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Church History

Catholics have frequented the region that is now Oklahoma for some 300 years, but it was not until the French Benedictine monks from the monastery of Pierre-qui-Vire entered Indian Territory in 1875 that there was an official and permanent Roman Catholic church presence.
The Benedictine monks came to Indian Territory to serve the Indian. With the land run of April 22, 1889, the white invasion of the former Indian lands began in earnest. Suddenly, the Benedictines had under their care a whole new group of Catholics.
French-born Fr. Germanus Guillaume (served from 1890-98) founded the church in El Reno, which met in private homes until March of 1892 when a small frame church was built.  By 1901 the parish had outgrown the first church. Fr. Constantine Pourcin, second parish priest (served from 1898-1905), sold the frame church and directed a new building effort. Set on a stone foundation, the second church was much grander than its predecessor.
Due to costly repairs and upkeep of the structure draining funds, Fr. Emil Depreitere (pastor 1947-1963) announced the decision to build a third church on Easter Sunday 1950. The first Mass in the current structure was Thanksgiving Day 1951.
In 1987, a refurbishing of the church began under Fr. Philip Wilkiemeyer (pastor from 1980-90). Work completed in time for the 1990 Centennial year celebrations.

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