On January 30, 1946, Bishop John J. Boylan appointed Father Raymond P. Gordon to be the new pastor of a not yet built St. Bridget’s parish. That following August, a tent was erected and the first public mass was celebrated on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th). Located on the corner of North 2nd St. and Riverside Blvd. the parish needed to find a better site to house the church to be built. So eventually nine acres of land were bought at the current Clifford address and that was expanded to twenty-five acres over the first few years.
Ten years from the establishing of St. Bridget, the new church was opened and the first Mass celebrated on Pentecost Sunday (May 20, 1956). At that same time the school was being completed and opened in September 1956 for Kindergarten through seventh grade. An eighth grade class was added the following year. The school was staffed by Adrian Dominicans and having no convent, they resided at the Muldoon convent until a convent was completed in 1961. That building currently serves as the Rectory and Parish Offices.
"The history of any Parish is a history of its people and their genuine dedication to the cause of Christ and our Blessed Lady. As your Parish Priest for thirty-seven happy years, I have begged God in every Mass to bless and reward you for your generous cooperation. No people could have been more loyal and sacrificing. You shared with me the many trials we were subject to in the founding years of our wonderful Parish. Every cross, problem and difficulty only paved the way for greater blessings and made us more determined and prayerful to accomplish the task of building a Church, School, Convent and Rectory in Loves Park."
Father Raymond P. Gordon - July 21, 1983
August 2, 1987 was the ground-breaking ceremony for the establishment of a newer church, which is the Church seen today. It was opened the following year and the first mass celebrated was at noon on October 30, 1988. The former church was de-consecrated and converted into a gymnasium for the school.
"We are a Catholic faith community dedicated to Jesus Christ as we actively live out God's call through the Spirit to worship and serve in both Word and Sacrament. We have come from humble beginnings in a tent in 1946 and 67 families to the dedication of a new church in October of 1988. The faith community of St. Bridget continues to grow and mature. In the days and years ahead, we must strive, as those who preceded us, to become more perfect images of the Lord."
Monsignor John J. Mitchell - June 13, 1996
Because our roots were heavily integrated with the Swedish and the Irish, the parish took the name “St. Bridget of Ireland”. That is why we spell ‘Bridget’ in the Swedish manner rather than the Irish, which would be ‘Brigid’.
On August 15, 2021, we celebrated our 75th Anniversary as a parish, and we gave thanks to God for all the blessings received over the years. A parish exists to nourish the people of God with His Presence, so that we are equipped to be His disciples in the world. It has been quite a journey! We pray that God will provide all the graces we need to continue the journey of faith as a parish community. May all we do be for the glory of God, and the building up of the Church! Click 75th Anniversary to see highlights.
Pastors at St. Bridget
Fr. Raymond P. Gordon (1946- 1983)
Msgr. John J. Mitchell (1983-2007)
Fr. Burt H. Absalon (2007-2013)
Msgr. Daniel J. Deutsch (2013-2019)
Msgr. Stephen J. Knox (2019-Present)