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The history of St. Andrew officially dates back to 1909 when it was designated as an unnamed station church, but it was October 30, 1912 when the first regularly scheduled Mass was celebrated in the DeBaene home with nineteen people present. On May 18, 1913, sixteen children received their First Holy Communion at the first “High Mass”. The Odd Fellows Hall was rented for the occasion for $5.00. In March of 1914, after the purchase of a lot at the corner of Walnut and Third Streets, a chapel was remodeled and placed under the patronage of St. Andrew.

Fr. John Needham, who was pastor of St. Mary, Royal Oak had been serving the spiritual needs of the Rochester community since 1909. In 1917 Fr. Charles Linskey was appointed first Pastor. Between 1920 and 1928 the following served as pastors: Fr. T. McLoughlin, Fr. Thomas Carroll, Fr. William Crowley. The construction of the new church began during the latter’s stay. He was succeeded by Fr. Paul Heenan.

Religious instruction for children was initially provided every Saturday by the IHM Sisters from St. Frederick School in Pontiac. Later, the Adrian Dominicans assumed the responsibility. A building suitable for use as a school was purchased but the depression years made the opening of a school impossible. During those years the financial problems of the parish were severe with the weekly income dropping to approximately $36.00. Monthly chicken dinners provided an additional $150 revenue. The sale of the school building was initiated at that time and completed a few years later.

By 1940 the yearly income had increased to $7,800 with a parish debt of $52,000. Fr. Thomas Beahan and Fr. Thomas Masterson were the Pastors of St. Andrew between 1940 and 1947 when Fr. Harry Paul assumed the leadership until 1955. In 1954 a six classroom elementary school was built on Inglewood Street, the first of the projected new parish facilities. The Adrian Dominican Sisters, with Sr. Mary Lambertine Theisen as principal, staffed the school. The sisters lived in the Fisher home on S. Rochester Road. The parish was growing rapidly when Fr. Edward Baumgartner was assigned as its pastor in 1955. Ten additional classrooms were added to the school in 1957 and in 1962 a convent was built for eight sisters. Despite new parishes being built in the surrounding areas, it was becoming clearly evident that a larger church was needed to replace the overcrowded red brick church on Walnut Street and construction was begun. The present rectory was built at the same time and was ready for occupation in 1968.

The church was completed in 1969 with dedication on December 20 and the first Eucharistic celebration at Midnight on Christmas Eve. A challenge of Vatican II for laity to be more actively involved in the decision making and activities of the parish became a reality at St. Andrew in October of 1969 when the first Parish Council and five Commissions – Worship, Service, Education, Fellowship and Finance/Administration were formed. In 1970 Fr. Baumgartner retired from the pastorate and was succeeded by Fr. Joseph Ryder. Due to escalating costs, St. Andrew School was forced to close in 1971. The liturgical renewal of Vatican II called for more involvement of the laity. In November, 1971 the first Lay Ministers of the Eucharist for weekend liturgies were installed and a few years later additional ministers began bringing the Eucharist to the hospitalized and housebound. The revised rite for the Sacrament of Penance was introduced in 1974 and the confessional space was renovated into the Reconciliation Room. In 1975 Fr. Dennis Bagley became pastor. In the late 70’s statuary that would enhance the interior of the new church was requested by the parishioners. Spearheaded by the Associate Pastor, Fr. Mahoney, a bronze sculpture depicting the Holy Family was dedicated and blessed in 1979. During this decade at the request of the city, thirteen acres of the St. Andrew’s property south of the church was sold to the City of Rochester.

Pastoral responsibilities, shared as early as 1957 with associate pastors, continued as such, and during the 70’s, deacons and women religious began sharing in the pastoral ministry of the parish. This, along with a lay religious education staff, continues to be the practice to the present. Fr. Eugene Strain assumed the pastorate in 1978. Between 1978 and 1982 the Activities Building was constructed; the Catechumenate (R.C.I.A.) was inaugurated for those interested in being received into the Church; tithing 10% (currently 15%) of the parish gross income to the needy was begun; and the parish community celebrated its 70th anniversary as a parish. As part of this celebration, a bell tower was erected on the front lawn of St. Andrew housing the bell from the Walnut Street church. In 1987 the Parish celebrated its 75th Anniversary. In conjunction with this the designing and construction of the Jubilee Chapel (attached to the west side of the main church structure) was begun. It was dedicated in December of 1988 and has been used for weekday celebrations of the Eucharist as well as for some funerals and weddings. In July of 1989 Fr. Strain became the founding pastor of St. Mary of the Hills Parish, which was cut off from St. Andrew Parish, and serves the area south of Avon Road. Fr. Timothy Babcock was appointed as pastor of St. Andrew Community at this time.

St. Andrew Parish membership had increased over the years to over 3800 families; projections indicated that approximately 600 Catholic families lived in the area of the new parish. Increasing program demands at St. Andrew, a very active parish, created need for additional parish staff. A Pastoral Minister was added to the staff in August of 1990. At the same time, the Parish purchased the DeBaene home, located in the very northwest corner of the present parish site. The parish offices were moved to this building in December of 1993. In the spring of 1994, renovation of the Eucharistic Reservation Chapel was completed. The Blessed Mother Shrine was dedicated on August 15, 1998.

Virtually the entire cost of the Shrine, and its setting, were provided by special donations of members of St. Andrew Parish. This is a wonderful tribute to our affection and esteem for our Blessed Mother. It will also be a wonderful gift to parishioners, and passers by, for years to come who seek and find consolation and inspiration here. “May Peace Prevail on Earth” reads in 13 different languages on the Peace Pole at the center of the St Andrew Parish Millennium Garden. The faith community of St Andrew seriously believes that the request of St Francis’s prayer: “Lord, make me a channel of your peace and to love with all my soul” is the goal to welcome in a new millennium. Since the Peace Pole dedication on October 24, 1998, St Andrew parishioners have been asked to keep the way of peace as part of their daily life. After all, peace begins at home with you and me.

A new Baptismal Font, with provision for both adult and infant immersion, was completed just in time for Easter of 1999. Almost exactly 30 years after the church was open, a project of complete interior renovation was carried out in the early months of 2000. This renovation included new lighting and windows at the very top of the church, newly painted ceiling and walls, upgraded organ and special section for choir use, and new pews throughout the Church. During these months, Mass was celebrated in our Activities Building and at neighboring churches.