Ron Busch
Freelance Writer
February 14, 2017 // Parish

St. Therese parishioners minister through service

Ron Busch
Freelance Writer

A church is more than brick and mortar, and St. Therese is no exception, as one can see from the parish’s numerous school and church activities. St. Therese not only offers many traditional Catholic Church activities, but also operates a food pantry for local families in need. The church and school are located in Waynedale, in the southwest part of Fort Wayne.

Parish history

St. Therese established its roots over 70 years ago, when Father Herman Schoudel was assigned on Nov. 13, 1946, to begin plans for a parish that was to be located in Waynedale.

While the plans were underway, Mass was said for this community at the Wayne Township School gymnasium. Eventually, in November of 1947, approval was given to purchase an Army chapel located at Baer Field’s Army Air Base. In January of 1948 the chapel was moved to the grounds of the church and was followed by a renovation and dedication the following October.

In addition to the church and a school, a chapel is located on the grounds of St. Therese Parish — a faith community on the southwest side of Fort Wayne.

Tragedy struck the parish on Feb. 24, 1950, when a fire in the church caused major damage. After extensive repairs, a second fire in December 1970 caused irreparable damage. Church activities were moved into the school building near the church. Masses were held in the school building for some 30 years until plans were laid for a new church in August 2000.

In the interim years the church dedicated a new parish hall/gymnasium. In April of 1986 it adopted St. Maximilian Kolbe in Honduras as its sister parish, and coordinates parish activities throughout the year to benefit that parish.

Plans for a modern church building were initiated in August of 2000 and on April 13, 2003, the first Mass was celebrated in the new St. Therese Church. The current church grounds include a school building, parish hall/gymnasium, the church and a rectory that is also utilized for parish offices.

Parish activities

In addition to the school, the church of 518 families has a Youth Ministry for grades 5-12, Knights of Columbus Council No. 9460, a Holy Name Society and Rosary Society, a prayer Line, United for Life group, and a St. Vincent de Paul Society group. The food pantry is operated by volunteers of the St. Vincent de Paul group.

The pastor of St. Therese Catholic Church is Father Lawrence Teteh, CSSp. Father Teteh has been pastor since June 21, 2011. He stated, “There are lots of rewarding things about working here in the parish; for example, parishioners always come through when we need them for our school and church. There is a good spirit of volunteering and the parish and school render lots of service even to the wider community. People are welcoming, and friendly. We have a strong core group of parishioners.”

That strong core group of parishioners includes Linda Thomas, director of religious education and RCIA activities. The music ministry, led by Music Director Beverly Rieger, even has its own music blog found at:  And the newly formed St. Therese Ringers, a group of chimes players, began rehearsal on Feb. 1.

Other activities have included a Mardi Gras party for parish adults and a spaghetti dinner fundraisers for the School. More church and school activities can be found in the weekly parish bulletin.

St. Therese school is proud of its hardworking honor students.

St. Therese School

St.Therese School has 200 students in grades pre-K to eight. As the only Catholic school and church in Waynedale,  St. Therese is a feeder school for Bishop Luers High School, also located on the south side of Fort Wayne.

It’s difficult to talk about St. Therese School without mention of former principal Charles Grimm, who became ill last August and passed on to be with our Lord. Jeanette Donovan, who taught fourth and fifth grades for eight years under Grimm, was asked to assume the principal duties and graciously assumed the difficult task. Donovan remarked, “I feel like I am the quarterback of a great team here at St. Therese. We all work together in our new situation. I think my greatest reward this year is feeling like I have been there to help make the other teachers’ jobs easier when I can. I have wanted to be the steady face each child sees smiling at them in the morning, and the last one that says goodbye in the evening.”

Father Lawrence Teteh has shepherded the Fort Wayne parish since 2011.

Once the newer church was constructed and Masses at St. Therese were no longer held in the school, classrooms were added. In fact, the school expanded its footprint. St. Therese students also have the luxury of a location next to the Waynedale Branch Library, which makes for a very short field trip for research and other school projects.

Principal Donovan stated that the ultimate goal at St. Therese School is to develop students that are faithful, productive and responsible students. “We want them to be proud to say, ‘I am a St. Therese graduate,’ and we want to be proud to say, ‘They are our St. Therese graduates.’

The addition of the attractive and aesthetic church in 2003 has added a significant landmark to the Waynedale and southwest Fort Wayne community. It’s a place where parishioners worship the Lord with both pride and a sense of purpose, in service to God in Waynedale and the southwest Fort Wayne community.

St. Therese

2304 Lwr. Huntington Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46819-1299


Mass Times:

Saturday: 8 a.m., 5 p.m. 

Sunday: 8, 11 a.m.
(Summer 8, 10 a.m.)

Weekday W, F – 8:45 a.m.; T, Th – 5:30 p.m. (Summer W, F – 7:30 a.m.; T, Th – 5:30 p.m.)


Reconciliation: After daily Mass; Saturday 4 p.m. 


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