September 18, 2019

Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church celebrates 100 years

Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, greets parishioners of Saint Patrick’s Church before the mass for the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the church. Photos courtesy of Intermountain Catholic|Acting on a hunch, parish officials discovered a 100-year old time capsule in the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Church.  Photos courtesy of Intermountain Catholic|A 100-year-old time capsule with old newspaper stories, a decaying photo, and a fragment of wood was found in the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s church this past July.   Photo courtesy of St. Patrick’s Church|||| Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, greets parishioners of Saint Patrick’s Church before the mass for the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the church. Photos courtesy of Intermountain Catholic|Acting on a hunch, parish officials discovered a 100-year old time capsule in the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Church. Photos courtesy of Intermountain Catholic|A 100-year-old time capsule with old newspaper stories, a decaying photo, and a fragment of wood was found in the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s church this past July. Photo courtesy of St. Patrick’s Church|||| ||||||

By Charlotte Fife-Jepperson

Residents in Poplar Grove have heard the church bells ring out over the neighborhood near St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for decades – for a hundred years to be exact.

This past July, St. Patrick’s celebrated the 100th anniversary of the dedication of their church, which was constructed between 1916 and 1919.

However, the history of St. Patrick’s parish goes back even further. It was established in 1892, and the original location of the church was near 400 South and 500 West. The original building had to be torn down before the construction of the railroad tracks there. So, St. Patrick’s church was rebuilt a few blocks west at its current location at 1058 W. 400 South.

St. Patrick’s has always welcomed immigrants into their fold, beginning with Irish and Italian immigrants. Today, the parish is one of the most diverse in Utah, with immigrants hailing from Tonga, Samoa, Myanmar, The Philippines, and various African countries, such as Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. The parish pastor, Reverend Anastasius Iwuoha, is from Nigeria, and the deacon, Sefo Manu, is from Tonga.

The centennial celebration mass on July 13 was presided by the Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis. Afterwards, they celebrated with a luncheon and performances reflecting the many cultures represented at the church.

One month earlier, after three hours of drilling into the cornerstone of the church with a diamond bit, parish officials removed a 100-year-old time capsule, which consisted of a small metal box containing two newspaper clippings, a water-damaged photograph, and a fragment of wood believed to be from the original church building.

According to Anthony Martinez, Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry, parish officials plan to ask for suggestions from their community about what to put into a fresh time capsule that will be placed in the cornerstone later this fall.

Longtime Glendale resident, Phil Lopez, has been attending the St. Patrick’s church since about 1972. It has been a big part of his life. He and his wife, Dorothy, were remarried at St. Patrick’s, and his brother Joe’s funeral was held there.

Phil said that he served on the parish council for four years, and counted the money from collections for twenty years. He worked in different booths every year during their annual carnival – and for a time, would roast the green chile for the carnival.

There is no doubt that this community landmark has been a special part of countless parishioners’ lives over the past 100 years. Young people studied their religion in Bishop Glass and played basketball in the Catholic League. Christmas Eve midnight mass services at St. Pat’s have always been an important part of local parishioners’ lives.

Here’s to another 100 years of meaningful events and worship at St. Patrick’s Church!