Our Lady of Humility: 1950-1954
After the Second World War, the Catholic family communities of Zion, Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and rural Northeastern Lake County experienced an accelerated population growth. Parishioners had to drive for miles to either the St. Patrick Church in Wadsworth, Illinois or the St. Anastasia Church in Waukegan, Illinois.
The seeds of our Church were planted on Wednesday, November 16,1949 at the B. B. Pharmacy Dugout in Zion, Illinois. The purpose of this meeting of Catholic families was to discuss petitioning His Eminence, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, for the establishment of a mission parish to serve the spiritual needs of the Catholic families of Northeastern Lake County. The first Mass of this newly formed Mission Parish, and the first Mass in the history of Zion was celebrated on October 2,1950, in the Zion Theater by Father Joseph Garrity, pastor of St. Anastasia.
This was the beginning of our Mission Parish which then grew to 250 families by 1952.
Our Lady of Humility 1954-1978: Founding Pastor Rev. John E. Hayes
On September 8,1958 classes began in the new Our Lady of Humility School for grades one to six. The student body was comprised of 146 children. Blessing of the school was done on May 24,1960 by Cardinal Meyer. The present enrollment of 275 students, includes a kindergarten that was added in 1974. With the loyal support of the parishioners and the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, the school has been able to maintain a high level of educational excellence.
The complexion of the parish was and still is made up of many ethnic and racial backgrounds, blue and white collar workers, crafts persons and professionals. Their spiritual needs were initially ministered to by Fr. John Hayes with the assistance of such groups as the Women's Club, Mothers' Club and Men's Club. When money was needed, these and other groups would step in and develop, organize, and run a fundraiser to fill the financial needs. During Fr. Hayes' tenure as pastor, our school was threatened with closing because of a financial need and the possible loss of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus as faculty and staff. The parish support groups went to work looking for a fundraiser that would bring in the necessary funds to help with the support of both the church and the school. Bingo became the thing to do on a Saturday night. We've been very fortunate to have been able to share with Fr. Hayes many challenges over the years but also his fiftieth year as a priest, his seventieth birthday, and the burning of the initial mortgage!
In Loving Memory...
On December 25, 1999, Rev. John E. Hayes, founder and retired Pastor of Our Lady of Humility Catholic Church in Beach Park passed away . The Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Humility was said by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., and concelebrated by Bishops of the diocese, classmates, and priest friends on Thursday, December 30, 1999. Many parishioners with fond memories were in attendance for their Pastor Emeritus.
Father Hayes (91 years old) was born on June 18, 1908. He was ordained a priest on April 22, 1933, at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. He served as associate Pastor at St. Jerome Parish in Chicago from 1933 through 1941; Precious Blood Parish in Chicago from 1941 through 1948; and St. Mary Parish in Des Plaines from 1948 through 1954. On July 9, 1954, he was appointed by Samuel Cardinal Stritch "to form a new parish in the vicinity of Zion." The name of "Our Lady of Humility" was chosen by Cardinal Stritch in keeping with the Marian Year then being celebrated. It was an indication of the Cardinal's affection for the Chapel of Our Lady of Humility in which he had prayed during his student days in Rome at the American College. Cardinal Stritch dedicated Our Lady of Humility Church on November 18, 1956, and gave the picture of Our Lady of Humility to the parish where it hangs in the vestibule of the church to this day. During Father Hayes' 24 year tenure as Pastor, the parish membership grew to more than 850 families. In July of 1978, Fr. Hayes retired as Pastor and was named Pastor Emeritus. In the Spring of 1983, he celebrated his Golden Jubilee as a Priest. Fr. Hayes has continued to watch this parish grow. Our Lady of Humility covers approximately 25 square miles making it one of the largest areas covered by a parish of the 380 parishes in the Archdiocese. Since his retirement, Our Lady of Humility Parish has grown to 1,600 families to date. We are profoundly grateful to Fr. Hayes for founding and pastoring Our Lady of Humility Parish. He will be sadly missed by all. May he rest in peace.
Second Pastor: Rev. Edward J. Reading 1978 - 1983
Fr. Edward J. Reading was appointed pastor of Our Lady on July 1, 1978.
Fr. Reading's administration would develop, he would be responsible for the introduction of many new programs into the parish including the very successful Renew, which became a spiritual awakening for the parish. The following year, on October 21, 1979, the parish celebrated its Silver Jubilee with the highlight of the festivities being the burning of the mortgage.
Realizing that with the steady growth of the parish, a larger building would be needed for an expanded staff, a fund drive was begun for a new parish administrative center and community room (which eventually was named the Hayes Community Room). A ground-breaking ceremony was held on June 15, 1980. Since the building was completed it has become over the years, the central office center and has provided one of the most used parish rooms for gatherings, bereaved luncheons, and a multitude of activities. Fr. Reading was thrilled with the greater opportunity for parish enrichment through this expanding of the parish usable space. The weekend of the ground breaking, Fr. Joe Curtis arrived at OLH as a new associate pastor.
Fr. Reading, after just a few months of illness, died on December 26,1983. His funeral rites were celebrated by His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. Besides living memories, Fr. Reading's name will be with us in two memorials - the Reading Computer Center in the school and the Edward J. Reading Chapel within the Hayes Community Center.
Third Pastor: Rev. Joseph C. Curtis 1984 - 1997
Almost immediately after Fr. Joe became Pastor, Fr. Wayne Wurst arrived, guitar in hand, in time for Easter of 1984 as our new associate. Fr. Wayne's favorite ministries included visiting nursing homes, singing with and teaching children, working with social justice concerns, and always enjoying "free meals" with families of the parish. In June of 1988 he was assigned to St. Genevieve's Church in Chicago. Presently Fr. Wayne is residing at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary on special assignment.
In the early months of his pastorate, Fr. Joe, together with the Parish School Board searched out candidates for a school principal, and a providential and inspired choice was made. Sr. Jane Roach, who had been a teacher at OLH from 1979-1983, became our new principal - maintaining a wonderful link to the heritage given us from the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus. Sr. Jane not only is active in the multitude of school and school related functions such as Mother's Club, School Board, athletics, etc., but also manages to be involved in other parish functions such as the Folk Choir. Her "tender loving care" for her "school families" and all who belong to OLH parish family has endeared her to all of us.
Sr. Mary O'Connell, who had already been teaching at our OLH grammar school for six years, became a Pastoral Associate on the parish staff in 1984 and has directed the RCIA (Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults) process for inquirers into the Catholic faith, and worked with our Ministers of Care to the Sick. Sr. Mary assists in liturgical planning for the school children, and liaison for liturgical planning for ceremonies connected with adults and children entering the Church. She also is a member of our Folk Choir and is involved in CRHP spiritual direction.
Fr. Tim Fairman arrived during March of 1988. He was assigned as weekend associate while completing his studies for his Licentiate of Sacred Theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. He was ordained a priest on May 21, 1988 by Cardinal Bernardin, and out of deference to his desire to remain at OLH, he was assigned as full-time associate pastor. Besides a multitude of regular priestly ministries, his involvement over his years here include special attention to young adult & junior high ministry, being Catholic chaplain at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, planning fundraising events like "Cruisin' the Nile", and a frequent spiritual director for CRHP. His dog "Leo" has now become a side attraction for our school children and an early morning diversion for our pastor.
After more than two years of preparation and planning, Fr. Joe commissioned the Parish Pastoral Council of Our Lady of Humility Parish on Christ the King Sunday, November 20, 1988. The Parish Pastoral Council exercises shared responsibility for the pastoral life of the parish under the leadership of the pastor. Besides major collaboration with the pastor and staff which launched the present Building and Grounds development appeal and planning process, the PPC is presently involved in ongoing development of four parish commissions to attend to the needs - present and future - in the four major areas of parish life: Spiritual Life, Catholic Education, Human Concerns, and Parish Life.
A few years later, in April 1992, our third deacon, Mike Mercure, and his wife, Laurie, celebrated his diaconate ordination and we added a third couple to our OLH staff. Mike, who is employed full-time at Abbott, manages to find time to be involved in a number of parish areas. Mike is a regular consultant to our Finance Council and pastor, volunteers his accountant skills for our official parish budgets and finance reports, as well as working with our parish data system and its various programs. Mike enjoys working with the baptismal preparation program, liturgical functions and a variety of parish activities as deacon and parishioner. Laurie is our part-time bookkeeper, who facilitates our bereavement luncheons and enjoys getting to know as many parishioners as she can.
Fourth Pastor: Rev. Dr. David J. Mulvihill 1997 - 2009
Fifth Pastor: Rev. Thomas Hoffman 2010 - June 2015