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Saint Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church

2119 Stillwater Ave E, Saint Paul, MN 55119
http://www.stthomasap.org
(651) 738-0677 Additional Contacts
 
History: Like many communities in the early 1950's, the far east side of St. Paul and its neighboring suburbs experienced an unprecedented building boom. It soon became apparent that a new Catholic church was needed to relieve the crowded conditions a...read more
History: Like many communities in the early 1950's, the far east side of St. Paul and its neighboring suburbs experienced an unprecedented building boom. It soon became apparent that a new Catholic church was needed to relieve the crowded conditions at Blessed Sacrament and surrounding parishes. Catholic residents of the neighborhood were called together in groups to consider and pray about what their new church would be like. In March of 1954, land at 2119 Stillwater Avenue was purchased and Father Thomas Robertson was assigned to lead the new parish. The first Mass was held on October 17, 1954 in Frank Keilsa's hardware store basement, where many parishioners donated their time to install the altar and pews given to St. Thomas from surrounding parishes. In 1956, construction of the combined church and school was begun on the shore of Beaver Lake. Church services were held on the lower floor, while the school occupied classrooms on the upper floor. In 1959, a convent was built next to the school for the Servants of Mary Sisters who served as teachers. In 1960, Father Robertson realized that the combined church/school building could no longer accomodate the growing parish. Again parishioners participated in the construction of a new church building at the corner of Stillwater and Nokomis, completed in 1964. Father Robertson's last construction project was the Rectory next to the church, which was used later as offices for the pastor, parish administrator, parish secretary, two religious education directors, pastoral minister and liturgy director, as well as accomodating most of the parish's meetings. In 1970, the school of St. Thomas the Apostle was closed due to falling enrollment, and subsequently leased to a variety of community organizations including ACORN Charter School. The bedrooms of the former convent next to the school building were used as classrooms for religious education. In 1971, after seventeen years of leading St. Thomas, Father Robertson resigned, and was followed by Father Martin Klaers, Father Gerald Kenny, Father Richard Wolter, Father Dick Wirth and our current pastor, Father Tony Andrade. In January, 1997 a group of concerned parishioners came together out of a growing need for newer, more efficient facilities and they formed the Facilities Committee. Parishioners from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish always get involved when change confronts them and this situation was no different they put their collective heart and soul into the effort. A diverse group of parishioners dealt with the myriad of issues that arise with such a project, from the initial decision to build, to working with an architect, implementing the successful fundraising campaign, planning the specific design needs, selecting the contractor and looking for ways keep costs down. Once a buyer was found for the former Rectory, and ACORN Charter School purchased the old convent and school, the stage was set for construction to begin. On Sunday, September 19, 1999, a groundbreaking ceremony took place before the 10:30 a.m. Mass, including prayer, song and blessing of the site. Members of the parish Facilities Committee, who worked diligently planning the building project, used their shovels to symbolically begin the building process. A small group of children were also included in the ceremony, using the same child-sized shovels that were used by children in 1956 during the groundbreaking for the parish school. A new administrative and educational wing was built and the existing worship space in church was reconfigured. Construction was completed in July 2000. In addition to office space for staff, the new wing includes something the parish needed for a long time: a safe and adequate teaching environment for the children in religious education classes. Ten classrooms are included, with an additional classroom that can also be used as a preparation room for brides or a nursery. Also important is the reconfiguration of the worship space inside th
 
 

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History: Like many communities in the early 1950's, the far east side of St. Paul and its neighboring suburbs experienced an unprecedented building boom. It soon became apparent that a new Catholic church was needed to relieve the crowded conditions at Blessed Sacrament and surrounding parishes. Catholic residents of the neighborhood were called together in groups to consider and pray about what their new church would be like. In March of 1954, land at 2119 Stillwater Avenue was purchased and Father Thomas Robertson was assigned to lead the new parish. The first Mass was held on October 17, 1954 in Frank Keilsa's hardware store basement, where many parishioners donated their time to install the altar and pews given to St. Thomas from surrounding parishes. In 1956, construction of the combined church and school was begun on the shore of Beaver Lake. Church services were held on the lower floor, while the school occupied classrooms on the upper floor. In 1959, a convent was built next to the school for the Servants of Mary Sisters who served as teachers. In 1960, Father Robertson realized that the combined church/school building could no longer accomodate the growing parish. Again parishioners participated in the construction of a new church building at the corner of Stillwater and Nokomis, completed in 1964. Father Robertson's last construction project was the Rectory next to the church, which was used later as offices for the pastor, parish administrator, parish secretary, two religious education directors, pastoral minister and liturgy director, as well as accomodating most of the parish's meetings. In 1970, the school of St. Thomas the Apostle was closed due to falling enrollment, and subsequently leased to a variety of community organizations including ACORN Charter School. The bedrooms of the former convent next to the school building were used as classrooms for religious education. In 1971, after seventeen years of leading St. Thomas, Father Robertson resigned, and was followed by Father Martin Klaers, Father Gerald Kenny, Father Richard Wolter, Father Dick Wirth and our current pastor, Father Tony Andrade. In January, 1997 a group of concerned parishioners came together out of a growing need for newer, more efficient facilities and they formed the Facilities Committee. Parishioners from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish always get involved when change confronts them and this situation was no different they put their collective heart and soul into the effort. A diverse group of parishioners dealt with the myriad of issues that arise with such a project, from the initial decision to build, to working with an architect, implementing the successful fundraising campaign, planning the specific design needs, selecting the contractor and looking for ways keep costs down. Once a buyer was found for the former Rectory, and ACORN Charter School purchased the old convent and school, the stage was set for construction to begin. On Sunday, September 19, 1999, a groundbreaking ceremony took place before the 10:30 a.m. Mass, including prayer, song and blessing of the site. Members of the parish Facilities Committee, who worked diligently planning the building project, used their shovels to symbolically begin the building process. A small group of children were also included in the ceremony, using the same child-sized shovels that were used by children in 1956 during the groundbreaking for the parish school. A new administrative and educational wing was built and the existing worship space in church was reconfigured. Construction was completed in July 2000. In addition to office space for staff, the new wing includes something the parish needed for a long time: a safe and adequate teaching environment for the children in religious education classes. Ten classrooms are included, with an additional classroom that can also be used as a preparation room for brides or a nursery. Also important is the reconfiguration of the worship space inside th