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HISTORY OF OUR PARISH
St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church was started in 1878 as a mission of St. Peter’s Parish in a section outside the Western boundaries of the City, known in those days as Calverton. The Mission was established by Fr. Owen B. Carrigan who later became an Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore. He supervised the Building of the first Church, Opening its doors on Sept. 19th, 1880. The mission later was put under the jurisdiction of St. Agnes, Catonsville. From 1881 to 1886 Fr. Thomas E. Stapleton, Pastor of st. Agnes and his Assistant, Fr. Elias McKenzie, Alternated in the Care of the Small mission until the Building of the Rectory in 1886 at which time Fr. McKenzie established himself as first Pastor of St. Edward. Fr. Mckenzie had also established the Parish school in a house on Franklintown Road in 1882.
Under the Pastorate of Fr. William A. Toolen, a new school was opened in 1923 and at the same time, a rectory and a new Convent were built. On Aug. 22nd 1923 five Nuns of the Holy Union of Sacred Heart arrived to staff the School. The School opened on Sept. 17th 1923 with an enrollment of 224 children in grades 1 to 5.
During the administration of Fr. Toolen, the Old Chapel became inadequate to accommodate the increasing number of Parishioners. The Congregation had grown to some 5,000 people, which required nine masses every Sunday. A Campaign was began in 1938, to build a new Church. The construction of the new edifice with St. Edward’s Builders Society Campaign pledges of $77,651 and a surplus building fund of $22,000 previously accumulated, was assured before the first spadeful of earth was turned for the foundation.
“Animated by the faith which makes you kin to the nobles and peasants of Chartres, you have erected this home for God. It is far less pretentious, it is true, than the Cathedral which the people of Chartres gave to the Ages, but not less eloquent of the virtues which adorned their soul. The sweat of your labor is in the mortar which hold these walls together. Your Love and sacrifice speaks out for every stone”
These were the words of Bishop McNamara from his Homily on March 9th 1941, at the dedication of St. Edward Church in its Present location, 901 Poplar Grove Street.
The new church was and is of simple but commanding beauty in its Romanesque style of architecture. It was erected at a cost of $180,000.00.The exterior walls are of granite, trimmed with Indiana limestone. The interior walls are wainscoted with Saint Rose Genevieve marble, with limestone above the marble. The Ceiling has been treated acoustically. The floors throughout the church and sacristies are terrazzo. The main altar is of Bottichino and yellow Sienna marble. Installation of the Marble statues and the Stations of the Cross were delayed because of the War conditions. These statues were shipped from Italy and installed in February 1947.
There have been a number of changes at the Parish including the Clustering of the School and the reduction of the Clerical staff to one Priest. In 1967, St. Edward’s School merged with St. Bernadine’s under the title John XXIII Centre. After six years the Centre was absorbed into the Charles A. Hall Cluster School. As of 1973, five Holy Union Sisters resided at St. Edward. They taught at St. Ambrose School in the Rosa Parks Cluster, thus continuing to serve the Children of West Baltimore. Then we had five Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore as instructors and administrators of St. Edward’s Day Care Center.
In June 2010 Our School- Father Charle Hall Middle School became one of the 13 schools which were consolidated by the Archdiocese. Part of the School building now house a Head Start program run by Catholic Charities.
For several years now St. Edward Parish has engaged in several Community activities. Some of the services performed include, allowing the Department of Social Services, Franklintown Road, to use its hall for outreach program aimed at screening he elderly for food stamps, Contributing funds for gas and electricity cut-offs and other emergencies, making available a volunteer food cupboard for emergency needs, providing a free summer lunch program and summer job Corp site for Youth, providing a site for senior citizens meetings, Housing a day care center and providing a van to transport the elderly and youth groups. Helping Hands Ministry provides Soup Kitchen for the Seniors and the homeless. Provides clothing and food for the needy. Allows its facilities be used for Narcotics and Alcohol Anonymous meetings, On my Shoulders used the former Convent building (2003 – 2005) for helping troubled youth get out of trouble get some training in catering, barber, painting etc.
In April 2007 efforts to renovate the Old Convent began. In September 2007 Most of the improvements on the first and Second floors were done and Sept. 9, 2007 Fr. Shao started moving in. By October 16th 2007 Fr. Shao, Fr. Promis and Fr. Kasule had move in completely. Work remains to be done on the 3rd floor and the basement.
1886 - 1906 Rev. Fr. Elias B. McKenzie
1907 - 1934 Rev. Fr. James B. Kailer
1935 - 1954 Rev. Fr. William A. Toolen
1955 - 1962 Rev. Fr. Edwin A. DeLawder
1963 - 1965 Rev. Fr. Francis J. Linn
1966 - 1972 Rev. Fr. Herbert R. Jordan
1979 - 1998 Rev. Fr. Maurice J. Blackwell
1999 - 2005 Rev. Fr. Sam Lupico
2005 - Rev. Fr. Evod Shao C.S.Sp.
1973 - 1979 Rev. Fr. Joseph M. O’Meara
1999 - Rev. Fr Damien Nalepa (Now Msgr & V.F)
1907 - 1934 Rev. Fr. James B. Kailer
To Be Noted:
In 1979 Fr. Maurice J. Blackwell was assigned to St. Edward, thereby becoming the first Black (African American) Diocesan Priest to be installed as Pastor of St. Edward Baltimore. In 1990 He had to go for special training and came back in 1992 and continued as Pastor till 1998.
Fr. Evod Shao CSSp. A Holy Ghost Congregation (Spiritans) From the East African Province arrived on the 1st Sept. 2005 and was Installed as Pastor of St. Edward Parish by Bishop Dennis Madden Urban Vicar of Baltimore on the 11th Sept. 2005.
1976 Deacons Earl Smith, Bernard Joseph, and Joseph L. Neale, Deacon Carl Anderson Joined them Later and is still serving. The former are with the Father.
Sister Anita Smith has been the Pastoral Assistant from 1983 to date. She has worked with Dr. CreSaundra Sills to Organize and Direct the Parish’s Religious Education Programs, a very vital Ministry at our Parish