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Holy Cross and its Beginnings

With the closing of the building of the Church of the Holy Cross at the corner of Ohio and Oriental Streets, it is interesting to look back at the beginnings of the parish, 120 years ago.

The parish was formed from what was then Saint Joseph and Saint Patrick parishes. More and more Irish were settling in the area and Bishop Chatard saw the need for a new parish. He appointed Fr. William Francis Quigley, a young priest who was the parochial vicar (Associate pastor) at St. Patrick’s to form a new community. In the spring of 1896, just prior to the dedication of the first church, Fr. Quigley became ill and was hospitalized. He died at St. Vincent’s Hospital on April 27, 1896. His funeral was held April 30, 1896. The Indianapolis Journal published the following account:

A Funeral of Magnitude Three Thousand at the Church.
The funeral of the late Father William Francis Quigley occurred yesterday at St. Patrick’s Church. It was perhaps the largest attended, funeral outside those of public men held in this city during the past decade. Its magnitude was not without good reason, for Father Quigley was endeared to the Catholic’ people of the city and. they could not do too much to honor In death the man who had been so beloved in life. It is said of Father Quigley that he was nearer to the people of his parish than any other priest in the city. quigley-picHe knew the name of every communicant, even to the children, and he never passed one on the street without a word of greeting. He was especially beloved by the young people, and particularly by the young men. This was evidenced yesterday by the large number of the members of the Young Men’s Institute and other societies in attendance. Three thousand people were present at St. Patrick’s Church yesterday morning. The church was draped in deep mourning, large festoons of black hanging from every convenient rafter and pillar. The body had lain in state since noon the day before, but there were yet hundreds who desired a last look at the remains and this privilege was granted to all before and after the services, the members of the organized societies marching through first. There were a number oi beautiful floral tributes, the most notable being that presented by the Holy Cross parish, the new parish for which Father Quigley had recently been chosen pastor. It was a cross seven feet high made of white roses and lilies. The services at the church were conducted principally by the visiting clergymen, of whom mere were about thirty present, as follows: The Very Rev. E.F. McBarron, of Evansville; the Rev. Jonn Ryves of Terre Haute; Rev. Joseph F. Byrne, of St. Mary’s in the Woods; Rev. H. Pierrard. of Brazil; Rev. Thomas McLaughlin of Greencastle; Rev. John M. Stanton, of Vincennes: Rev. D. McCabe, of Evansville: Rev. Charles Curran, of Daviess county; Rev. K. Schott, of Clarke county; Rev. A. Urich, of Jennings county; Rev. E.J. Spellman, of Cambridge city: Rev. T.H. Logan, of Rushville: Rev F. J. Rudolph, of Connersville; Rev. George S. Steigerwaid. of Greensburg: Rev. D. J. McMullen. of Richmond; Rev. J. Mattingly, of Richmond: Rev. Charles Stricker, of Floyd county; Rev. J. F. Matthews, of Daviess county; Rev. J.W. Doyle, of Washington; Rev. J. Harkins of East St. Louis. Ill.; Rev. James O’Brien, of St. Louis; Verv Rev. A. Scheideler, of Terre Haute, and Rev. J. B. Mattingly of Athens. O. After the performance of the “office of the dead” and viewing of the body of the dead priest by the members of the Young Men’s Institute and other societies, mass was celebrated by Rev. J. W. Doyle, of Washington, assisted by the Rev. E. J. Spellman, of Cambridge City, who acted as deacon, the Rev. J. Harkins, of East t. Louis, who acted as subdeacon. and the Very Rev. D. O’Donaghue and Rev. William Maher, who served as masters or ceremonies. The sermon, which was a most pathetic discourse, was preached by Rev. Mr. O’Brien. of St. Louis, ana was followed by the absolution ceremonies, performed by Right Rev. Mons. Bessonies. assisted by the officers of the mass. At the grave the regular Roman Catholic ritual was carried out, the final absolution being made by Father O’Donaghue. The vocal music both at the grave and in the church was rendered by the clergymen.

Fr. Denis McCabe was named Quigley’s successor and the parish rallied around him. By August, 1896, the first building, a multi-purpose school and church was dedicated by Bishop Chatard. The Indianapolis News published the following on August 10, 1896:

Ceremonies at the New Church Conducted By Bishop Chatard.

The Church of the Holy Cross, in Hanna street, near Ohio, was dedicated yesterday. The ceremonies were conducted by Bishop Chatard, assisted by the rectors of the city churches and the Very Rev. D. McBarron, of Terre Haute. The Catholic societies of the city participated. High mass was celebrated by Bishop Chatard and the mass of dedication by the Rev. Father O’Donaghue. There was a special choir for the occasion, composed of the best singers’of the other churches. In the evening there was a lecture by the Rev. Father McCabe, recently of Vincennes, who is rector of the new church.

Bishop Chatard in his address on the dedication referred to the work of Father Quigley, who with remarkable energy built up a congregation in the eastern part of the city and made necessary the erection of the new building- Father Quigley lived to see the first results of his labors, having died last April, after It was decided to erect a church. Since his death the work has been carried on by Father McCabe. Bishop Chatard said that it was probably in his labors on behalf of the church that Father Quigley contracted the illness which terminated his promising life. The bishop preached a sermon calling upon those In attendance to loyalty for the church and its principles.

The building dedicated is but the beginning of what it is intended to erect. The structure is of two stories, set near the rear of the large lot. It Is designed for a school building. On the second floor, however, there is an auditorium, where services may be held until possible to erect a church building in front.

Thus, the beginnings of the parish were also sad, just like the ending. Here is a news report from WTHR about the “Last Mass”


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