Reverend Joseph O. King
Appointed Pastor--July 1954
Died--June 19, 1991
In 1951 residents of Stickney and Forest View believed that there was a need for a Catholic Church to serve their communities. Toaccomplish their dream, they had to show the Chicago Archdiocese that there was a “real need.” To do this, five teams of workers obtained approval from Rt. Rev. Msgr. George J. Casey of the Chicago Chancery Office, to conduct a census. Area Catholics were asked to sign a petition for a new church for the Stickney and Forest View communities.
By 1954 the Archdiocese purchased the land at 43rd and Oak Park Avenue to be the site of our parish and Rev. Joseph O. King was appointed to establish the new parish. By 1954 the Archdiocese p In 1951 residents of Stickney and Forest View believed that there was a need for a Catholic Church to serve their communities. To accomplish their dream, they had to show the Chicago Archdiocese that there was a “real need.” To do this, five teams of workers obtained approval from Rt. Rev. Msgr. George J. Casey of the Chicago Chancery Office, to conduct a census. Area Catholics urchased the land at 43rd and Oak Park Avenue to be the site of our parish and Rev. Joseph O. King was appointed to establish the new parish.
What would the name of our new church be? On May 29, 1954 St. Pius X was canonized. This brand new saint would be chosen to be the patron saint of our new church. On August 22nd, the first Mass of the new parish was offered in the Forest View Village Hall. Daily mass was celebrated in the temporary chapel and liturgical worship was held in the Village hall for 15 months.
Ground breaking ceremonies took place on January 23, 1955. The construction was the “modern contemporary style keeping with the architectural pattern of the community”. The buildings would accommodate the 500 families in Stickney and Forest View. The following May, Daniel F. Cunningham, Superintendent of Schools, came to set the cornerstone in mortar. The stone bears the motto of the patron saint, St. Pius X, “ Restore all things in Christ.”
One week later, parents began registering their children for school and the school officially opened on September 11th 1955. The Sisters of St. Casmir staffed our new school. By November 20th the first mass was offered in the new church. All furnishings were presented to the church and the sanctuary by devoted parishioners. The stained glass windows were later provided through the generosity of families who desired memorials.
In 1956 the current rectory was complete. The Holy Name Society and Altar and Rosary Society were organized. The church community was in full swing. The second wing of the school and convent were begun in 1958. The church continued to grow and work together as a worshipping community.
After 23 years of dedicated service Father King retired in 1977. Also leaving St. Pius X were the Sisters of St. Casimir. They were replaced by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. This was just the beginning of the many changes that would occur during the next 50 years at St. Pius X Parish.
As in our own lives, we experience happy times and sad times. That is also true in our parish community. First communions, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, social events were celebrated at St. Pius X bringing much happiness and joy. On the other hand, two very difficult times were the untimely death of our Pastor Rev. John H. Gibbons in 1979 and the closing of the St. Pius X Catholic School in June 1996. Despite all of the fund raising efforts by school parents and parishioners, it was no longer feasible to keep the school open. This was certainly a low moment in the history of the parish and was the most difficult situation that Father Tom Unz faced in his tenure as pastor. Although the school closed, St. Pius X Parish continued to be a strong worshipping community.
In 2001, after many years of funds received from our Saturday evening bingo and from the matching funds of the Archdiocese, the parish debt was paid off. We thanked THE LORD and Bingo workers! However, just as we feel the effects of the ever changing economy, so does St. Pius X Parish. Increased costs in utilities, staff benefits, repairs and maintenance have placed our parish in a very unstable financial state in 2006.
Just as our founders, who were faced with many challenges, we too are faced with many challenges. The challenges may be different than those of the past but they still need the same commitment and strength that our founders and charter members put forth. So we pray:
Lord, let us cultivate working together,
as one, with our community.
Let us work together united in one God,
who is the Father the Son and the Holy Sprit.
To accomplish great things, we only need but You,
Jesus Christ. Amen