Our History

St Michaels ChurchTo write about the history of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, one has to go back in history in the founding of our country and to the French exploration and settlement of Canada. Pere Marquette and his companions came through the territory, which is now the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. This was in 1673. Missionaries authorized by the Bishop of Quebec evangelized the area for more than one hundred years. In 1789, the newly established Diocese of Baltimore absorbed this area. Bishop, Carroll authorized a German Carmelite priest, Reverend Paul De St. Pierre, to function as priest in the western country.

He came to Illinois in 1785, and took up his station at Cahokia. He ministered until 1790.

Divisions of the state into two separate dioceses came about on July 29, 1853. This marks the birthday of the present Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The see was established in Quincy and composed the territory which is now the Springfield and Belleville Dioceses.

Rt. Rev. Joseph Melcher, the vicar general of St. Louis was named the first bishop of Quincy, but he declined and the vacant see was placed in the administration of Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis until the see of Chicago, also vacant at the time, was filled by the appointment of Bishop O’Regan in 1854. He administered the affairs until 1857.

The Holy See in Rome transferred the see of Quincy to Alton on January 9, 1857 because Quincy was not the center of the diocese. There still was not resident Bishop.

The first bishop of the diocese was Rt. Rev. Henry Damian Juncker, a native of Lorraine and a priest of the Diocese of Cincinnati. He was ordained on April 16, 1857. There were 58 parish churches, 30 missions, 28 priests and 50,000 Catholics in the diocese.

The second bishop in September 24, 1869, was Rt. Rev. Peter Joseph Baltes, a native of Bavaria. He died on February 15, 1886. At the time of his death there were 126 parish churches, 77 mission churches, 138 diocesan priests and a Catholic population of 109,000 in the entire southern half of Illinois.

The Belleville Diocese was formed with the 28 southernmost counties in Illinois. The diocese of Alton continued during this time. Rt. Rev. James Ryan, a native of Ireland became the bishop of Alton. At the time of his death, the diocese numbered 120 parish churches, 42 missions, 172 diocesan priests and population of 87,000 Catholics.

Pope Pius XI named the fourth bishop of the diocese. He was from Chicago, and a pastor of Joliet. He was Bishop James A. Griffin. On October 26, 1923, the see of the diocese had been changed from Alton to the state capital, Springfield. Bishop Griffin had to now construct the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which was dedicated on October 14, 1927. Bishop Griffin died on August 5, 1948. At the time of his death, there were 133 parish churches, 43 missions, 217 diocesan priests, and population of 105,173 Catholics.

Bishop William A. O’Connor was the next bishop to be installed on March 17, 1949. On July 22, 1975, Bishop O’Connor resigned because of age.

Bishop Joseph A. McNicholas was then made bishop and served from 1975 till his death in 1983.

Bishop Daniel L. Ryan was then appointed bishop by Pope John II and served from 1994 to 2000. Bishop Ryan retired and became an active retired bishop in the Springfield Diocese.

Bishop George J. Lucas became the next appointed bishop for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Bishop Lucas was ordained in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield in Illinois and installed on December 14, 1999.

From the history of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, we have emerging the small parish of St. Michael’s in Hume, Illinois in 1876. The parish grew from a farmhouse in the country where Mass was celebrated whenever a priest would be coming from Paris, Illinois.

The people of the parish constructed a white frame wooden building. The membership of the parish was small, but strong in faith. A coal stove and lighted with kerosene lamps heated the building.

Some remodeling was done to the church in Father Ahern’s time. It is said that his housekeeper made the mud for laying bricks and that he laid the bricks that cover the white frame church. The bell tower was moved to a position that when the bell rang it would not do damage to the church. The bell was brought from St. Louis and donated by Michael and Margaret (Tager) Smith (Schmidt) families. Later Mrs. James Barrett had it programmed to ring different times, especially the Angelus.

A brick rectory was built some time after the frame church. A new parish Life Center building, which consists of parish hall and small apartment was built and dedicated in 1973. The center includes classrooms for the religion classes taught in the parish and a large hall for the purpose of dinners and other functions that are held. The center stands on the ground that the old rectory was on.

The following priests have served at one time at St. Michael’s:

Rev. Thomas M. Moore
1899 Died ?

Rev. George Hensey
1905 died 1934

Rev. James Walsh
1909 died 1939

Rev. James Ahern
1912 died 1955

Rev. John Flaherty
1925 died ?

Rev. William Wozniak
1929 died 1939

Rev. Richard McKeough
1930 died 1981

Rev. Frank Lawler
1936 died 1986

Rev. Joseph Drackert
1939 died 1986

Rev. John Diggins
1948 died 1961

Rev. Charles Juzaitis
1948 died 1961

Rev. John Bretz
1949 died 2000

Rev. William Stanley
1956 died 1989

Rev. Edward Adamski
1960 died 1990

Rev. Gerald. McCoughey
1969 died 1986

Rev. Walter Weerts

Rev. James O’Shea

Rev. Michael Kuse

Rev. Joseph Diezel

Rev. Michael Jenkins

Rev. Charles Mulcrome

Rev. Paul Skelton
1987- 2014

Rev. David Zimmerman