Parish History

St. Andrew the Apostle Church was the first Catholic parish in Calumet City, Illinois which was named Sobieski Park by the early Polish residents. Although the town was later called West Hammond, it was incorporated as Calumet City on August 1, 1911.

The foundation of the church was laid on September 27, 1891, by Reverend Francis Gordon, CR, but the parish was not organized until February 25, 1892, when Reverend Francis Wojtalewicz was appointed Pastor. With the help of Polish families, he was able to complete construction of the church at a cost of nearly $8,000. Unfortunately, a tornado destroyed the frame structure on June 13, 1892. Undaunted, the pastor and his parishioners began rebuilding the church, this time with bricks. With the lumber from the frame church, a rectory was constructed.

On May 14, 1893, construction began on the parish school, which was opened the following year. By August of 1895, 150 families were parish members and 110 children were enrolled in the school. In 1908, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth began their work in the parish school. By 1925, there were 765 students enrolled in the parish school under the direction of 11 sisters.

On January 27, 1918, the church was once again destroyed, this time by fire. The parish worshipped in the basement of the school until the present church was built in 1930. Reverend Anthony Halgas established the building fund for the new church. The Romanesque structure was designed by the architectural firm of Sandel & Strong. The church was dedicated on October 18, 1931 by George Cardinal Mundelein.

On May 8, 1932, Reverend Joseph Sehnke was appointed Pastor. At the time, there were 800 families in the Parish. On October 11, 1942, Samuel Cardinal Stritch presided at the golden anniversary of the founding of St. Andrew Parish. On November 30, 1945, Monsignor Sehnke paid off the parish debt of $200,000.

In August of 1947, the parish faced the burden of another debt. The twin towers of the church were declared structurally unsound. The project was completed at a cost of $100,000.

Samuel Cardinal Stritch dedicated the stained glass windows and the marble altars on September 25, 1955. St. Andrew continued to build and grow. On September 27, 1961, Albert Cardinal Meyer dedicated our present school building. In 1982, the interior of the church was repaired and carpeted.

On November 8, 1992, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin presided as the Main Celebrant at the Solemn Conclusion of the parish’s Centennial anniversary year.

Beginning in 2002, as part of the St. Andrew Millennium Campaign, the entire church was tuckpointed. The project was completed in 2005, costing over $750,000, most of which was covered by the parishioners’ pledges.