A History of St Joan of Arc Parish

1924-1927
Parishioners begin raising the $93,047.40 it will take to build the parish’s first church. They hold chicken dinners, raffles, rummage sales, dances and pledge drives. The Albert Riedy family donates six lots for the new building

1925
On August 29, the cornerstone is laid with hundreds of clergy, parishioners and friends attending.

On September 2, the first wedding in St. Joan of Arc Parish takes place in Riedy’s Hall. Bernard J. Cassel marries Marion Hinterlong.

1927
On June 25, the original St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church opens. The first Mass is the Joseph Miller – Bertha Long wedding. The building includes a three-room school, a church seating 500 and a convent.

A History of St Joan of Arc Parish

In the fall, the parish grade school opens. Classes are led by two Benedictine Sisters from Sacred Heart Monastery – Sister Mary Dolores Janota and Sister Mary Clarissa Ruda. The next year, Sister Mary Bonaventure Kovalcik arrives.

1928
On June 17, three girls and two boys are the first graduating class from St. Joan of Arc school. The second graduating class would have 12 students.

1929
On November 24, St. Joan of Arc’s building is dedicated. The Reverend B.J. Sheil, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, officiates.

1949
The Diocese of Joliet is created and includes St. Joan of Arc Parish.

1955
In the summer, construction begins on the elementary school.

1957
The new school building on Columbia Avenue opens with 320 pupils.

1963
The junior high addition is constructed. The addition includes a large gymnasium, the basement of which also serves as the Parish’s Chapel, where additional Sunday Masses are eventually held, since the original church building can no longer accommodate the larger congregation.

1973
On February 19, the parish holds a farewell Mass in its original red brick building. The building is razed in August after it is condemned for being structurally unsound.

The same year, the parish begins a $1 million fund-raising drive to build a new church.

1975
On July 25, ground is broken for the new church.

1976
On Christmas Eve, the parish celebrates its first Mass in the new church.

1977
On March 13, the church is officially dedicated.

1979
Deacon Denis Stucko was ordained in 1979, and the diaconate ministry has continued to strengthen the good works and spiritual care of the parish.

1985
In the spring, the Benedictine Sisters return to live at Sacred Heart Monastery, and the convent is converted into parish administrative offices. The rectory is relocated to a house on Front Street, and the former rectory building is sold.

This year also sees the completion of an addition linking the elementary and junior high buildings, as well as the addition of more classrooms and offices.

1996
In September, the parish launches a fund-raising drive to build a parish center housing adult religious education classes and other programs.

1999
St. Joan of Arc Parish celebrates its 75th anniversary. The new parish center is dedicated on June 13.

2000
Due to a lack of manpower, the beloved Benedictine Fathers can no longer administer the parish, so Bishop Joseph Imesch appoints Father Gerald Tivy as the new pastor, and Father Thomas Botheroyd as parochial vicar. By a special agreement between the Bishop and the Abbot of St. Procopius Abbey, Father Kenneth Zigmond, OSB also remains as a parochial vicar.

2001
On April 22, the Adoration Chapel is opened with a solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the church to the chapel in the Parish Center. Adoration has continued unbroken day and night since then and has been a source of great grace to the parish.

New ministries are added: Funeral Ministry, PADS ministry, Pro-life Ministry, Art & Environment and Hospitality. All other ministries, such as the Knights of Columbus, are enhanced and continue add to the life of the parish.

2002
The church undergoes a major interior renovation. The parking lot is also reconfigured, and the brick wall separating it from the north side of the church is removed to afford additional and more convenient parking for those with special needs. The grounds are landscaped, and a new roof is put on the school. The fifty-year-old boilers are also replaced.

2004
In May, the parish’s priests move into the new rectory on Kingston Avenue, just to the east of the Parish Center. The house on Front Street which had served as the former rectory, is sold to the Lisle Library District to facilitate its future expansion plans.

This is the year that the parish also celebrates its 80th anniversary.

2005
June 5 sees the departure of Father Thomas Botheroyd, who enters the Benedictine religious community at Marmion Abbey in Aurora, Illinois a few weeks later. The month of August marks the arrival of Father Pete Jankowski as parochial vicar, followed by the arrival of Father Don Kocher as senior priest the following month. In October the Pastoral Council approves the new “Catholics Returning Home Ministry” for launch in January 2006 under the direction of Tom Richardt.

2007
Father Scaria Thoppil, CMI, arrives at SJA as a Parochial Vicar, providing much-needed assistance to SJA’s other priests, and Tom Richardt is ordained a Deacon on Saturday, August 25th. After his ordination, Deacon Tom Richardt assumed leadership of the Social, Peace and Justice Ministry and continued to build on the strong programs already in place. St. Joan’s supports the area’s less fortunate through critical programs such as FISH food pantry and the PADS homeless shelter. St. Joan’s benevolence also reaches Africa with support for Upendo Village, a center designed by Kenyans to respond to the needs of Kenyans living with HIV / AIDS.  Upendo means “love” in the Kiswahili language, and that’s just what St. Joan’s showed Sister Florence of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi when she asked for assistance. Her first collection at St. Joan’s totaled $14,000.

A revived Women’s Ministry gets off to an encouraging start in the fall with a well-attended Advent Tea in early December. The Church building’s rest room facilities get a much-needed extreme make-over during a six-week period.

2008
In February Father Tivy announces his intention to retire upon reaching his 70th birthday in June. He uses the interim months to complete various projects at the Parish: the sidewalk/ramp at the south entrance of the Church is replaced with brick pavers. A new handrail and more effective ground lighting is also installed in this area. A “wayside shrine” roof structure is also added to the statue of the Risen Christ in the south side Prayer Garden to protect the statue from rain damage.

In March, Bishop J. Peter Sartain announces that Father Gabriel Baltes, OSB, a former associate at St. Joan of Arc Church, will be returning to the parish as Pastor upon Father Tivy’s retirement. On June 8th, Father Tivy celebrates his farewell Mass at 11:30am to an overflow crowd of well-wishers, followed by a reception attended by over six hundred people.

Fr. Tivy’s replacement was Fr. Gabriel Baltes, OSB, who  had served as Associate Pastor at St. Joan’s from 1993 to 1997.  Originally from Sandusky, Ohio, Fr. Gabriel entered St. Procopius Abbey in 1982 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. With his Master of Arts degree in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame and as a Doctor of Ministry Degree candidate, St. Joan’s is doubly blessed with solid preaching and a strong liturgy. Under Fr. Gabriel’s leadership, the parish seamlessly transitioned to the new translation of the Mass, and in the Benedictine spirit, Fr. Gabriel introduced a number of liturgical innovations and rites that celebrate the feasts and seasons of the church year—among them are the Epiphany Benediction followed by the spaghetti dinner, the Candlemas Procession, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Corpus Christi Feast Day Procession, and the Blessing of the Classrooms. Education, especially in the school, has also been one of Fr. Gabriel’s priorities.

2009
Deacon George Soloy was ordained in 2009. His service has included Coordinator of Ushers, Coordinator of Perpetual Adoration, Extraordinary Minister of Communion, member of the pastoral council, and prayers services at the Devonshire.

2010
Fr. Dong Bui was assigned to our parish as Parochial Vicar in June 2010, after having served briefly at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Naperville.
Thanks to Fr. Gabriel’s endorsement, the St. Joan of Arc Knights of Columbus Council #15168 was chartered on November 3, 2010. In the past four years Council #15168 has earned recognition and prestigious awards from the Bishop Romeo Blanchette Assembly, the Illinois State Council, the Supreme Council, the State of Illinois and the Village of Lisle.

2011
With Sister Carolyn Sieg as Principal, St. Joan of Arc School was one of 49 U.S. private schools to receive the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award in 2011 from the U.S. Department of Education.

Deacon Carl Gregorich, ordained in 2011, serves with Spirit and Truth (Young Adult Ministry), Work and Pray Days at Hopkins Park (outreach ministry for the poor), Brothers in Christ (men’s weekly prayer group), and the Boy Scouts of America.

2013
A son of our parish, Fr. Michael Pawlowicz was ordained to the priesthood on May 18, 2013. The son of parishioners Steve and Debbie Pawlowicz, Fr. Michael received his religious formation and the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation at St. Joan’s.

Deacon Tom Richardt continued to serve the poor both at home and abroad until he died in December 2013. Both his life and death were a testament to his faith and trust in God and will continue to inspire St. Joan’s for many years to come.