St. Francis Xavier Church
Carlsruhe, Ontario, Canada
Summary 1863 - 1952
CKNX Radio Report
Ayton and Neustadt Connection
The Spetz History
Our Full Collated History 1608 - to date
1608 - founding of Quebec and the Church in New France
1615 - first vist of Champlain and missionaries to Huronia
- the epic mission work and martyrdom of Brebeuf and His Brethren
- winter mission trips to the Petuns living in this area followed the Saugeen River
1649 - the burning of Ste Marie Among the Hurons
1853 - 1861 - Fr Caspar Matoga, S.J., a Jesuit missionary, stopped at Carlsruhe
- he celebrated Mass in a private home
- Jesuits from Guelph continued to visit about once a month
1856 - Father Matoga dies tragically
- a site for a church was purchased
- Father Blettner started the first Baptismal Registry of Carlsruhe in December
- a frame church, dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, was erected on the site of the present church.
- the village of Carlsruhe was named after the early settler, Carl Gehl.
1859 - 1861 - Rev. George Laufhuber, S.J., attended this mission1863 - Fr Gstir purchased a plot of land across the road from the church for a cemetery
- until August 1861, when it was attached as a mission to the newly formed parish of Formosa which had a resident priest (Fr Archangelus Gstir and Fr Joseph Smith)
1866 - 1887 - Carlsruhe was made an independent parish with the appointment of the first resident pastor, Rev. Francis Xavier Rassaerts
- his portrait is hanging at the back of the church above the raised usher section
- Father Franz was born September 25, 1833 in Roermund, Holland and ordained in 1858.
- he came to Canada in 1864 and was pastor here in 1865 until his death on December 23, 1887.
- he was pastor for 21 years
- he is buried in the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery directly across from his church.
in 1872, the missions of Neustadt and Deemerton attached to Carlsruhe
- construction began on the present church under the direct supervision of Father Francis Rassaerts.
- it is built facing east to watch for the second coming of Jesus
- The church took two years to complete at a cost of $9000.00 Father Rassaerts brought the plans and the money for the church with him when he came to Canada. The design of the church is based on the priest’s church (The Munster Kerk) in his native town of Roermund, Holland.
- Coming from quite a well-to-do family in Holland, the priest returned to his homeland to obtain some stained glass windows, 38 to be exact, for his new church in Carlsruhe. As well as procuring the windows, many of which were donated by the people he knew, he also received some funds from his family for the completion of the church.
- Built by the pioneers of this little community, the church’s yellow bricks were manufactured by Andrew Zettler a local brickyard owner.
- The intricate and elaborate wooden altar which adorns the front of the church, along with the pulpit, were hand carved by a local farmer, Nicolas Durrer.
On either side of the altar approximately 4’ x 9’ high are two beautifully hand painted murals of St. Francis Xavier. On the left side of the altar the mural depicts St. Francis Xavier being sent on a mission by his Jesuit Superior and founder, St. Ignatius Loyola. In the right mural we see him teaching on mission.
- The fourteen stations of the cross, also hand painted, aids in decorating the already ornate walls of the church- in addition to the money and the stained Glass windows that he brought from Holland, Father Rassaerts also brought one other item in his pocket, an acorn which he planted in front of the rectory. This little acorn flourished and grew into a beautiful oak tree, which still stands today. This oak tree is considered one of the largest and oldest in Ontario. At 140 years old (as of 2010), it measures 13’ x 12’ in circumference.
- Two attempts by resident pastors, quite a number of years ago, were made to cut down this beautiful tree, but the residents of the community would not permit it. Both times they appeared on the site just in the nick of time to rescue the oak from the axe. So it stands today a stately and most perfect memorial to the man who brought the acorn home in his pocket.
- the field stone rectory was also built behind the church
1880 - the Bruce County Directory lists 110 Catholic families
1887 - during Father Rassaert’s final years in Carlsruhe, (he died on December 23, 1887) he was suffering from the effects of typhoid fever and frequently received assistance from the Formosa parish.
1887 - 1891 - Fr Eugene Laussie served
1891 - 1892 - Fr Louis Elena
1892 - 1895 - Fr Michael Halm arrived.1895 - 1898 - Fr. Rudolph Lehman, pastor
- During his pastorate the church was renovated and the large dome (designed to represent the universe - the blue paint was found on the wood when the roof was replaced in 2008) was removed.
- the bricks from it being used to construct a small church in Neustadt
- he established a separate school and started a mission in Hanover :)
1898 - 1907 - Father Joseph Wey became pastor
- The roof was re-shingled (cedar shake) and a Cupola was added to the church as a place to have a bell.
- The original 1864 bell, which we still use, was moved to the new Cupola from the original bell tower over the sacristy. A larger one was also hung. That bell can not be rung at this time ( rediscovered in 2008, it was found to be damaged by too much tolling).
- he constructed a church in Hanover when it became a separate parish ???
1907 - 1912 - Father Lenhardt was named pastor
- many improvements were made to the rectory and church.
- he supervised the renovation of the Winter Chapel (the current hall).
- he installed new pews in the church
- the growing mission of Hanover received a new church and continued as a mission until 1921. ???
- Fr. Lenhardt resigned due to illness, in 1912
1912 - 1930 - Fr. Isadore. G. Hoffarth was named pastorfor the next 12 years
- he secured a new organ for the church (it is still there but unused (front right side)
1926 - Deemerton returned to Carlsruhe as a mission until 1934.
1930 - 1934 - Fr Lawrence Dogorski named as administrator
1934 - 1935 - Fr Edward Hartleib
- he personally assumed the debt of the parish ($ 500)
1935 - 1936 - Fr Michael Halm
1936 - 1952 - Rev. Henry R. Brick became pastor
- a large combination hall and shed was erected
- he also directed the redecoration of the church interior in 1942
- in 1947, Bishop Joseph Ryan celebrated a Pontifical High Mass on the occasion of the 6oth anniversary of the church
- in 1948, the parish hosted the 11th annual Diocesan Eucharistic Congress
1952 - the parish was removed from diocesan care and placed in the hands of Sacred Heart Fathers from Holland
- Fr John Van Zekl, SCJ as pastor
1955 - Fr Theodoras Schoeniaker, SCJ as pastor
1956 - Fr J. A. De Jong, SCJ as pastor
- 83 families, 389 souls.
1959-1962 - Fr. J. Meeuderiuk SCJ
1962-1964 - Fr. Jolm Van Weid SCJ
- a new separate school was opened in Carlsruhe
(newly built in 1963 and closed completely in 1969, was later sold without right of access to cemetery being given to the cemetery - great board planning !!!!! )
1964-1969 - Fr. Francis Keuser SCJ
- Died suddenly in December of 1969
1969-1973 - the parish was returned to the care of the Diocese of Hamilton.
- Fr. Philip Sherratt pastor
1970 - The Catholic Women’s League was formed.
1973 - 1974 - Fr. Harry Englert was appointed pastor in June.
- Carlsruhe celebrated tbe centennial of its church (1873-1973)
1974 - 1975 - Fr. Ed Clark,OMI administrator in November.
- kitchen and washroom facilities provided for the hall
1975-1976 - Fr. Michael Myruniuk
1976 - 1977 - Fr. Joseph Bigonzoni, pastor in July
1977 - 1984 - Fr. Frank M. Chernish, pastor in October
- The CWL was disbanded.
- A ladies group (now known as The St Francis Ladies Group) is still active for special events.
- 125 th anniversary of parish foundation in 1978
- major repairs were made to the roof of the church (steel sheets ???)
1984 - Fr. Kareuni Joseph, pastor in June
1985 - Summer (July & August) - Fr. Peter Hundt provided coverage.
1985 - Fr. Placid Nolan, OP, pastor in September
1989 - Fr. Nolan painted the interior as we see it today from Feb - May 1989
- He dismantled the St. Theresa stand, moved the statues from the front to the back
and took out the communion rail.
1992 - 1995 - Fr. Tom Kurpandeepan, OMI, pastor in October
- visiting priest, residential and administrator during tbe illness of Fr. Nolan
1996 - Fr. Art Scidmore, pastor in August. He was the last resident pastor - 125th anniversay of church building in 1998
2000 - Carlsruhe made a mission parish of Mildmay. Fr. Michael Bennett, pastor
2001 - Fr. Bob Walz, pastor
2002 - Wind storm in Feb & Mar blew down 17 tall pine trees.
Jim Poechman & Larry Hoffarth coordinated clean up
2003 - 150th anniversary of the parish foundation
2004 - Fr. Augustine Manpilly, pastor in June
- Fr. Jiri Macenauer, pastor in October.
2005 - Fr. W. Terence Sehl (Fr. Terry) named pastor in June to present.
2008 - A new roof made of steel installed ($80,000) to repair the rotten roof areas and leaks
- tower and crosses repainted,
- a start was made on storm window repairs.
2009 - A new altar of sacrifice in the mold of the original builder was constructed by Darryl Diemert,
who also leads our parish choir.
- The average attendance at Sunday 11:30 am Mass attendance is approx 80.
- the talented choir can be up to 10 members
(they sing all the mass parts and many beautiful old hymns and antiphons)
- the servers number up to 10 (at one time :)
- a Corpus Christi was held this year after many years of absence
- more work on the storm windows and the first installment to the bishop to pay back his roof loan
2010 - more work on the storm windows, north rose window still to do
2011 - major fun and fund raiser Garage Sale put on the the St Francis Xavier Ladies - K of C Hall in Hanover floor totally covered and tables covered at least by 1 metre of goodies - great proceeds given to pay off more of the loan for our new roof (2008)
- by government edict, we must replace our underground oil tank with an above ground one before winter (c. $5000)
- maybe next year for the north window