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Church History

 

History of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Catholics were present in Cache Valley as early as 1872, but the first mass was celebrated on September 19, 1918 by Fr. Thomas N. Stanton.  The first St. Thomas Aquinas church was at 45 East 500 North in Logan. Dominicans Fathers  Joseph Valine and Colin McEachen arrived in Logan and had the first Mass on December 8, 1941(the day after Pearl Harbor). This church was dedicated on May 17, 1942.

Fr. Jerome Stoffel arrived five years later, and would shepherd the parish for 30 years.

By the mid-1950s, the church was too small for the growing community, and so the diocese bought a former fraternity at 795 North 800 East, near Utah State University, and it became a Newman Center and St. Jerome’s Chapel.

The diocese sold the old church in 1962, and for the next 44 years, members of St. Thomas Aquinas parish and students from the Newman Center would celebrate mass at St. Jerome’s Chapel.

Fr. Bob Bussen became pastor in 1977, and was the first priest to suggest the parish council consider remodeling or building a new church. After a sabbatical in Bolivia in 1984, he began celebrating mass in English and Spanish.

Between 1986 and 1995, the parish was served by Fr. Colin Bircumshaw, Fr. David Van Massenhove, and Fr. Francis W. Voellmecke, and beginning in 1990, by Spanish-speaking priests as well: Fr. Francisco Gomez, Fr. Jesus Montoya, and Fr. Fernando Cristancho.

Fr. Clarence Sandoval and Fr. Francisco Pires arrived in 1995, and when Fr. Pires (who would later return as pastor) left in 1999, Fr. Sandoval began celebrating both Spanish and English masses.

With the arrival of Fr. Sandoval, interest in a new church building was revived. Parish members made pledges and fundraisers, and by the fall of 2000 the church was being designed.

The parish sold a parcel of land that had appreciated in value considerably in the years since Msgr. Stoffel purchased it, and an anonymous benefactor donated a parcel of land in Hyde Park for the construction.

The new church and parish center were dedicated on June 24, 2006, and the Newman Center was renamed the St. Jerome Catholic Newman Center.

Permanent Deacon Jim Miller arrived after the parish moved to Hyde Park, Fr. Francisco Pires returned as pastor in the summer of 2011, and Sr. Marilyn Mark, who had served the parish for much of the 1990s, returned in late 2012.