History

In 1905 five acres of land was donated to Bishop Allen of the Mobile Diocese by the Baldwin County Colonization Company for a Catholic Church and rectory. In 1907, Bishop Allen asked Abbot Bernard Menges of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman Alabama to supply a German speaking priest for the colonists in Elberta, most of whom were Austrian Hungarians. Fr. Gammelbert Brunner, O.S.B. was subsequently sent to establish the parish.

Fr. Adam Heibel, the only priest ever to serve here who was not a Benedictine monk, built the first church in 1911.

The pastors who followed are George Lester, O.S.B., 1914; Thomas Stemmler, O.S.B., 1916; Leo Mayer, O.S.B., 1922; Celestine Mittermeier, O.S. B., 1928; Alphonse Klug, O.S. B., 1933; Ignatius Mayer, O.S. B., 1936; Gabriel Germann, O.S. B., 1952; Mark Mages, O.S. B., 1974; Gerald Kitts, O.S. B., 1977; Ignatius Kane, O.S. B., 1979; Malachy Shanaghan, O.S. B., 1980; Victor Clark, O.S. B., 1983; 1983; Columban Geerken, O.S. B., 1987. Fr. Howard Mossier, O.S. B., became the last Benedictine pastor in 1992. Fr. Ronald Gajetten became the pastor in 2011; Fr. James N Dean came in 2013; and Msgr Stephen E Martin came in June of 2015 to be the current pastor.

Under Fr. Gabriel’s direction, the new school, convent, church and rectory were built. The Benedictine sisters from the Sacred Heart Convent, Cullman staffed the school (St. Benedict Interparochial School) until 1992.

During Fr. Howard’s administration a computer lab, pre-K 4 building and a gymnasium were added to the school and the Benedictine Parish Hall was built behind the church.

 

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