Rockford’s St. Bernadette Parish celebrates 50th anniversary

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118366468711284.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘St. Bernadette Church, 2400 Bell Ave., Rockford.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11836647105998.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘The installation of Father Daniel B. Geoghegan (front left in photo) as pastor of St. Bernadette Nov. 17, 1957. Also pictured are (left to right) Monsignor Raymond Wahl, Monsignor Phillip O’Neil, Bishop Loras T. Lane and Father Frank Kennedy.>’);

St. Bernadette Parish in Rockford is inviting the public to join it during 2007 to help celebrate its 50 years as part of the Rockford and Catholic communities.

Nov. 17, 1957, St. Bernadette Parish was founded when Bishop Loras T. Lane appointed Father Daniel B. Geoghegan as pastor of St. Bernadette.

Prior to that, Sunday, Oct. 20, 1957, Monsignor William G. McMillan announced to St. Peter Parish in Rockford that its northwest section had been separated, and a new parish was being established. A new parochial school had been under construction at the Rockton and Bell avenues location in Rockford, and was originally intended to be an expansion of St. Peter Parish. This school was to become the headquarters of the newly-established St. Bernadette Parish.

“We are taking the opportunity this year to treasure our past, yet look forward to our future as a faith community,” said the Rev. Kenneth Stachyra, parochial administrator of St. Bernadette Parish. “The faith, love and generosity of everyone who has been associated with St. Bernadette Parish today and in the past have helped shape our parish into a warm and generous community. We are very blessed.”

The parish’s slogan for its 50th anniversary is “Remembering Our Past; Building Our Future Together.”

The Parish is looking for contact information, addresses/phone/e-mail addresses of alumni of St. Bernadette School, and other former parish members. If anyone has any information, let the parish know by calling the Parish office (815-968-0904), or e-mailing the information to

The parish also announced that as a part of “building our future together,” the St. Bernadette Parish Endowment is accepting gifts to fund the future of the parish. Gifts, current or deferred, can be in the form of cash, appreciated stock, real estate, insurance, or many other forms of structured gifts. Interested parties may contact the parish office for more details.

St. Bernadette Parish is named for St. Bernadette Soubirous, the saint of Lourdes, France. Visionary and messenger of the Immaculate Conception, she told us of the very words of the Virgin Mary. She also spoke of the merits of prayer, penance, poverty and church.

Calendar of events

The parish released a 2007 Calendar of Events designed to gather the community every month in celebration, culminating Nov. 17 with a dinner and dance at Cliffbreakers in Rockford. Reservations for the dinner and dance can be made by contacting Lisa Leahr at (815) 654-2722.

Remaining events are as follows:

Aug. 1—$10,000 Raffle begins

Sept. 15—Pasta Dinner and Talent Show

Oct. 20—1950s Sock Hop

Nov. 17—Celebration of the Eucharist and dinner and dance at Cliffbreakers in Rockford

Information about any of these events can be obtained by contacting St. Bernadette Parish, 2400 Bell Ave., Rockford, at (815) 968-0904.

from the July 5-10, 2007, issue

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