History of St. Teresa Parish

History of Saint Teresa Parish

St. Teresa Catholic Church is one of four Catholic parishes in Springfield, Ohio. It is the newest parish, and it is the only one located in the northern section of the city. Currently St. Teresa has a membership of 650 families – people of many different backgrounds, ethnicity, and ages. The parish continues to grow both in diversity and in size.

St. Teresa Church was established and built in 1931 near its present location of Floral Avenue and North Limestone Street. The original church building now houses the gymnasium and the current preschool for Catholic Central.

The first Mass at the parish was celebrated on September 20, 1931, by Rev. Fr. Daniel Collins, the parish’s first pastor. Father Collins remained pastor for 38 years. He oversaw the construction of the first church, the school, the convent and the first rectory.

In 1951, as a new section was added to the school building, the enrollment of the students doubled. This "new" section now houses the preschool of Catholic Central Elementary School.

One of Father Collins’ dreams was to have a new church built during his pastorate. Plans for his dream began in 1962. In 1964, the cornerstone to the new church was laid. Dedication of the new church building was on June 11, 1965, in a special ceremony conducted by Archbishop Karl J. Alter, Archbishop of Cincinnati.

Seeing his dream become reality, Fr. Collins retired, taking up new residence in an apartment directly across the street from the parish he had worked so hard to build.

Fr. Collins was succeeded by Rev. Fr. James Eisenhauer, 1969-84. During his pastorate, Fr. Eisenhauer paid off all debt incurred with the new church. He took great pride in the development of the school and parish.

In 1977, the adult choir was first formed, directed by Suzanne Gray. This choir continues today, although there have been changes of choir directors, organists, and choir members along the way. St. Teresa Parish continues to be blessed with beautiful and inspiring liturgical music.

In 1979, St. Teresa Parish celebrated the ordination of its first deacon, Paul Weitzel. Deacon Weitzel served the parish for many years, particularly enjoying preaching at Mass with the school children.

St. Teresa Parish has had four other pastors since the expansion years of Fr. Collins and Fr. Eisenhauer: Father Victor Ries, 1984-1995; Father Rick Walling, 1995-2007, Fr. Edwin Gearhart, 2007-2015. Fr. John MacQuarrie is the current pastor.

Fr. Victor Ries was a very careful financial manager. He was able to accrue savings with which he dreamed of building a new Catholic elementary school for the parish. His dream, however, did not materialize. Fr. Ries continued to be an avid supporter of our Catholic school.

During Fr. Walling’s administration, Catholic Central began to consolidate the Springfield parochial schools. This consolidation would be completed under Fr. Gearhart as Catholic Central moved to becoming a K-12 school, housed at the sight of Catholic Central High School. Fr. Walling was a great support to Catholic Central and helped ease the transition to a K-12 school program. While pastor here, Fr. Walling worked diligently to keep Catholic school tuition affordable to all families.

In 1998, we were blessed to have another parishioner, Jack Gould, ordained a permanent deacon. While Deacon Gould was assigned to St. Peter Parish in Huber Heights, Jack nevertheless generously gave of his talents to St. Teresa Parish. Jack concentrated his efforts to improving the liturgical environment of the Church. Jack brought to the church a seasonal liturgical theme which added greater beauty and a transcendent presence.

He was also concerned about the ongoing faith formation of the parish. Jack initiated the religious CD program and provided many books and pamphlets to increase the understanding of the Catholic faith. After his death in 2010, a lecture program began in his honor, known as the "Deacon Jack Gould Memorial Lecture Series." This program is open to the public and invites leading national Catholic speakers to address our community.

As Fr. Gearhart served as pastor to St. Teresa Parish, a new addition was made to the church. A new elevator and reception area was added to the south entrance of the church. This much needed addition gave the parish an opportunity for all parishioners on special occasions to utilize the cafeteria space in the church basement. Fr. Gearhart is credited with welcoming the Latino community to our parish. Each Sunday, St. Teresa Parish celebrates a Mass in Spanish. Also during his years, St. Teresa Parish began the Latino Festival, held each September, as a beautiful blend of culture, language, and ideas.

St. Teresa Parish was again blessed with a newly ordained deacon, Phil Kenzora, in 2016. Today, under the leadership of Fr. John MacQuarrie, St. Bernard and St. Teresa Parishes have joined in a regional collaboration. We share our pastor and many activities and programs. With Fr. MacQuarrie we share a new outlook and vision for the Catholic Community of Springfield, Ohio.