History: Third Church

Construction of Third Church

Plans had been made to build a new church in about five years, but the fire made this undertaking necessary at once.  Meanwhile, Sunday masses were held at the Lyric Theatre.  The new brick structure was built on the same block as the school. Contractor Arntzen was in charge of the work.  Within ten months from the day that the first shovel full of earth was thrown, and fourteen months after the fire, a magnificent church edifice with a seating capacity of 825 was completed.  The beautiful stained glass windows, imported from Germany, depict the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.  Most of these windows were donated by members of the parish in memory of loved ones.  The Most Reverend Bishop Frederic Eis blessed the cornerstone on May 1, 1920, and officiated at the formal dedication on Sunday, September 4, 1921, which was the date of the first Mass.

Construction of Third Church

On May 25, 1920, at the request of Rev. Bennett, the parish sold the original rectory which is still used as a residence today, and bought the home of Clara White, daughter of Ebenezer White, on the corner of Seventh Street and Wisconsin Avenue.  It served as the parish rectory until the construction of a new rectory in 1976.

The cost of the new church totaled around $130,000.  The end of fiscal year 1922 saw $70,000 paid.  The Catholic Guild, reorganized in April, by January first had raised $4,288, which was considered remarkable.  Much credit was given to Father Bennett; it was said that , "The church will stand as an enduring monument to his broad vision and ceaseless work for the parish."

Completed Third Church

Interior of Third Church

Interior of Third Church

The announcement of Father Bennett’s transfer to Ontonagon on September 30, 1923, came as sad news to the congregation.  The high esteem in which he was held in the hearts of the people was well expressed in a farewell address given by John Lemmer, who was asked to give it because the local people felt too deeply their loss to give expression to it.  He was also honored at the largest attended meeting ever of the Sacred Heart Court, Catholic Order of Foresters, which at one time had the largest membership in Michigan.  Words of appreciation were spoken by Mrs. J.D. McDonald, Chief Ranger.  Her son, Reynold McDonald, had succumbed to pneumonia in January at Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin, where he was studying for the priesthood at St. Lawrence Seminary.

Fr. Sebastian Maier arrived in October, 1923, to begin his pastorate.  With his help and the continued efforts of the Lady Foresters, formed in 1898, the Ladies’ Guild, and the newly formed men’s organization, the Holy Name Society, the parish continued the work of paying off the church debt.  This effort was compounded by the Depression in 1929 and by the need to renovate the school.  After fourteen and-a-half years and with the school and church debts decreased considerably, Fr. Maier left for a new assignment in Menominee.  During his tenure at All Saints, Fr. Maier celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination in 1937.  During his entire tenure, Fr. Maier’s salary remained constant at $108 a year.

Fr. Joseph Schaul was assigned to All Saints in the spring of 1938.  During his more than eight years at Gladstone, he quietly but successfully conducted the affairs of the church.  To his record belongs the feat of liquidating an $18,000 debt and building an $18,000 reserve.  Fr. Schaul, too, celebrated his twenty-five years of service in the priesthood while pastor here.

Fr. Matt LaViolette was born in Escanaba, Michigan, on June 30, 1908.  On November 26, 1946, he began the first of twenty-seven fruitful years at All Saints.  Under his guidance the parish built a new school and convent.  The ground breaking ceremony was held on May 11, 1957, with Bishop Thomas L. Noa officiating.  The old school, the famous Hawarden Inn, was demolished in June, 1958.  The new All Saints School was dedicated on October 27, 1958.  In 1972, after fourteen years of existence, the decision was made to close the school, due to the declining enrollment, and the increased difficulty in securing religious faculty, as the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas ended their sixty years of service at this time.

One of the highlight of Father Matt’s years at All Saints was the observance of his twenty-fifth anniversary to the priesthood.  On May 26, 1959, the Silver Jubilee Celebration began with a Mass of Thanksgiving.  His grateful parishioners presented him with the keys to a new car.  Another milestone for Father Matt was his elevation to Domestic Prelate with the title of Monsignor at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Marquette on March 8, 1964.

On August 14, 1973, Father Matt left All Saints and returned to Holy Family Parish in Flat Rock where he had served for seven years prior to coming to All Saints.  When he left All Saints, the debt had been paid off.  A goodly sum of $100,000 had been set aside for renovation of the church to meet Vatican II guidelines.

He retired from active parish life in July, 1980, and now resides in Escanaba.  A most unusual circumstance is that forty-one of Father Matt’s active years were spent as pastor of parishes within ten miles of his home town Escanaba.

Father John Noel Arneth became pastor of All Saints on August 9, 1973, with a directive from the bishop that All Saints School building be sold only if a Catechetical Center could be provided.  Therefore, the convent was renovated to serve as a six classroom C.C.D. Center, with a three bedroom apartment to be used as a residence for the Sisters.

A released-time catechetical program for grades one through eight was organized with marvelous cooperation from the Gladstone Schools and continues to the present time.  Sister Ruth Karnitz, SSND, succeeded James Berlinski in 1974 as the Religious Education Coordinator.  Assisted by Sister Eulalia Stupfel and other School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sister Ruth served All Saints until 1982.  For one year the program was directed by a team of three lay persons:  Marge Shackett, Bev Bal and Theresa Desotell.  They were succeeded in 1983 by Sister Donna Myjak, CSA.  Sister Dyonne Finn, SSND, headed the catechetical program from 1984-86.  Margaret Hollcraft who served All Saints until 1988 was assisted by Mary Hale and Theresa Desotell who were hired as facilitators in 1987.  Dianne Copeland joined the parish staff as the Religious Education Coordinator in August 1988.  At the present time over 550 youth are served by a volunteer teaching staff of about 50 adults.

The parish, after leasing the school building to the Gladstone Schools, sold it to the Gladstone Area School District in 1975 to be used as a Middle School.  Plans were drawn for remodeling of the church and the building of a new rectory between the center and the church.  Begun in May of 1976, this entire project was completed by December 1, 1976.  Dedication by His Excellency Charles A. Salatka, Bishop of Marquette, took place on June 5, 1977.

Under Fr. Arneth’s direction a parish council was formed. The liturgical changes called for by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II were introduced, inviting lay persons to the Ministry of Lector and that of Eucharistic Minister. The church opened to greater involvement of the laity in the growth and direction of parish life.