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The Full Story



Our Lady of Lourdes

In 1871, Catholics in Elmore, Woodville, and Genoa came together and appealed to the Bishop of Cleveland for a resident pastor. Fr. Davy was appointed, taking residence in Elmore. Fr. Davy was followed by Fr. McMahon. He soon convinced the Catholics in Genoa that a hall in the village would be more suitable for worship. A barn-like room was rented over the blacksmith shop, north of the railroad. They later acquired lots on Superior Street.

The first High Mass in the new church was celebrated on August 11, 1874 – at which time Fr. McMahon announced that he had been appointed as an assistant at the Cathedral in Cleveland and therefore would have to leave Genoa and Elmore. The Rev. Hyacinthe Kolopp was his immediate replacement. Rev. John Klute followed Fr. Kollopp in January 1876. More successful than his predecessor, he reduced the debt and plastered the church. The church was dedicated on the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1879. The congregation continued to grow as a mission with Elmore, Luckey, and Woodville. Eventually it was placed under the care of the pastor of St. Michael, Gibsonburg. It remained a mission until 1920 when Fr. Leo Herzog became the resident pastor. Fr. Herzog was followed by Fr. Quinlan in July 1921. A parish house was urgently needed so the Bower property on Main Street was bought from the late John Bowland for this purpose.

The church, which stood on the Superior Street site for 50 years, was moved to the new location, the northwest corner of Second and Main Streets, and placed upon a basement built to serve as a parish hall. The farm house on the site was converted into a rectory. The parish continued to grow. In October 1948, Fr. James O’Toole, S.J.D., became pastor and work began on the planning of a second new church. The property was donated by the late Henry W. Bergman; the contract was awarded to Johnson Lumber Co., and a church of strong and simple external walls of Wisconsin lannon stone, laid in ashlar pattern was built. The ground for the new church was broken on February 14, 1954, the corner stone was laid by Bishop George Rehrig on October 24, 1954 and the first Mass was celebrated in the new church on March 13, 1955.

With the new church being used for church services, the old structure became the hall and catechical center, but not for long. Gunther Lubeck, a parishioner, donated his architectural skills, Eldo W. Bergman donated the land, and Rudolph-Libbe, Inc. built the Parish Hall of lannon limestone to match the church exterior.

According to the provisions of the Pastoral Plan, Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Genoa and St. Boniface Church in Oak Harbor would become “sister” parishes and share a pastor and staff. Thus on July 2, 1999, Fr. James E. Peiffer, was named pastor of the two parishes.

In 2013 Fr. Timothy Ferris came to Our Lady of Lourdes. In December 2020, construction began and phase one of the renovation was completed in August 2021.


St. Boniface

St. Boniface Parish was organized in 1845 by Father Amadeus Rappe. Mass was offered at this time in the homes of various members of the church. Priests from Toledo, Fremont, Port Clinton and Elmore came to Oak Harbor to minister to parishioners in the area. When the congregation increased services were held in a school building and an old Lutheran church. In 1872, a church was built on the southwest corner at the intersection of Church and Oak Streets by Father William McMahon. A parish school was started by Father Hyacinthe Kalopp in 1874 but was soon closed due to lack of support and poor attendance. Father G. H. Rieken added a parish house in 1880. In 1886, the church was enlarged and a new school was erected. The new school lasted until 1895 when it was closed for lack of support.

Father John Baumgartner arrived at St. Boniface in 1902 and began a fund drive to build a new church. Ground was finally broke for the new church in 1915 and the first mass was celebrated in 1917. It was around this time that St. Joseph's Church, Toussaint, Ohio was detached from St. Boniface Parish. St. Joseph's had been attached to the parish until a new Toussaint church could be built. After the new St. Boniface church was built, a new brick building was then built for a school and sisters residence. This new school closed in 1928 and did not reopen due to the small number of students. On June 14, 1964 construction was begun on the new school building which opened in 1966.

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