On July 4, 1947, the Independence Day holiday was celebrated in and around the city of Fort Wayne with fireworks, picnics, marching bands and the flag; but there was extra-special rejoicing by local Catholics as then-Bishop John F. Noll announced he had directed Father William Faber to establish a new parish on State Street so the overflow crowd at Most Precious Blood Church would have a new place to worship, in their own neighborhood.
This church was to be named Queen of Angels, and the groundbreaking was May 22, 1950. That was followed by construction that became delayed by severe snowstorms from November 1950 until March 1951. The attached school was opened on Sept. 21, 1951, and staffed by Precious Blood Sisters. Sister Mary Sienna Langhois was the first principal and 83 students were enrolled in the two classrooms that served four grades.
The first Mass — a wedding Mass — was celebrated on Oct. 6, 1951. The next day, Oct. 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary, Msgr. Charles Feltes, chancellor of the diocese, dedicated the church, which had 255 registered families.
Sister Matilda Boyert became principal of the school in 1956, and in 1957 a seven-room addition was constructed.
Father Robert Hammond served as assistant pastor from 1955-60. He was replaced by Father Dennis Blank, who was assistant pastor at the parish until 1964.
Spring 1962 brought the breaking of ground for the new sisters’ convent, which was completed Oct. 7. In 1964, Father David Carkenord became assistant pastor at the parish, serving for nine years.
Changes came to the growing parish and school in the fall of 1972: Now-Msgr. Faber became pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Kendallville and Father Robert Hammond, a former assistant pastor, was appointed the second pastor of Queen of Angels. Also in 1974, the Precious Blood Sisters left the school after 23 years of service. In 1973-74, Father Donald Gillig served the parish briefly as assistant pastor, as did Father Brian Carsten in 1974.
Msgr. Stanley Manoski was appointed pastor of Queen of Angels parish in July 1974, and Father Laurence Tippman as assistant pastor in September 1974. The new principal was Sister Johnine Heinze, a Dominican sister.
Mary Waning, a longtime parishioner, remembered when she first joined Queen of Angels School as a fifth-grade teacher and a member of the parish community, in 1972.
“I joined the church because I wanted to be part of the community where my students went to school and church,” said Waning. “Also, I liked the idea of a smaller community. This is a large, friendly neighborhood church where members knew each other, and the families worked together by volunteering for many different events. Three of our four children were baptized there, three made their first Communion, and two were confirmed at our parish.”
In the summer of 1980, Marjorie Mommer became the first lay principal of Queen of Angels School and Father Edward Krason was assigned as Queen of Angels priest in residence. A convent was remodeled into a rectory that year as well.
Msgr. Manoski retired in July 1982 and Father Barry England was appointed pastor. In 1983, Steven Bloomfield became principal of the school and Msgr. J. William Lester came to live in residence. In September 1983, kindergarten was begun in the school.
The parish, after much hard work and many sacrifices, added an activities center in the spring of 1998, which included a gym, kitchen and meeting rooms. The center was named for the parish’s founding pastor, Msgr. Faber, who joined in the celebration of the parish’s 50th anniversary Mass and the official groundbreaking for the activities center on Sept.14, 1997.
January 2003 saw an extensive renovation of the parish and sanctuary. In August 2005, Father Gary Sigler was appointed the church’s seventh pastor. In June 2007, the parish residence at 2312 Cambridge Blvd. was sold with the diocese’s permission. The parish office was renovated to include private living quarters for the pastor.
In July 2014, Father Ajay Tiru was assigned to Queen of Angels parish as its ninth and current pastor, and Queen of Angels School is proud to offer students in preschool through eighth grade a Catholic education in the West State street neighborhood.
Queen of Angels
1500 W. State Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46808
Saturday: 4 p.m.
Sunday: 8, 10:30 a.m.
Holy Day: Consult bulletin
Weekday: T, W, F 8:30 a.m.;
M, Th 7 p.m.
Adoration: Tues. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Reconciliation: Saturday 9-9:30 a.m.; 3-3:45 p.m.; M and Th 6:30-6:50 p.m. and by appointment.
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