100th Anniversary To Remember Past, Welcome Future
August 22, 2019
ROCKFORD—St. Patrick Parish will celebrate 100 years on the west side of Rockford on  Aug. 31 with a 4 p.m. Mass followed by a reception.
Bishop David Malloy will serve as main celebrant, joined by priests who have served at the parish and Father Jhakson Garcia, current parochial administrator.
The first parish Mass was offered on Aug. 31, 1919, in Rockford’s St. Thomas High School, which served as the temporary church. 
Ground was broken in 1920, and the first, also-temporary, church was a building moved from Camp Grant. The church was named for St. Patrick by an Irish donor.
Work on the current church building began on June 8, 1950, and it was dedicated in 1952 by Bishop John J. Boylan. 
A parish school was begun in 1929 and thousands of students were taught there over 66 years before it closed in 1995.
The early Irish heritage has been reflected in the longtime, annual Corned Beef and Cabbage St. Patrick’s Day dinner hosted by the parish for more than eight decades now. St. Patrick Parish has evolved into a mixed-heritage parish, offering two weekend Masses in English and two in Spanish reflecting that diversity.
“St. Patrick’s is an amazing church, that’s why I’ve stayed here so long. It’s just a great church to be in,” says almost-25-year parish staffer Brenda Weigelt.
“We just want to celebrate all the past,” she says of the Aug. 31 celebration, noting the parish sent invitations to however many former parishioners they could find, asking area parishes to help them get the word out.
Photos of all the graduating classes from the school, from 1931 to 1995, will be displayed, she says, along with slide shows of as many photographs as could be found. 
“We want to let people walk down Memory Lane,” she says. “It will be just a time to come together and socialize, remember the past and enjoy the present.
“And also a time to look to the future of the faith and of the church.”
St. Patrick Parish will be hosting other events in the months ahead to make the 100th anniversary a year-long celebration.
The bilingual anniversary Mass will “Celebrate the Past; Live the Present; and Be the Future” as it welcomes past and present parishioners on Aug. 31.