Saint Andrew Parish began in 1894, just two years after the formerly independent town of Lake View had been incorporated into the City of Chicago. On October 12, 1894, in response to requests by some 100 English-speaking area residents, Archbishop Patrick Feehan assigned Reverend Andrew Croke to establish Saint Andrew Parish. The first Mass celebrated by the fledgling community was held in a hall above a saloon at the corner of Roscoe and Lincoln Avenue. The first church, a simple wooden structure, was built at Addison and Paulina Streets in 1894 and opened its doors for Mass on Christmas Day, 1895. The church was dedicated on January 6, 1896.
Fr. Croke’s top priority became filling the need for a sound Catholic education for the children of St. Andrew. On the corner of Hermitage and Addison Streets, a three-story brick structure was built for the school. Father Croke wisely recruited the Sisters of Providence from St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana for academic leadership. Fr. Croke also began creating organizations and social events. Before long a County Fair was sponsored by the church and continued annually for many years.
With the go-ahead from then Archbishop James E. Quigley, a new church was erected on the very ground of the outdated little wooden church which had been rolled across the street to make room for the modern Romanesque brick structure with twin towers. Fr. Croke’s administration ended with his death on April 28, 1924.
Father David L. McDonald arrived in 1924. His focus was to build a new school structure. Construction began on the school in April, 1925. In eight short months, the three-story school with 24 classrooms was complete. The old school was redesigned to become the chapel and auditorium and additions were made to the rectory. The new convent was built just west of the school in 1929. Fr. McDonald started the St. Andrew carnival that went on for years and was one of the first pastors to use the weekly collection envelope for all the parishioners. Fr. McDonald died in July 1930.
In 1930 Monsignor William R. Griffin was named pastor. Monsignor Griffin renovated, redecorated and added an extra sixty feet to the existing church building. The new church was dedicated on October 23, 1932. Monsignor Griffin also saved $15,000 in Catholic Bonds to be used for construction of a new gymnasium in memory of Monsignor McDonald. In 1935 Monsignor Griffin was selected to be Bishop of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Bishop Bernard J. Shiel arrived in 1935 with the motto “the right of children to play is the inalienable right of childhood, but their recreation should be wholesome and supervised.” Bishop Shiel founded the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) and constructed the gym on northeast corner of Paulina and Addison. With a seating capacity of 3000, the gym became the long time home for CYO and Golden Gloves boxing tournaments. Bishop Shiel also purchased the School Annex. Under Bishop Shiel’s administration the Chapel basement became a recreation hall and club rooms for scouting groups. Bishop Sheil retired in May 1966.
Monsignor John S. Quinn, appointed pastor in 1966, oversaw Vatican II changes to building and ritual, carrying Saint Andrew through tumultuous times. Monsignor Quinn also established ministries for senior citizens that evolved into the Golden Leisure Club which still meets regularly today.
In June 1977, Fr. John Parker was assigned as an associate. In 1980 the last of the Providence sisters left and the convent was converted into the Shelter of God’s Love which cares for elderly and handicapped individuals. After becoming pastor in 1986, Fr. John Parker focused on building maintenance and involving parishioners in the formation of the Athletic Association and the Parents’ Club. Fr. Parker replaced all of the school windows in the late 1980’s, reopened the School Annex as a preschool in 1992, started an after school program to aid working parents, and established the Ministry of Care program to reach out to the homebound and hospitalized.
Reverend John A. Farry, known as Fr. Jack, arrived at Saint Andrew in 2000. With buildings complete, and many ministries in place, Fr. Farry has focused on involving more parishioners in the day-to-day workings of the parish through establishing advisory committees to ensure Saint Andrew Parish remains viable in the future. The advisory committees include Liturgy, Finance, Facilities, Technology, Strategy and Development. On June 30th 2009 Fr. Farry retired and became Pastor Emeritus. His replacement as Pastor of Saint Andrew is Fr. Sergio Romo. Fr. Sergio continues the growing tradition of participation and involvement of parishioners in our vibrant community.
Today Saint Andrew Parish serves over 1200 families. From the Baby Bulldog playgroup to the Golden Leisure Senior Club, everyone can find a place at Saint Andrew. In addition to Sunday Mass services, a growing teen group and a vibrant young adult community invite parishioners to join in social and outreach ministries regularly. Having begun a second century of service, our parish community can take pride in its heritage of generous, enthusiastic parishioners and dedicated leadership.