Through our heritage we develop our values in life. The founding members of St. Patrick Church dedicated their lives to building a Christian community which has served as a foundation for the many individuals who followed. The spirit of our forebearers continues to be an inspiration to each generation. Following their example, we carry on a commitment to our God. It is our desire to pass on to future generations the same dedication which has always been the way of life in this community.

Between 1845 and 1850, a number of Irish came to the United States, especially when the potato crop failed in Ireland. It took many weeks to cross the Atlantic in their small sailing ships. In response to letters from relatives and friends already established here, about 90 men and women came to Ohio. Several individuals came to Xenia and obtained jobs constructing the Columbus & Xenia Railroad. Records indicate that about 35 men, who had helped bring the first railroad to London, settled here and began farming. They sent word of the new life to their relatives abroad. The result was a migration of Catholic settlers to Madison County. These people traveled in open vehicles over roads that were little more than cow paths, often as far as ten miles, to attend Mass.

The first Mass of record was in 1849 in a large boarding house at the northwest corner of Second and Walnut Streets. From the spring of 1849 to 1851, Mass was said in London, mostly at three-month intervals, by several priests from various churches from surrounding areas. Born in Ireland, Fr. Maurice Howard was the first priest to administer regularly to the spiritual needs of the London area people. Mass was celebrated monthly in the private homes of different Irish families.

Fr. Thomas Blake, in September 1851, was assigned to St. Brigid, Xenia, Ohio; and in the fall of 1852 was also given charge of the London mission. The new railroad gave him a direct route to London, and he frequently made the trip by handcar. It was Fr. Blake who officiated at the first Catholic marriage ceremony in London.

On October 22,1855, a lot was purchased on 11 W. Center Street for $150, and a small frame church named "St. John the Evangelist" was dedicated in the fall of 1856. This church served the community for nearly ten years.

The first pastor, Fr. John Mary Conway, was born in County Tipperary, Ireland in 1842 and ordained to the priesthood December 20, 1864. Fr. Conway's first appointment was to London, Ohio. He celebrated his first Mass in London on Christmas Day in 1864.

Even before Fr. Conway's arrival, thoughts had turned to a new church. On October 25, 1864, Thomas and James Dwyer bought lot 61 for $600, where St. Patrick Church stands today.

Plans were formulated and excavation started. The cornerstone was laid September 17, 1865. A small box containing the date of the ceremonies, the names of the bishop and the pastor and other facts relating to the church were deposited in the cornerstone. On Sunday, November 18, 1866, Archbishop John B. Purcell dedicated the beautiful new church. The church was dedicated to God, in honor of Ireland's patron, Saint Patrick because of the number of Irish immigrants then settling in London. It was impossible for half the crowd to get inside. There were about 3,000 persons present at the ceremony. The cost of the original building of St Patrick Church with residence was approximately $30,000.

Originally designed by Thomas O'Hara, of Cincinnati, the marble altar was intended for Rev. John B. Murray of Chillicothe. Due to some misunderstanding, the altar was not accepted. Soon afterward, representatives from St. Mary Church in Lancaster, Ohio went to Cincinnati to buy the altar. Again, a sale was not made. Fr. Conway heard about the altar and, impressed with its beauty, purchased it for $3,000.

In 1865, Fr. Conway established St. Patrick Cemetery. Saints Simon and Jude Church in West Jefferson, Ohio was started in 1866 and was completed under Fr. Conway's management. Fr. Conway had established a school in the church on Center Street. At Fr. Conway's invitation in 1874, the Ursuline Sisters founded St. Joseph School on Walnut St., which later became St. Patrick School. Fr. Conway died in California on August 1, 1896. As he had requested, he was returned to his beloved St. Patrick Parish and buried in St. Patrick Cemetery in the Priests' Circle.

During the pastorate of Fr. Abraham McNamara, in 1910 the current rectory was ready for occupancy. It contained modern conveniences, well-seasoned quartered oak and steam heat. An annual report for 1910 lists the cost of the house at $10,383. Also in 1910 the church underwent renovation. The church was extended to the alley and the whole structure was veneered with a hard cement, giving it the appearance of a stone structure. The Good Samaritan and Holy Family windows, which were donated, were valued at $180 each. The Holy Spirit window, above the main altar, was valued at $65. Many of the stained-glass windows and the present Stations of the Cross were obtained during the 1911 renovation. Fr. McNamara gave the parish a life-size statue of St. Patrick. On Sunday, April 12,1911, the newly renovated St. Patrick Church was consecrated for the second time.

Fr. William Clark served the parish for 17 years from 1925 until his death in 1942. Fr. Clark was part of St. Patrick Parish's long history of ministry to prisoners which continues to this day. Fr. Clark was Chaplain of the London Prison Farm for 14 years and spent countless hours with the poor, hungry, and elderly people during the Depression.

After being in the Cincinnati Archdiocese since its beginning, St. Patrick Parish was transferred to the Columbus Diocese in 1945, during the pastorate of Fr. David Powers. A notable accomplishment of Fr. Edward Reidy was the building of the current St Patrick School (1957-58) and a new convent for the Sisters of Mercy (1958). Fr. Reidy was the first pastor to provide school transportation, buying two used school buses in 1958.

Fr. Healey succeeded Fr. Reidy in 1964. Fr. Healey began implementing the goals of the Second Vatican Council on November 29,1964, by celebrating the parish's first Mass with the celebrant facing the congregation. That was also the date, throughout the United States, when the Mass was said in English for the first time.

The Sisters of Mercy, after many years of service to the school and parish, left in 1980 because of lack of vocations.

Fr. Romano Ciotola, known as "Fr. Romano,' served St. Patrick Parish from 1976 to 1987. He initiated Eucharistic Ministers to assist with the distribution of Communion at Mass and to shut-ins. He also called together church and community leaders to establish a food pantry known today as "Madison County Food Pantry." During the pastorate of Fr. Donald Maroon a major accomplishment was the construction of St. Patrick Parish Center. Groundbreaking was held on November 9,1997. The building was dedicated by Bishop James A. Griffin on January 10, 1999.

Fr. Theodore K. Sill, former Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Columbus started his first assignment as a pastor here at St. Patrick parish in July, 1999. Among his achievements is the restructuring of Parish Council and one of his goals was to promote even greater involvement of parish members.

Fr. Mark Ghiloni became pastor of St. Patrick Church in 2010 and continues the work of the Church through many avenues that reach out to the community.  Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we have an active parish community that will be celebrating its 150th Anniversary in 2016.

Throughout our parish history there have been many pastors, members and changes, as we evolve in becoming one in the body of Christ.

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