In the Early Days...
In 1836 Father Emanuel Thienpont, the first priest to visit Hardin County and one of the earliest missionaries of Ohio, visited
the Kenton area and it is presumed that he also came to tend for the Catholic families in Ada. In 1858, Father Sullivan of
Tiffin, Ohio held the first recorded Catholic services in Ada. A Father Murphy, also of the Cleveland Diocese, came on
occasion. Around 1862 the Superior of the Society of the Most Precious Blood at Minster, Ohio sent priests to Ada at regular
In June 1866, Reverend Nicholas R. Young was appointed the first resident pastor of the church in Kenton and he took
charge of Ada, holding services on the second floor of E.E. Baumann's Grocery Store on the northwest corner of Buckeye
and Johnson Streets. Reverend Joseph M. Quatman succeeded Father Young in 1869 and in June 1870 Reverend Nicholas
J. V. Fas came to the area.
Church membership grew and the work increased to a degree that Father Fas could not care for the Ada church properly
and Reverend Alexander R. Sidley of Lima was called on to serve the parish, which he did for three years. Fire destroyed the
first place of worship and services were then held in the homes of the parish members. In 1872 a room was leased on the
second floor of the I.O.O.F. Building (Block) and the members worshipped there for several years.
The earliest Catholic families in Ada were A.C. Baker, Michael Flynn, John Morrow in 1856; Daniel Breen 1858; Thomas and
Bartholemew Bastabel 1861; Daniel Hanley 1863; Bartholemew O'Leary 1864 and Jacob Forbing 1869. Other early members
were the Felkers, the Durbins, the Hogans, and the Klices. The current location of the church and the hall are on two lots of
land purchased from John Johnson, son of Ada's founder Samuel M. Johnson. The initial deed to the land was dated August
10, 1874 and was put in the name of Rev. John B. Purcell, Bishop of the Diocese of Cincinnati. Jacob Forbing (date unknown)
had previously donated a lot at the southwest corner of Ballard and Johnson Streets on which to erect a church building. This
lot was sold in 1874 (with Forbing's consent) and two lots on the corner of Simon and Hoosier (now known as Highland)
Streets were purchased, as this was considered a better location.
Church Building Construction...
The foundation for the church was started on September 10, 1874 and the 30' x 50' building was completed, with altar, pews
and bell and dedicated on December 8, 1874 by Reverend A. M. Quatman, Reverend Anthony S. Siebenfoercher and Reverend
Homan. The church, with all furnishings, property, bell, etc. cost $3,227.50. Although appointed pastor of Kenton's church on
December 28, 1871 by the Bishop of Cincinnati, records indicate that Reverend Siebenfoercher did not become Ada’s active
pastor until June 1874.
Dedicated on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the church was named Our Lady of Lourdes in honor of its patron, Mary
Immaculate. The parish began as a mission from Our Lady of Lourdes church in Marysville. In 1880 it was made a mission from
Immaculate Conception, Kenton; changed in 1881 to St. Patrick's of Bellefontaine; 1n 1883 and 1884 changed back to Kenton
and in 1886, when LaRue obtained a resident pastor, Ada became a mission to their St. Joseph's Church and it remained so until
1946 when Ada was again made a charge of Kenton. The year before, in 1945 Ada became a part of the Diocese of Columbus.
On July 12, 1948 Our Lady of Lourdes became an independent parish with the formal installation of Fr. Richard Hoch as the
first resident pastor.
Recent Our Lady of Lourdes History:
In 1952 the Diocese of Columbus held the Western Deanery Meeting, now known as a Vicariate, at Ada High School. Then
as now, the purpose of these meetings was to facilitate the collaboration of the parishes in the cities found in the district
which at the time were Ada, Delaware, Kenton, LaRue, Marion, Newark, New Lexington and Portsmouth. In 1954 the
church was enlarged with the addition of the sacristy on the north end of the building.
In 1965, under then pastor Reverend Francis X. Schweitzer, parish council was formed, the first in the Columbus Diocese.
Father Schweitzer was known as the "priest of the migrant workers" because of his efforts to help migrant families with
clothing drives, financial aid and medical care - especially for the children. Fr. Schweitzer developed the parish Newman
Club and was also active as the advisor/chaplain for Ohio Northern University students of the Catholic Fraternity - Phi
Kappa Theta at their "House on Irish Hill" at 825 S. Main Street in Ada.
Father Schweitzer's successor, Father Leo Benedetti initiated an active remodeling campaign in 1967 with the installation of
new pews and carpeting, a new altar facing the congregation and new coat of paint for the entire interior of the church
building. Because of expanded needs of the church building, Father Benedetti considered several options for the future of the
parish. One option was the building of a new church and a hall on West Lima Avenue. The other option that was
considered and eventually was pursued, was the adding of a new connecting hall to the existing church structure with the
rectory closer to the church. The parish rectory had been located at 508 North Main Street since being purchased in August
In 1969, Father Samuel Durbin came to Our Lady of Lourdes and sold the Main Street rectory and purchased the current
rectory at 222 E. Highland Avenue. In addition to his duties at Our Lady of Lourdes, Fr. Durbin was a National Guard
Chaplain and a recognized gardener. When Father Durbin was transferred back to Columbus in 1971, Msgr. Joseph
McGlynn became the parish pastor. Father Richard Endres became the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in 1973.
Under the direction of Pastor Richard Endres, the two story connecting hall on the east side of the church became a reality
and was dedicated by Bishop Herrmann on December 8, 1974 during the parish's Centennial celebration. Fr. Endres is also
fondly remembered for his leadership and vision in supervising the celebration of the parish's Centennial in 1974. Fr. Endres
passed away on July 6, 1977 and was succeeded after a time by Father Arthur Wiles. On July 6, 1978, the church hall was
rededicated in honor of Pastor Endres and is known as Endres Hall to this day.
During the ten years that Father Wiles was at OLL, Jack Stahl was ordained as a Deacon and Father Stephan Moloney
became the first Ada resident to become an ordained priest in 1982. Father Wiles was known for his interest in scuba diving,
his labrador named Matthew and his famous bean soup featured each year at the parish bazaar every November.
Father Wiles initiated the inclusion of girls as Mass servers. His weekly Saturday evening service became known as the
"ONU student Mass" with one of the highlights being the student choir's singing of "Peace I leave with You, My Friend."
The Saturday evening Mass became so popular that for a time in 1980, President DeBow Freed of Ohio Northern University
began following students to the church each week to see where they were all going.
In 1987, Father Thomas Kessler became Our Lady of Lourdes Parish's ninth resident pastor. During 1990 and 1991, Father
Kessler initiated many needed improvements for the church. Father Kessler supervised the installation of a new heating and
air conditioning system, a complete replastering job for the church's interior, new front doors and new steps in front and
back and the construction of the parish parking lot immediately south of the church.
Father Ted Thomas came to Our Lady of Lourdes in 1992 and immediately became known for his wit and humor. Father
Ted always ended each Mass with a joke that made a point for parishioners to consider as they left the church each week. As
did both Father Wiles and Father Kessler before him, Father Ted became well known to ONU students through his teaching
on campus. Fr. Ted taught courses in Western Civilization and as with his weekly sermon, Fr. Ted was able to bring his
points alive with his descriptive abilities, his wit and humor.
Father Daniel Millisor came to Ada in July 1996 and has continued the tradition of serving the Catholic community of the
Ada area and Ohio Northern University. In early 1997, Father Millisor coordinated a parish dinner to commemorate the
feast day of the parish's patron on February 11. Bishop Griffin of the Diocese of Columbus attended the dinner and wished
the parish well in its one hundred and twenty-third year of existence. Father Millisor brought the parish to the information
superhighway with the introduction of the parish webpage on February 28, 1997. Fr. Dan established the parish's 125th
Anniversary Committee and provided strong support to the committee in its planning and implementation stages
throughout 1998 and 1999.
The year-long festivities began in January 1999, ending with a celebratory Mass on December 8, 1999, hosting Bishop Griffin
and other parish guests. The Holy Year 2000 was celebrated as a Jubilee Year. In early 2002 Father Dan announced to the
parish that Bishop Griffin had reappointed him to serve another six year term as pastor ending in 2008. However, in
December 2005 Fr. Dan announced that the Bishop has reassigned him to another parish near Columbus beginning in
Father David J. Young was named Our Lady of Lourdes 12th resident Pastor in March, 2006 and left for St. Pius X in
Reynoldsburg in the summer of 2018.
Father William J Ferguson became Pastor of the Cluster of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and Newman Center and
Immaculate Conception Parishes that same year, 2018, with Father Jeffrey Tigyer continuing as Parochial Vicar.
Deacon Mike Hood celebrated the 10th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Diaconate in November of 2019 and our
parishes are blessed with the pursuit of the Diaconate by OLL parishioner Nick Klear - set to be ordained in 2021.
|Priests from Kenton, Bellefontaine and LaRue
serving the Catholic Community in Ada
Fr. Anthony Siebenfoercher 1874-1881, 1883-1905
Fr. Joseph M. Quatman 1874
Fr. Honoratus Bourion, Bellefonfaine and Fr. Alfred D. Dexter 1881-82
A Mission of St. Patrick's in Bellefontaine 1882-83
Fr. Andrew Ebert and William Miguel 1883
Fr. John B. Dickhaus, Kenton 1884
Fr. Joseph Stoeppelman, LaRue 1886
Fr. William Conway, LaRue 1888
Fr. Michael Loney, LaRue 1890
Fr. Thomas Walsh, Bellefontaine and Fr. William Kelley, Fr. F. X. Lasance 1890-94
Fr. Joseph Denning, LaRue and Fr. J. Molloy, Fr. Venneman 1894-95
Fr. Edward "little Father" Ryan 1898
Fr. Edward Cotter (Catechism instruction on Saturdays) 1900-05
Fr. James "big Father" Ryan 1905-13
Fr. Edward Craeger 1913-19
Fr. John J. Brinker 1919-23
Fr. Louis Abt 1923
Fr. John J. Kelley 1923-33
Fr. Henry B. Westerhaus 1933-42
Fr. Cletus Reiger 1942
Fr. Frederick Laudick, Vicar Eoconomus 1943
Fr. William Meyer 1943-46
Fr. H. J. Shumacher and Fr. Edward Healey, Kenton 1946-48
Resident Pastors of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
Fr. Richard Hoch 1948-54 (First resident pastor 1948)
Fr. Andrew Nugent 1954-55
Fr. Francis X. Schweitzer 1955-67
Fr. Leo Benedetti 1967-69
Fr. Samuel Durbin 1969-71
Msgr. Joseph E. McGlynn 1971-73
Fr. Richard Endres 1973-77
Fr. Arthur Wiles 1977-87
Fr. Thomas Kessler 1987-92
Fr. Ted Thomas 1992-96
Fr. Daniel Millisor 1996-2006
Fr. David J. Young 2006-2018
Fr. William J. Ferguson 2018 - 2020
History and research kindly provided by Mr. David Savino (2020 Updates c/o Deb Driscoll)