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Project Restore: All Saints Church
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News Article, 1910 Stuart Herald

Two Bishops Here for the Occasion. Large Crowd Witnesses the Impressive Ceremony.

Sunday morning at 10:30 o'clock the new Catholic church was dedicated. The day was pleasant and a large number of people came to witness the ceremony.

Right Reverend James Davis, bishop of Davenport, had charge of the dedicatory services. During the procession around the church the walls of the building and the grounds were dedicated to the service of God. This was followed by the solemn Pontifical High mass.

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News Article, 1910 Stuart Herald

All Saints Seats 600

Right Reverend J. J. Keane, bishop of Cheyenne, preached the sermon. He congratulated the Catholic people of Stuart on their beautiful church and said that by their action in dedicating it to the service of God they were taking a stand for right and the religion of their fathers as against the present day tendency to make light of religion. With a wealth of imagery and many beautiful word pictures Bishop Keane traced the struggles of the human race through the ages for higher ideals in living. His discourse contained many historical illusions and was forcefully and earnestly delivered and will be remembered by those who heard it as one of the best ever delivered in Stuart.

Father McNamara briefly thanked the people for their help in building the church and introduced Bishop Davis, who congratulated Father McNamara for his courage in undertaking the work of building the church and his ability in overcoming difficulties. He also thanked the people of Stuart and vicinity, both Catholics and Protestants, for their liberality in providing funds. At the conclusion of his remarks the congregation was dismissed.

Stuart was unusually fortunate in securing two bishops for the services, as that seldom happens in cities of this size.

The following list contains the names of those who were present and assisted in the services: Bishop Davis, Davenport; Bishop Keane, Cheyenne; Monsignor Ryan, Davenport; Monsignor Flavin, Des Moines; Father Leonard, Muscatine; Father McManus, Council Bluffs; Father Mullen, Adair; Father McAllister, Casey; Father Murphy, Guthrie Center; Father Smith, Lovilla; Father Gaffney, Walnut; Father Casey, Reno; Father Loftus, Centerville; Father M. S. McNamara, Stuart.

The corner stone was laid September, 1908. The total cost of the church is $65,000. It is built of blue Bedford stone, is 70 feet wide, 120 feet long and 110 feet high. Its seating capacity is 600. The interior decorations are magnificent and was the work of Mr. Kell of Des Moines. The widows are beautiful as is also the high dome. All of the altar furnishings and statuary are of the highest order and it is a church of which any city would be proud.

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History of Catholic Church in Stuart

The Catholics, stronger than any other denomination in Stuart, first held meetings in Stuart in August, 1871, when Father Moniahan came from Des Moines and held services at irregular periods in Shield's hall, in the schoolhouse where the Christian church now stands, in the school room over Geo. McCann's store and in E. S. Ryan's home. While here he was entertained at the E. S. Ryan and J. P. Kiely homes. John T. Kiely was the first Catholic child christened in Stuart.

Father Edward Gaul came to Stuart in 1873 and built the first Catholic church in Stuart about 1874 and held services there for some time before the church was plastered.

Father James Foley took charge of Stuart parish August 30, 1877, and on November 1, 877, the first Catholic church was formerly dedicated. The ceremony was performed by the Very Rev. J. F. Brazel, V. G. of Des Moines, assisted by Father Gaul of Atlantic and Fathers Harney of Dallas Center and Foley of Stuart. The dedication sermon was preached by Father Brazel.

Father Foley remained in Stuart until October 9, 1901, a little over 24 years. He built two additions to the old church and the parsonage in 1878 and left $6000 in the treasury for the new church. He also built the first Catholic church in Adair in 1880. For some time after coming to Stuart he had Stuart, Casey, Adair, Guthrie Center and Greenfield to take care of. He left here to go to Ottumwa carrying with him the best wishes of his people and all who knew him.

Father Henry Maniette succeeded Father Foley and stayed here almost a year. when Father F. Kottenstette took charge for a short time until October 12, 1902, when Father M. S. McNamara, the present pastor, came.

The Catholic ladies cleared about $118 on their dinner in Bates' hall. The collection taken at the church Sunday morning amounted to over $4000. Father McNamara was much pleased with the donations given by the citizens of Stuart who are not members of the church.

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Letter which started Project Restore

January 14, 1996

Rev. Richard Bergman
Herb Dols, Chairman, Parish Council
Mark Becker, Chairman, All Saints Bldg Committee

There was a terrible crime committed August 22, 1995, against The Catholic Church, the parish of All Saints, and the people of the City of Stuart. Yet another possible crime of senseless destruction will be committed if the church of All Saints is not restored to its original splendor.

At the weekend Mass of January 3, the people were given a handout and a chance to ask questions on the reconstruction program for the church. The handout that was given to us was very vague concerning estimates and appeared to be a promotion for a building program for a new church.

We are being led to believe that this structure has been a burden on the parish for all of these years. The cost estimates presented for future roofing were totally out of line according to our sources. The approximate cost of roofing the church in 1993 was $18,000 (this pertinent information was omitted on the hand out) to a cost of $70,000 in 20 years. This is one example of how the maintenance costs are being exaggerated, to convince people that this church is a burden on our parish.

We are displeased by the negative connotations surrounding the restoration of the building. What we have heard is: "what a mess, it's so terrible, all the rubble, all the work, so many details."

Why have we not heard any constructive information concerning restoration?

According to Neuman construction company at this point the structure is restorable. From the information that we have received, the insurance company halted the investigation concerning the structural integrity of the building. Why? Is the insurance company aware of the condition of the building and wants to avoid paying a higher settlement? Before decisions are made on a building program, we need accurate information. The insurance company is going to settle for the smallest sum possible and it should be quite a bonus for their representative handling the claim.

In new structures the traditions in church design have been lost over the years. It has nothing to do with form and materials; it is called "Integrity." Buildings were not built merely to inspire or please men, but to please God. That's why you see the careful carving of detail and symbols in places where nobody but God can see.

If a new church is build it must adhere to certain restraints. We will be under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bureaucrats who presume they have the power to regulate church design; which would include the outer structure and the interior environment.

The church of All Saints was voted several years ago, as the most beautiful church in Iowa. What a shame if we would let the senseless destructive act of a crazed terrorist eliminate this majestic structure from the landscape of southwest Iowa.

For almost 100 years the dome of All Saints has served as a beacon of faith, to the people of the Stuart community. We are fortunate to have most of our church still standing. Imagine the pride the builders felt when they saw the peaks of the church rise to the heights it is now. Their project was almost complete.

Irene Doherty Kenyon
Richard E. Doherty
Kenneth G. Doherty
James D. Doherty
John Slayton
Russell E. Wells
Theresa L. Wells

Stephen V. Brown
Julie A. Brown

Bishop Joseph L. Charron
Msgr. Lawrence Beeson
All Saints Bldg Committee

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