Our parish was founded in 1936.
However, its roots go back much further in our history:
1674 - Father Jacques Marquette was the first Catholic priest to visit this area when he and his companions explored the western shore of Lake Michigan from Green Bay to Chicago.
1696 - The 1st Catholic community, the Mission of the Guardian Angel founded by the French Jesuits,
served the Miami indians hereabouts. The Governor General in Quebec ordered it closed when things became too hazardous.
1832 - With the end of the Blackhawk War, settlers, including farmers from Trier in Germany, were allowed to settle in this area.
1845 - The Catholic farmers built St. Joseph Parish at Grosse Point (now west Wilmette) near the present Lake Avenue and Ridge Road intersection.
1869 - The Village of Winnetka was founded. Gradually, tension grew between the Protestant temperance movement centered at Northwestern University and the beer-drinking German Catholic farmers.
This may have contributed to the resistance which our parish encountered when it was first started.
1936 - Anna and Magdalena Alles, granddaughters of one of the earliest German settlers,
donated 3.5 acres of their family farm for the construction of our parish. Initial opposition by the Village of Winnetka was overcome when the Supreme Court of Illinois ruled in favor of the parish. The original Church (now the Gym) and the first wing of the school were built in 1939. Monsignor Burke, our founding pastor, diplomatically healed the wounds created by the controversy. Our parish was established by Cardinal Mundelein. The first Mass was celebrated in New Trier High School auditorium on December 20, 1936 with 375 people present.
1939 - To celebrate the early parishioners successful court action, an outdoor Mass was celebrated on May 1, 1939 on the grounds where our new school was to be built. Thanksgiving Day of 1939 was a great day of celebration for the Parish Anniversary Mass was, for the first time, celebrated in the new building
which would house the temporary Church (and continues today as our Gym.)
1942 - 21 students formed the first graduating class from our parish school. Eventually enrollment reached a peak of 576 students in 1964.
1946 - Having paid off the initial indebtedness of the parish, Monsignor Burke and the parishioners
began plans to expand our facilities for a rapidly growing population. The Convent and Rectory in 1951,
the north wing of school in 1954, and the auditorium and additional classrooms in 1957 were part of those plans.
1963 - Our new Church was dedicated by Cardinal Meyer. Its 178 foot bell tower is the highest point in Winnetka. Vatican II also began, bringing far reaching changes to our parish especially in terms of worship and lay leadership.
1971 - Monsignor Burke retired and Monsignor Lyons was named as the second pastor.
1976 - Our first pastor died from leukemia just a few weeks after celebrating his 50th ordination anniversary.
1988 - Monsignor Eugene Lyons retired after completing the "Renew" program which translated the spirit of Vatican II into strong and deep grassroots relationships among our parishioners.
Father Tom Ventura was appointed to serve as our new pastor on New Year's Day of 1988.
Father Ventura continued the process by empowering the laity and supporting the growth of programs
such as Vision 2000, CRHP, adult ministry training, scripture study and the sharing committee.
2001 - Father Ventura celebrated his 40th anniversary of ordination, and ended his tenure at our parish;
Father Robert Kealy was appointed pastor and served for ten months.
2002 - Father Kevin Spiess was named our parish's fifth pastor. As the Church began its second millennium, our parish experienced a period of expansion with many new families, a growing population in the Day School, Sunday School, teen and adult programs, Sharing projects, etc.
2007 - Father Ken Anderson was appointed as our Administrator in October 2007.
2008 - Father Marty O'Donovan was named our parish's sixth pastor in July 2008.