Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic church is also worthy of mention, they having maintained an organization some years previous to the erection of their church, services being held in the old school house. The membership now numbers 127, in which are represented twenty-two families. Services are held every third Sunday and are conducted by Rev. Sheely of Lincoln Center.
--Religious Department column by Lillian Kerr

--The Grundy Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 19 September 1895

The Catholic Church

Rev. P. J. Hogan

In 1869 the first Catholic settlers took up their abode in and around Grundy Center. Their numbers being few, no house of worship was yet erected. They must not forget their God, however, accordingly those of them who lived southwest of town, viz.: the O'Connors and others, went first to Marshalltown to be present at Holy Mass, later they sought and obtained the services of Father Meagher, who while living at Tama City came and performed the duties of priest at Conrad. Meanwhile those who lived in town or elsewhere received the ministrations of Father Smyth of Cedar Falls. In absence of a church, the authorities were interviewed concerning the use of a room in the school building. This was freely granted. Later on the homes of the late Mr. Wegstein and of Mrs. Quinn were pressed into service and here the wants of the faithful were attended to by Father McCabe from Cedar Falls, Father Kenney from Vinton, also a second Father Kenney from the same place.

In 1884 the Rev. J. J. Hanley was given the pastorate of Vinton and all the towns along the Rock Island R. R. to Grundy Center inclusive. By this time the Catholics had grown somewhat in means and in number and Father Hanley being of a sturdy personality, led them to believe they must have a house of worship. Accordingly having received what offerings they could afford and also some contributions from the business men of the town, a church was erected to that service of the living God. Father Hanley continued pastor of the same for four years, Fathers McInerney and Sheelley succeeded him, the former from Vinton and the latter from the Catholic settlement in Black Hawk County known as Blessing. Each of them served four years in that capacity.

In the Fall of 1896 as stated in the history of the church in Grant Township, Father Hogan, the present incumbent of that office was sent by Archbishop Hennessey as the first resident priest of Grundy County. The Missions of Murphy Settlement and Grundy Center being welded together were placed under his guidance. The people of both missions, delighted by the presence of a resident priest rallied at once to the call, and together with some help from local business men, erected and furnished a comfortable home for their pastor. The presence of a priest here has worked untold good, lost ones have returned, many persons of no religious persuasion have come within the fold, the lukewarm have felt of the heat of God's Kingdom amongst them. Members from afar have come here to make a home in this excellent community who would never have come if a priest had not lived here (for the majority of Catholics prize their faith highly). So that today our church is enlarged. It is represented in the business and professional portion of our neat little city not less than in the farming district tributary thereto.

Atlas of Grundy County, Iowa, 1911, pg 92