History of St. Pius Oratory
The History of St. Pius Oratory.
In the early 1850's, the Trappist monks of St. Mellerary, Dubuque, IA ventured north with hopes to establish a monastery in Wexford. The venture didn't turn out as planned but Reverend Francis Walsh chose to remain at Wexford for a few years.
In 1855, Father Walsh directed the erection of Cherry Mound Church. The pastoral name given was St. Pius V, a pope of the 16th century who worked for the reform of the Church. St.Pius is commonly known as Cherry Mound due to the abundance of cherry trees growing at the site during its early years.
The first Church was made of logs with wooden, hand-hewn benches as pews. Mass was held about once a month whenever the priest from Wexford was able to make the trip. News of when the services were held spread by word of mouth. Father Thomas Hore probably celebrated the first Mass in the area.
In 1875, the original Church structure had become too small for the growing congregation, a new one was built a few yards away. Chances were sold and the old Church was raffled off at a dance.
The outline of the old foundation can still be found and its marked by a large crucifix standing on the spot where the Altar once stood.
On the back of the Altar in the Church an inscription can be found with the name of the first baby Baptized, Mary Brennan (Mayme) Hart.
Money for operating expenses was raised by raffles, parish dinners, bazaars, pew rent, donating cords of woods for fuel, selling of crops and other events. Many of the social events were held under the big shade trees and the bowery that was located just NE of the Church.
The Church was a Mission Church until 1891 when it received its first resident pastor, Father John Horsfield, who saw to the building of a rectory across the road.
Besides the locals, the Church also welcomed visitors from several miles away that felt they were not dressed well enough to go the Churches in town. This tradition holds true as campers from Yellow River Forest, hunters and travelers stop to worship on Sunday mornings.
In 1958, a former school house was acquired to serve as a parish hall a few miles up the road in Rossville.
In 1976, Cherry Mound went back to being a Mission Church affiliated with St. Mary's of McGregor. The rectory was rented and the downstairs was used for CCD and for the brides to get ready for their weddings.
In 1993, the hall in Rossville and rectory were sold and a new facility was built attached to the church to hold all the events.
In 1999 the passion of missionary work kept the doors open when Father Louis Trzil agreed to commuted from Wexford to offer Mass. In 2010 due to health resaons Father Trzyl retired.
One hundred and fifty six years later (2011) after the first stone was laid, St. Pius Cherry Mound is now in Oratory.