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St. Helen Church History
St. Helen Church History

Bishop O'Hern named the Mission Chapel of St. Helen, dedicated in 1930, in honor of his mother, Helen. For the first ten years a priest offered only one Mass from St. Augustine's Church. St. Helen Church became a parish in 1940. The first Pastor, Father J. Beecher Sullivan, lived in the rear of the church until the rectory was built. A room in the church was home to our school until the school building was completed in 1956.

     With $250,000 in pledges, construction of a new rectory and church began in 1959 with work completed and the church dedicated in 1962 at a final cost of $350,000. Sadly, two years later Father Sullivan died after nearly 25 years of parish service.

     Monsignor Patrick J. Flynn became Pastor in 1965. The parish continued growing and through our parishioners' support, school programs expanded, including a pre-school program and a cafeteria. Our Parish Council was formed, people participated more fully in our liturgies and the Country Fair and Bingo were established to help maintain the school program. Father L. John Hedges became pastor in 1978. Working together, the Staff and Council expanded parish life. Our Religious Education Program was firmly established and our first Pastoral Associate joined the staff. Having greatly developed the pastoral dimension of parish life, Fr. Hedges retired in 1988 and his successor, Fr. Michael J. Bausch became pastor the same year. For the first time in forty years, St. Helen no longer had a Parochial Vicar (assistant pastor). The change fostered new staff positions, e.g.: Outreach to the Elderly Director, Liturgy/Music Director and Youth Minister. Major church renovations were also completed reflecting the vision of Vatican II. Father Bausch was assigned to another parish in the summer of 1994 and Nancy DeRycke became St. Helen's Pastoral Administrator. On July 1, 1996, Fr. John A. Firpo became our pastor. On June 24, 2008 Fr. Malachy Nwosu (Eloo) became pastor.  In June of 2010 the churches of Holy Ghost, St. Helen and St. Jude became a cluster parish.  Fr. Michael Schramel was named Pastor and Fr. James Hewes was named Parochial Vicar.

       Today, St. Helen Church is a Community of approximately 800 families. Our identity and strength is realized and fulfilled in the living presence of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

     We value our past, we celebrate the present and we are confident in our future. St. Helen remains strong and vital because of the faithful work and dedication of our people and the spiritual leadership of our Pastoral Staff. 

The Parish of the Holy Family
4100 Lyell Road
Rochester, NY 14606

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