To Learn More About Father Tom, check the past bulletins:
*July 28 Bulletin, Celebrating the 12th anniversary of Father Tom's Ordination, with details of his priestly journey.
*July 21 Bulletin, Information about Father Tom's installation as pastor of St. Patrick and Most Holy Redeemer/St. Canice. Archbishop will preside at Installation Masses at St. Patrick and Most Holy Redeemer on July 26.
*July 7, 2019 Bulletin, Information about Father Tom's early life.
Pumper Parish Pastoral Council Chair Mark Lessman Finance Committee Chair Harry Redman Prayer Line (To place a request) Ruth Spaetgens
Cemetery Association John McDonough Parish Nurse TBA
PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL, 2020
Elected Members: Contact Office for Phone Numbers Terms
Expire June 30, 2021: Denise
Lessman (chair) Terms
Expire June 30, 2022: Tim Hunt, Don Jensen Terms
Expire June 30, 2023: Matt
Ness, Mike Pauker Appointed Representative Members: Contact Office for Phone Numbers CCW
Representative: Denise Haaland Faith
Formation Representative: Heather Richardson Finance
Council Representative: Harry
& Liturgy Representative: Sharon
Smisek Trustees: Elgin
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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
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.
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
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
On July 29, 2002 lightning struck for the second time
in our history, 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.
Following Father Pinkosh’s
administration, St. Patrick shared priests with the Faribault churches.
Father Tim Dornfeld served 1992-1993 followed by Father Dave Kohner in
1994-1995. St. Patrick then clustered with Most Holy Redeemer in
Montgomery, with Father George Grafsky as pastor, until 2003. 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 and St. Canice in Kilkenny, with Father Kevin
Finnegan serving as the cluster pastor. In 2005, the St. Patrick/Divine
Mercy cluster continued under Father Finnegan, but St. Canice was
replaced by St. Michael’s in Kenyon. 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. Father
Marvin Klaers, retired priest, came to live in our parish house in
January 2012, helping out by celebrating Mass, being present at Faith
Formation classes, and visiting the sick, homebound and parish families.
In August 2014, Father Victor Valencia began as pastor of the
St. Patrick/Most Holy Redeemer/St. Canice cluster. Father Victor is
from the Phillipines, a country that is nearly 90% Catholic. He grew up
in a vibrant church community life, and says that "having been part of a
struggled to liberate ourselves from the Marcos dictatorship, faith in a
that redeems his people has been a great source of strength and hope for
us". Father Victor was with us for five years, until July 1, 2019 when
he was appointed pastor of the Church of Saint Jerome in Maplewood.
Tom Niehaus became our pastor in July 2019 from the Diocese of Winona.
He is one of six children, of whom three are priests and one is a
Sister. He is associated with Companions of Christ and lives with two
other Companions of Christ priests in Le Center.