taught catechism to the Children at St. Patrick's and in the afternoon at St. Pauls. On Sunday they cared for the altars, church linens and vestments.

1949 - (March 24) The diocese of Joliet was officially created and Bishop Martin D. McNamara was the First Ordinary. July 10 of that same year, Fr. George J. Kuzma was appointed the 9th Pastor. Fr. Kuzma saw the final payment on the brick church on July 10. October 2nd St. Paul the Apostle Mission was opened in Peotone in a remodeled movie theater. The "Church School" located west of the church on the site of our present parking lot, was sold by the public school district and moved to the farm of John Clinton. The 1/2 acre of property, under the conditions of the will of the Kinsella Estate, was sold to the parish for $1 and is now the west parking lot.

1953 - Fr. Eugene Doherty became the 10th Pastor. Fr. Doherty is remembered for the work he did in replotting the parish cemetery in 1953.

1956 - Fr. Fabian Revell became the 11th pastor and credited with establishing the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) through the entire Joliet Diocese.

1960 - Fr. Revell was joined by Fr. James J. Kinzig who was named the 12fth Pastor in October after Fr. Revell's death. Fr. Kinzig continued the work of the CCD and the rectory became the first Diocesan Office of Religious Education. On May 29, 1961 St. Paul the Apostle was established an an independent parish. with Fr. John George becoming the first Pastor

1966 - Fr. Thomas J. Kilroy was appointed administrator. Fr. Kilroy worked as Associate Directory of Catholic Charities.

1968 - Fr. James Nunan served as 13th pastor for six months.

1969 - (January) Fr. James Frederick became the 14th pastor. Fr. Frederick was also the Diocesan Comptroller and Assistant Superintendent of School.  He refurbished and carpeted the church sanctuary.

1972 - (January) Fr. Paul Pusateri, Diocesan Vicar for Religious, became the 15th pastor. Within a year, Fr. Pusateri entered Mayo Clinic. The Parish was without a priest for five month and was administered by secretary, Mildred Kenistorn, with the help of visiting priest who offered Mass and the sacraments. Fr. Pusateri resigned as pastor on June 1, 1973, but continued his Chancery Office work.

1973 - (June 2) Fr. William F. Irwin was appointed 16th pastor. Fr. Irwin continued serving as a teacher of communications and journalism at Providence High School for one year. Fr. Irwin was Diocesan Director of Communications as well as Editor of the Diocesan Newspaper.

1987 - Fr. Raymond Grasso was appointed 17th pastor.

1988 - Fr. Sal Giunta became the 18th pastor.  Fr. Guinta also served as head of the Holy Childhood Association in the Diocese of Joliet with the office being located in the rectory.

2004 - Fr. Gerold Schubert, OFM became the 19th pastor.

2009 - Fr. James Lennon was appointed administrator when Fr. Schubert retired.

2009 -  (June) Fr. Daniel Hoehn became the 20th pastor. Fr. Hoehn grew up in Wilton Center. He is on the board of "Woman's Choice Services" and has a weekly program on Ava Maria Radio

2012 - Fr. Roger Kutzner became the 21st pastor of St. Patrick Parish and pastor of St. Paul the Apostle, Peotone.

2016 - Fr. Steve Bondi became the 22nd pastor of St. Patrick and pastor of St. Rose of Lima, Wilmington.

2017 - Fr. Sebastian Gargol was installed as 23rd pastor of both St. Patrick of Wilton Center and St. Rose of Lima, Wilmington.