TheCatholic Church 

Catholics Held MeetingsHere As Early As 1838

Rushville had a small Catholicgroup, numbering eight families, as early as 1838, a fact that is certifiedby the reports of missionary priests coming from St. Louis, Mo. Previousto the year 1844, the western part of Illinois was included in the jurisdictionof the bishop of St. Louis, and many prominent priests visited Rushvillein that early period. Of these may be mentioned Father Peter Paul Lefevere,later bishop of Detroit, Mich., who referred to Rushville as a possibleoutmission of the old ghost parish, Fountain Green. This was in 1836, soeven as early as 1836 there must have been several Catholic families inor near Rushville. Father Felix Van Quickenborne, a pioneer Jesuit missionary,and Father George A. Hamilton, Sr., a relative of Archbishop J. L. Spaulding’sforebears, visited Rushville in the 1830’s.

Springfield was a missioncenter as early as 1839. Father Hamilton ranged over the surrounding country,the heart of the present Springfield diocese in Illinois. The first Catholicchurch in Mt. Sterling was erected in 1849, and for many years thereafterwas the base of missionary visitations to all the Catholic settlementsof Brown county. Rushville was one of the early dependencies of Mt. Sterling.The Catholic directory of 1854 states that Father William Feeley, pastorof the Catholic church at Mt. Sterling, occasionally visited Rushvilleand Bath, in the Chicago diocese.

The Peoria diocese was erectedin 1875, and Schuyler county was included in the jurisdiction of the bishopof Peoria. The first bishop, Most Reverend J. L. Spaulding, came to Peoriain May, 1877.

The late date of 1870, atwhich the first Catholic church, St. Rose, was built in Rushville, is easilyexplained by the fact that in pioneer days priests were permitted to celebrateMass in the homes of their parishioners, or in public buildings rentedor leased for this purpose. Today this concession is granted only in graveemergencies.

St. Rose Catholic church,which is located on West Adams street in Rushville, does not have a residentpriest, but regular services are held each Sunday morning by the churchpastor, Rev. Father Gordon of Bushnell.

The Rushville Times,October 7, 1948
The Rushville Times usedby permission.

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