Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
204 Main St. Genoa, OH 43430 (419) 855-8501
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, since July 1996 the administrator of St. Boniface Parish, was named pastor of the two parishes. He continued to reside at the Rectory at Oak Harbor. Our Lady of Lourdes Rectory, while remaining the site of the parish office, was re-arranged to provide an office for the pastor and to provide housing for the Director of Religious Education, Sr. Elaine Marie Clement, SND, and the newly appointed Pastoral Associate, Sr. Gemma Fenbert, OSF/T, a Tiffin Franciscan. Both sisters served in their respective ministries in both parishes.