Welcome to Our Lady of Hope Catholic Parish
Our Lady of Hope Parish is uniting as one, the parishes of
St. Cecilia, St. Henry and St. Charles.
Brief History of the Churches
In 1886, St Cecilia Mission Church celebrated its first Mass in the Irish settlement belonging to the Diocese of Grand Rapids. In 1888, St. Cecilia became part of the diocese of Detroit, and Mass was celebrated every three months by a priest visiting from Midland. In 1900, the cornerstone was laid for St. Cecilia Catholic Church. In 1924, the church was completely destroyed by fire. In 1925, the cornerstone for new building featuring fireproof roof tiles was built, followed by the rectory. In 1950, the parishioners showed their dedication to the future by laying the cornerstone for St. Cecilia parochial school. St. Cecilia Church became part of the Diocese of Saginaw in 1971 and as church membership continued to grow, a new church was built in 1988.
St. Charles Mission Leaton was built in 1906 and served by Sacred Heart of Mt. Pleasant. In 1929, St. Charles became a mission of St. Henry’s. In 1942 an addition was added to the Church, which included a sacristy and sanctuary.
During the first several years Mass was celebrated only every second week, usually on Saturday. In 1914, when Sacred Heart received an associate priest, a regular Sunday Mass schedule was established.
In 1966, the parish Board of Finance was established and the financial accounts of St. Henry and St. Charles were joined. Representatives from both churches were added on the parish council and commissions. They became one parish with two churches.
St Henry Church began in 1874 when it was known as Vernon Center, a mission of St. Joseph’s of East Saginaw. The real beginning of the Catholic Mission of Vernon was on October 15, 1874, when Fr. Richard Sweeney of St. Joseph’s celebrated Mass at the Bogan home. After Mass, he gave instructions to the faithful and baptized 5 babies.
In 1882, plans were made to build a permanent church. It was finished in 1887 and dedicated by Bishop Henry Ricter for his patron saint, St. Henry the Emperor. The church seated over 300 and cost $1000.00.
A primary need of this new parish was a cemetery which was established in 1894 followed by the rectory which was finished and occupied in 1905.
The school, known at that time as St. Henry Academy, was first planned in 1910 and completed and opened in August, 1915, as a boarding school.
The original church burned completely on February 21, 1922. Mass was celebrated in the school until 1923 when a new church was partially completed across the road, just east of the cemetery. Mass was then celebrated in the basement until the completion of the main body in 1941.
The church and the school were renovated in the early sixties.