The Parish of St. Patrick is the oldest Irish Catholic parish in Rice County and the second oldest Irish Catholic parish in the State of Minnesota. General James Shields founded the settlement of Shieldsville in the 1850’s and worked very hard to get Irish immigrants to move into the Shieldsville area. Land could be purchased for $2 per acre. In 1856 Bishop Cretin sent word to build a church on Dodd Road. Each man in the parish hauled his allotted amount of logs to the saw mill on Lake Mazaska. Carpenters from St. Paul build the church for $800.
St. Patrick depended upon missionary priests until 1870 when Father Charles Robert was assigned as parish priest. Soon the church was too small for the ever-increasing congregation so he planned for a new stone church. The church, with a seating capacity of 620 people was completed in 1880 at a cost of $16,000. The walls were adorned with elaborate art work on the walls and ceiling. During this time the statues of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. Patrick were donated by parishioners along with the stained glass windows, which cost $100 each. The parsonage, built at the same time, cost $1,000. In April 1888 the church was struck by lightning and severely damaged. Damage was repaired and the congregation was able to celebrate Mass in the church again beginning Christmas Day 1888.
The church and parish hall were remodeled and redecorated in the 1960’s under the direction of Father John Molloy, who served the parish for 53 years. Father John Joyce worked with Father Molloy during this time and took over Pastoral duties in 1962 and served the parish for another 20 years.
A new parish house was built in 1982, during the 1981 – 1992 term of Father Joseph Pinkosh. The house was funded in part by new parish celebrations such as the Fall Festival (celebrated the 1st Sunday in October) and the Grand Party (celebrated in May). These and other now traditional events grew from work by newly formed parish organizations as the Parish Council, Council of Catholic Women and Men’s Club.
Following Father Pinkosh’s administration, St. Patrick’s shared priests with Faribault. Father Tim Dornfeld served 1992-1993 followed by Father Dave Kohner in 1994-1995. St. Patrick then clustered with Most Holy Redeemer in Montgomery until 2003, with Father George Grafsky as pastor. Father Barry Schneider, retired OFM priest moved into the parish house and served the parish alone as pastor for only 7 months until hospitalized with a stroke. In June 2004 St. Patrick clustered with Divine Mercy in Faribault, with Father Kevin Finnegan, and St. Canice in Kilkenny. St. Canice was replaced by St. Michael’s in Kenyon in 2005. These 3 parishes continued together from 2005 until 2012. On July 1, 2012 St. Patrick again clustered with Most Holy Redeemer in Montgomery and St. Canice, Kilkenny, welcoming Father George Kallumkalkudy as pastor. The cluster continues today, working together to serve the Church. Father Marvin Klaers, retired priest, came to live in our parish house January 2012. He continues to be a tremendous help to Father George by celebrating Mass, being present at Faith Formation classes, visiting the sick, homebound and parish families.
On July 29, 2002 lightning struck again totally destroying the church. Planning and rebuilding continued for two years and our new facility was dedicated on August 1, 2004 with over 900 people in attendance. Our new facility includes the new church which holds 450, social hall which holds up to 400, six classrooms and two offices. St. Patrick still holds the Fall Festival, Grand Party and has added to our annual events: a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, Ladies Choir Summer Concert and Holiday Open House.
About our Pastor
Father George Kallumkalkudy describes his background in this reprinting of his July 1, 2012 Sunday Bulletin column, A Note From The Pastor:
Permit me to introduce myself to you. I am Fr. George Kallumkalkudy CMI. Archbishop Nienstedt appointed me Pastor of
the Most Holy Redeemer church in Montgomery and St. Canice church in Kilkenny,
effective on Jan. 1, 2012 and St. Patrick’s in Shieldsville effective on July
1, 2012. My home country is India and I
have been in the United States since 1998.
I belong to an oriental Rite and Church called Syro-Malabar church and
also a religious order known as Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) which has
its origin, base and growth in Kerala, India.
The religious order of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate to which I
belong is a missionary congregation started in 1831 by Blessed Kuriakose Elias
Chavara, a priest, a great reformer of Indian church. Hinduism is the major religion in India and
the Christians are only 2.5% of the total population. Our congregation has
about 1,300 priests and 400 seminarians at different stages of training and
formation. The congregation has its
minor and major seminaries in India.
The Syro-Malabar church is also known as the Church of St. Thomas
Christians because it was founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of
Jesus Christ. St. Thomas landed in
Kerala, India in 52 A.D. After preaching and establishing Christian communities
in different parts of India, he suffered martyrdom in 72 A.D. St Thomas Christians share the liturgical,
spiritual and ecclesiastical traditions with the East Syrian church and are
grouped under Chaldean Rite. At the same
time, the St. Thomas Christians-keep their distinctive character, especially in
church administration and socio-cultural and ascetic spiritual life.
Now you may ask me how I ended up in the United States and joined
the Roman Rite or Latin Rite. First of
all I had to obtain from the Vatican permission to celebrate liturgies in the
Roman Rite. It is called “bi-ritual
faculty.” By that I am allowed to
celebrate Mass in both rites by keeping my identity as an oriental. Secondly, I came to the United States by the
request of a bishop from the state of Louisiana and from there to Minnesota at
the request of Archbishop Harry Flynn in 2001.
In Minnesota, I served at All Saints Church in Lakeville, St. John the
Evangelist in Little Canada and St. Austin in North Minneapolis in the past 10
years. And now I am also asked to serve
at St. Patrick’s Church in Shieldsville.
I am so happy to come to your community to serve you, work with you,
worship with you and to share your love.