Created By: Coleman Memorial Museum
421 2nd Ave. N. - St. Helena’s Catholic Church
The Catholic faith has been part of Ellendale’s history since the very beginning. The first mass was held here in 1882. In 1886 the corner section of this block was purchased for the price of $75.00. The original building, of which almost no photographs remain, was planned and built by parishioners at a cost of $1,000, which included furnishings to seat 125 people. It faced south, and was located approximately where the parsonage sits today.
The parish was not a wealthy one in the early decades, but the members persevered despite lack of funds. In 1922 the first furnace was installed, replacing the coal stove that had warmed the building for many years.
The best known priest of the parish was Father Charles F. Veach, who served nearly four decades, beginning in 1943. Father Veach, much loved in the town, was knowns as the “Farming Priest” for his energetic work on land owned by the parish. When he retired in 1979, the congregation had this beautiful new building, a fine parsonage, and a $120,000 Social Center with classrooms and dining center.
Father Veach’s legacy is perhaps best symbolized by the large crucifix sculptures he commissioned, one of which stands in front of the Social Center, and one of which adorns the Catholic cemetery east of town. Another, lesser known, stands on a hill west of Guelph, overlooking land farmed by the priest and his parishioners. For Father Veach and his successors, and for members of his congregation, service in and around Ellendale has truly been a labor of love.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Ellendale - Tour of the Core City