St. Timothy Catholic Church History
St. Timothy Roman Catholic Church, celebrating its centennial in 2025, in the West Rogers Park area, proudly looks back on a long tradition of involvement and service to the community. Established by His Eminence George Cardinal Mundelein in April 1925, the parish boundaries were defined by Pratt to the north, Peterson to the south, Western to the east, and the North Branch of the Chicago River to the west. At that time the parish was intended to serve the largely Irish population. Church property at Washtenaw and Rosemont was mostly surrounded by small truck farms, although many single family homes and apartments were being built. The first pastor, Monsignor James P. Kiely, began his ministry in a portable church while construction got underway on a combined church-school building in Colonial style. St. Timothy School opened in the fall of 1926 with the Sisters of St. Benedict from Duluth, Minnesota. Their Mother House was established in 1892. The work of the sisters was teaching and nursing for many years and has grown to include various types of social work and pastoral ministry. Their schools today include elementary schools in Phoenix, Washington D.C., Chicago and various cities in Minnesota. It would be impossible to list all the sisters and teachers who have served at St. Timothy, but the following acted as principals: Sr. Philomene O'Connell ,Sr. Pauline Durocher , Sr. Isobel McKeague , Sr. Marianne St. Marie,Sr. Charlotte Schulte , Sr. Joyce Fournier, Sr. Mary Martin Beringer , Sr. Joseph Maire Durocher and Sr. Arlene Kleemann .St. Timothy School was built to accommodate 240 students. Gn opening day, there were 292 children present and additional classrooms were fitted in the school basement. As the Great Depression continued through the '30s, Father Kiely shelved plans for a separate church building as too great a burden for the parishioners. He concerned himself not only with church interests, but also with those of the surrounding community. Along with others, he was instrumental in the first paving of Devon Avenue, the installation of street lights, and the extension of the street car to Kedzie Avenue. Monsignor Kiely was pastor for 41 years. His successors in the role of pastor were: Rev. Francis A. West (1966-1975), Rev. Gilbert A. Carroll (1975-1983), Rev. Daniel P. McCarthy (1983-1986) , Rev. Harold B. Murphy (1986-2006),and Fr. Peter Fernandes, sfx( 2006-2018). Fr. Jose Baptitsta, sfx, is the current pastor.
In 1991 St. Timothy Church was to be the community of faith for some 650 Catholic families. Its ethnic composition truly reflects the global village: Irish, Germans, Poles, Italians, Filipinos,, Koreans, Indians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and many others. Today we have about 300 families in the parish with a heritage of over 34 countries.
In addition, the parish has been a force for economic and social stability as well as a center for friendship and good will in the area. More than 2,100 students have been graduated from the parish grammar school. Those graduates have gone on to fulfill a wide range of different positions and walk in many various paths. The parish tradition of social events has brought a sense of joyful celebration for everyone in the community. Over the years, the parish has maintained associations with the North Town Community Council, the Rogers Park Inter-Faith Council, and other organizations . Mindful of a common heritage, the people of St. Timothy's take particular pride in many close personal and professional associations with their Jewish neighbors, "the first to hear the word of God."