On April 9, 1837, the first church in St. John was blessed by Father Bartels of Stallowstown (Minster) as St. John the Baptist (Saan Jaan de Dopfer).
Earlier, in 1833, three German settlers and families, namely, Leistenschneider, Stelzer and Thomas set in Marion Township, Mercer County and named their community St. John. Each of the three men was called John.
On June 24, 1836, Father Henry Damian Junker, the resident pastor at Minster, came to St. John and offered mass at the home of John Leistenschneider (or Gast). This was the first mass in St. John Parish and the occasion for the Sesquicentennial celebration in 1986.
There were 45 people at this mass as recorded by Elizabeth Boeke, who also sketched the first church. She and her husband had arrived in St. John in 1835. In the fall of 1836 the parishioners started to build their own church, which was completed in the early spring of 1837.
As early as 1847 it became apparent that a larger church was needed. Actual construction did not start until 1849 and was completed by the fall of 1850.
Dedication took place on October 13, 1850, with Most Reverend John Baptist Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati presiding. Father Andrew Kunkler was pastor of St. John during the construction of the church.
Master Builder Johann Anton Goehr of Minster was the builder and architect of the church. It was 40 feet wide, 60 feet long and stood east and west about where our present church stands with the main door to the west. The total cost was $4,015 and was finished without borrowing any money.
In 1857 an addition was added to the east end making it a T shaped building. Cletus Heitbrink depicting how the church looked at that time made a drawing.
On August 15, 1887, the congregation voted to build a new and larger church. On May 5, 1889, Rt. Reverend Joseph Dwenger, Bishop of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and native son of St. John blessed the cornerstone. Anthony DeCurtins of Carthagena, Ohio (builder of many fine local churches) was the contractor.
Archbishop Elder of Cincinnati dedicated the new church on November 11,1891.
The present church is of the Roman style of architecture and built of brick with sandstone trim. It is almost 140 feet long and 60 feet across the transept. According to the figures of the Building Committee, the church cost $40,135.
St. John’s pastors lived at the Maria Stein Convent until 1906. In April of that year work was begun on the present rectory and Father Otto Missler moved into his new residence on September 14, 1906.
1829 - Miami & Erie Canal opened from Cincinnati to Dayton
1832 - Stallowstown founded (Minster)
1833 - St. John founded and named by first three settlers
1836 - June 24 – First Mass at St. John
1837 - April 1 – Father Bartels blesses first log church
1840 - First visit by Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati
1845 - Miami-Erie Canal opened from Cincinnati to Toledo
1845 - Precious Blood Community established at Maria Stein under Father Francis Brunner
1845 - November 2 – Precious Blood Fathers assume care of the parish
1847 - Precious Blood Sisters start teaching in St. John
1849 - July – Cholera strikes St. John Parish
1850 - October 13 – New brick church dedicated by Bishop Purcell
1859 - Joseph Dwenger, first native son of parish ordained by Archbishop Purcell on September 4.
1861 - Father Bernard Austerman, C.PP.S. begins 19 year pastorate
1875 - Relics arrive at Convent and St. John Parish defrays the expense of furnishing the first Shrine.
1880 - Parish divided over school issue and church temporarily closed
1881 - Toledo, Delphos and Burlington railroad extended through Maria Stein Station
1891 - November 11 – third and present church dedicated
1897 - Knights of St. John, St. Rochus Commandery 313, formed in parish
1898 - Marion Telephone Co. organized by John Kramer
1898 - First “New Idea Spreader” built and sold in Maria Stein by former teacher, Joseph Oppenheim
1898 - Father Otto Missler becomes pastor for 34 years
1906 - St. John’s rectory completed
1922 - Community Club Hall built in Maria Stein Station
1922 - Frank Moorman hired as teacher to establish two-year High School
1930 - September 1 – Dedication of St. John’s School Building
1937 - St. John Parish celebrates 100th Anniversary of the completion of the first church
1946 - Maria Stein American Legion Post 571 organized
1955 - St. John Schools become part of Marion Local School District
1963 - Maria Stein Retreat House established
1966 - First Parish Council chosen
1968 - New Knights of St. John hall dedicated
1970 - First Lay Communion Ministers appointed
1985 - “For the Harvest” program inaugurated to deal with shortage of priests
1986 - June 22 – 150th Anniversary of first Mass at St. John
1995 - St. John’s Parish purchases property West of church for expanded parking lot
Stained Glass Windows
The members of the Marion Catholic Community, given life through the Holy Spirit in Baptism, are called together as a community of faith to praise and worship God our Creator and to proclaim in word and deed the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
As members of the Body of Christ we strive to serve all to provide an atmosphere of hospitality which enables all to respond fully to the life-long challenge "to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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