Wednesday, May 20, 2009

St. Richard Catholic Church in Omaha to Close

The Archdiocese of Omaha recently announced the closure of St. Richard Catholic church in north Omaha. This comes roughly a month after the decision by the Archdiocese to close the parish's school. The video below give more information concerning the closing.

A steady decline of parishioners is cited as the primary reason for closing the church. When the parish was formed in 1961, 525 families were registered. Today, there are only about 136 people on the parish roster.
The property will transfer to nearby Holy Name parish, which is studying the potential uses for the parish plant. While there is no great architectural loss with this closing, it's incredibly difficult for the parish community and neighborhood at large.

The present church building was constructed in 1981 with the intention that it would eventually be converted into the school gymnasium once a permanent church could be constructed. The projected growth never occurred and a new church was never built.

I've not been able to visit the church interior yet, but there are some historical treasure inside. According to an article in The Catholic Voice, "Parishioners were asked to consider donating the church's stained glass windows, stations of the cross, and other items they inherited from Holy Angels Church, which closed years ago, to the new St. Charles Borromeo Church. The church in Gretna is hoping to be completed by April 2010." Unfortunately I am unable to find any information whatsoever on the former Holy Angels Church. Any reader insights?

The final Mass at St. Richard's will be held Sunday, June 7 at 1:00 p.m.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Holy Angels School merged with St. Richards in the late 60s and the church closed in the late 70s. I think the last Christmas Mass at Holy Angels was in 1976. The windows were installed at St. Richards few years later, and they are beautiful.

I went to St. Richards from 1965 - 1973. All 7 kids in my family went there; the ones who still live in Omaha attended the last Mass. My older sister remembers attending the first Mass there as well. How sad to hear of it closing.
C. Quinn, Little Rock

Anonymous said...

Holy Angels School merged with St. Richards in the late 60s and the church closed in the late 70s. I think the last Christmas Mass at Holy Angels was in 1976. The windows were installed at St. Richards few years later, and they are beautiful.

I went to St. Richards from 1965 - 1973. All 7 kids in my family went there; the ones who still live in Omaha attended the last Mass. My older sister remembers attending the first Mass there as well. How sad to hear of it closing.
C. Quinn, Little Rock

Chase said...

C. Quinn,

Thank you so much for the information on Holy Angels! I greatly appreciate it. Though it's a shame the parish must close, it's good to know that many of the items from the church will continue to be used in other parishes. Thanks again!

Ronald said...

My wife and I were married at Holy Angels on February 1, 1963. I was checking out the site of Holy Angels on google maps this AM and noticed it would have been at 26th and Fowler Streets, which is now the connector between the north expressway and the Storz Expressway East bound. I noticed from google that Father Flanagan of Boys Town fame celebrated his first mass as a priest at Holy Angels. The organ tended to occasionally squeak when being
played

Ron M. - Omaha

Chase said...

Ron,
Thanks for sharing your memories and information! I believe that Fr. Edward Flanagan's (Boys Town) brother was also a priest and that he was pastor of Holy Angels. I also believe that the bells were donated by the Flanagan family.

Also, if you don't mind me asking - would you have any wedding photos that would show the interior of the old Holy Angels church? I would love to post them here, if such is the case! Please email me at TheSteepleChaseBlog@gmail.com if you are interested. Thanks!

John said...

I was in the first graduating class of St. Richards that started in first grade in 1963. The church was not built in 1981 but in 1961 when the church was first opened. I graduated from St. Richards in 1971.

Ronald said...

I went to mass at St Charles Borromeo and saw several items from Holy Angels displayed including the stations of the cross and also a stained glass window prominently displayed behind the alter. They change the stained glass depending upon the current church year theme.

I also found a few pictures from my wedding at Holy Angels which I would upload if I had a destination.
Ron

Anonymous said...

Although I did not attend St. Richard's I lived only 2 blocks away. Moving there in 1966. All my friends went there and most social events were around the school and church. I had some great times with my friends Kevin Q. Kevin H. Merle B. Daryl B. Tracy J. Peggy M and you too C. Quinn. It is sad to see this end but the memories I will always treasure.

C. Botts

Cypress, Texas

Chase said...

@John: Thanks for sharing your memories and clearing up some infor!

@Ron: Yes, many of the items ended up at St. Charles near Gretna. I know that the bells went to St. Michael in Cheney, NE. I'd love to see those photos of Holy Angels! You're certainly welcome to send them to me at thesteeplechaseblog@gmail.com

@C. Botts: Thanks for sharing your memories as well. It's stories like these that keep these places alive after they've closed.

Ann said...

I attended Holy Angels for grades 1-3, from 1954 through 1957. Each school day began with Mass in the beautiful church, with students sitting in their class groups with their teachers. Our parish priest was Monsignor Flanagan, brother of Father Edward Flanagan of Boys Town. I have to say that he terrified me! He was an imposing man: over 6' tall, with thick white hair and a booming voice. He visited classrooms several times a year to quiz students on catechism. I have a vivid memory of the classroom door opening, and a figure in a shiny fuchsia cape and biretta filling the doorway. Without a word, the teacher would stand up from her desk and Monsignor Flanagan would sit down. The only sound you would hear was a "clunk" as his hat dropped on the desk. And invariably he would say, "Stop gawking and gaping." I can only imagine what he saw - 25 immobilized children staring at him with their mouths hanging open! Then he would go over the questions in the catechism, asking the first question to the student in the first row on his right. Question: "Who made you?" Answer: "God made me in his image and likeness." He would continue up and down the rows with each child receiving the opportunity to respond to a question.

I have wonderful memories of my years at Holy Angels!

mickangls said...

I went to Holy Angels for 66 67 and the schools merged then to St Richards. I attended till 1972. I remember all the beautiful stained glass and the architecture was beautiful but plain not luxurious.I remember the new then cafeteria/lunchroom/auditorium at Holy Angels. My favorite place to be.