Our Lady on the River
Church of St. Catherine
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HISTORY

Algonac, as a Mission of Marine City, is mentioned in the Catholic Directory of 1873. It was one of 29 missions established between 1870 and 1888. The French inhabitants of the settlement had been regularly visited much earlier by Father Aloysius Lambert and the deed of the church property is dated September 4, 1866.

Three years later, Father Lambert erected the first church on St. Clair Boulevard.  No resident pastor was appointed until 1894, when Father Francis Kemper as appointed.  The church burned to the ground on November 30, 1895. Father Benoit Gery succeeded Father Kemper and immediately began building a Church on the corner of Fruit Street.  Father Gery's pastorate continued until Easter, 1924.

Father Walter Hardy became pastor until 1934 and was followed by Father John Sullivan.  He remained in Algonac until 1942 when Father James J. O'Mara took over. Under Father O' Mara, the first parish school and convent was built in 1951, and the new church was erected on St. Clair Boulevard in 1959.  Father O' Mara retired in 1965.   Father Cyril Keating was pastor from 1965 until his retirement in 1978.  In 1970 the school was closed.

Father Raymond Donahue followed Father Keating from 1978 until 1994.  The school was re-opened in 1980 and the Activity Center was built in the early 1990's.

St. Catherine Church celebrated its 100th Anniversary June 12, 1994, with Cardinal Adam Maida as the main celebrant, assisted by Father Donahue and Father Daniel Bogus.  The Centennial Banner, designed by Father Donahue and created by Virginia Hoffman, hangs in the main vestibule of the church.

The Centennial Cross, built by Dan Ameel, James Smith and Don Schweihofer, has been erected on the lawn of the Activity Center.

Father Leo Broderick was pastor from 1994 until 1998 when Father Douglas Bignall arrived.   Father Bignall has overseen a capital campaign, "Restore the Dream, Prepare for the Next Century" which will enable the Parish to work on needed renovations and expansions.

Father Bignall was replaced by Father Timothy Birney in October, 2004. Father James Lopez followed Father Birney in July, 2007.


HELP! There were two photos that were on the old website. I would really appreciate it if anyone could provide those photos or other photos from the early days of St. Catherine's. Thank you for your assistance. Please email or call (810) 765-3568 for the webmaster.

Copyright © 2009 Our Lady on the River Parish
610 South Water Street ~ Marine City, Michigan 48039
Phone: (810)765-3568 ~ Fax: (810)765-2974

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Church of St. Catherine