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Friday, October 31, 2014
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The Story of the Stained Glass

Transfiguration Church
A Testimonial to a People’s Faith

Window 1 – (Father Carroll and Benjamin Franklin)
Ben Franklin Stained Glass Window
American born, Father John Carroll returned to his native land of America after serving the Catholic church in England for 27 years.

Maryland, Father Carroll’s home, was a thriving hub of industry in 1774.  However, like other colonies, Maryland was determined to break from England, the motherland.  Tension was mounting not only between the colonies and Great Britain, but with our neighbor to the north, Canada.  

Congress tried to persuade Canada through diplomatic channels to join forces with the colonies against England.  In Canada, Governor General Sir Guy Carleton fought with England’s Parliament for Quebec’s right to remain predominantly French in civil law, culture,  language and religion,  which was Roman Catholic.  In 1774, Canada passed the Quebec Act.  This Act outraged English/American Protestants in the colonies.  They felt this radical move was a threat to their religious and civil rights.  Congress sent an official decree to King George III, expressing its sentiments.  

However, because of the importance of Canada as an ally, Congress also sent a note of a different nature to Canada.  One that stressed unity in spite of the difference in religion.  In February of 1776, French representatives from Canada petitioned Congress to send a committee to Canada to explain our dispute with England.  Congress consented.  

The delegation selected by Congress consisted of Benjamin Franklin, a Mr. Chase of Maryland and Charles Carroll, a Philadelphia barrister.  Charles had a relative who fit the description of the Catholic cleric Congress was seeking, his cousin Father John Carroll.

Father Carroll was unaware that his country had hoped to use him as a pawn to lure Canadian Catholics to the cause of the patriots through his vocational work.  He though they wanted him to participate in diplomatic negotiations.  Even though he doubted his presence would be beneficial to his country, he felt his personal opinions and concern for safety were secondary to his patriotic duty.

On April 29, 1776, General Benedict Arnold and a party of military dignitaries welcomed the American party to Montreal, Canada, with a much warmer greeting than that received by Father Carroll from the Canadian clergy.  Bishop Briand ordered Father Pierre Floquet, superior of the Jesuit mission in Canada, to offer no courtesy to the American priest.  

Father Carroll and the other members of the American delegation were held in esteem as honorable citizens of their country.  However, their plea for Congress fell on deaf ears.  The Canadians would not soon forget the message sent to England protesting the Quebec Act.  Nor would they forget acts of bigotry by some of the colonists.  The committee’s futile journey ended when news reached them that British war ships had attacked American troops.  Father Carroll accompanied an ailing Benjamin Franklin back to Philadelphia.  

By June of 1776, Father Carroll had resumed his ministry, not realizing that this mission had set a foundation for the future. Even though the French colony was defeated by the English during the war, control remained with the Catholic Church.

In June of 1784, a separate diocese of the Catholic Church was being organized in the United States.  The Pope’s decision to appoint the Very Reverend John Carroll Prefect Apostolic as the Superior of the Catholic Clergy in America was swayed by a recommendation he received from Benjamin Franklin.  Pope Pius the VI erected the diocese of Baltimore in November of 1789 under the supervision of Bishop Carroll.  

Window 2 – (Missionary in Canoe)
Stained Glass Window Canoe
As early as 1659, a vicar Apostolic had been appointed by the Holy See to the whole of Quebec, Canada known as “New France.”  The first Illinois missions were controlled by the diocese of Quebec.  Research into the beginning of the Catholic Church in Illinois is light.  Robert Cavalier de La Salle may have traveled on the Illinois River in 1669.  At any rate, Jesuits visiting this region prior to Marquette, made such visits with the same purpose in mind that all missionaries had; namely, to spread the Gospel.    

 
Window 3 – (Father Marquette)
Stained Glass Window
Father Marquette was a man with a dream.  For years, he had wanted to bring the message of God to the Indian tribes along the great rivers of the wilderness.  He prayed to the Blessed Virgin for her intercession in his request.

In May of 1673, the 37 year old Marquette and explorer Louis Joliet were assigned by the bishop of Quebec to take a trip of discovery down the mighty Mississippi River.  Their return journey took them up the Illinois River.  While resting at the camp of the Peoria Indians, an Indian couple brought their dying infant to Father Marquette to be baptized.  This is the first recorded Christian sacrament on Illinois soil.

A few days later, Father Marquette was teaching and preaching to the Kaskaskia Indians on the Illinois River, near what is now the town of Utica.  Before leaving, he promised to return and establish a church in their midst.  
Father Marquette’s second journey in December of 1675 brought him first to the mouth of the Chicago River.  Ill health caused the priest to remain in the Chicago area until March of 1676.  His traveling companions built a log cabin which served as his home and the first church in Chicago.  On Holy Thursday in 1676, in the presence of about 5,000 Indian chiefs and elders, young men and women and children, he brought the word of God to the Kaskaskians and sanctified the event with the celebration of Mass.  It was the fulfillment of two spiritual promises.  One was to establish their church and the other was to the Virgin Mary of Her intercession in his prayers.  In Her honor, Father Marquette named his first mission, “The Mission of the Immaculate Conception.”

 

Window 4 – (Father Gueguen and his horse)
Stained Glass Window - Horse
Many pioneer priests had planted the love of God in the fertile hearts of Illinois natives and settlers following Father Marquette’s first visit to the prairie frontier in 1673.

In 1839, Father Gueguen was selected by Bishop Hailandiere as the first missionary circuit rider to attend to the souls in the Northern Illinois area.  Father Gueguen built a log cabin in Waukegan near what is now Green Bay and Buckley Roads.  Waukegan was a popular rest station for missionaries traveling from Canada to southern Illinois.  

From this point, Father Gueguen would begin his four month journeys to bring the sacraments and the word of God to the surrounding settlements.  For six years, he carried all his vestments, his missal and other possessions in the saddle bags on his horse.  His travels would take him as far west as Galena, southeast to Joliet, east to Chicago and then north to his home base in Waukegan.  Murray settlement, the infant beginnings of Transfiguration Parish, was one of the missions served by Father Gueguen.  


Window 5 – (Saying Mass at the Murray House)
Stained Glass Window
By the time Michael and John Murray established the Murray Settlement in 1836, all the Indians had moved westward except for a few roving bands of Winnebagos.  More and more homesteaders were migrating here from the East coast, bringing with them their Irish heritage and their Catholic faith.  Mass was celebrated in the homes of the faithful once a month.  The visiting priest would say Mass, perform baptisms and officiate at weddings.  
A log church was built in 1844 on farmland donated by John Murray, one of the settlement’s original homesteaders.  The new church was named St. John, in honor of its benefactor.  It was one of the first churches under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Chicago diocese, established one year earlier in 1843.  

For several years the Church’s needs were tended to by a priest who visited monthly from the neighboring Meehan Settlement near Lake Forest.  Today, the old Catholic cemetery on Rt. 176 is all that remains as a reminder of the first church.  

Meanwhile, two miles west of the settlements, the village of Wauconda was beginning to grow.  By 1850, the village had a population of 200 farmers and merchants.  Wauconda became a way station for the stage coach on its route from Chicago to Janesville, Wisconsin.  The tiny village had a school, post office, 2 inns, 3 general stores and 3 churches.  In the 1860’s, St. John’s became a mission of the McHenry parish.  Father Burch and Father Welby offered Mass and administered the other sacraments.  
By 1876, the Catholic community of Wauconda celebrated Mass every other Sunday with the mission priest, Father Patrick O’Neill.  Father O’Neill was from St. Patrick’s Church at the Donnelly Settlement in Hartland (now a part of the Rockford diocese).  Murray Settlement parishoners were quickly outgrowing their tiny log church.  
    
Window 6 – (The Old White Church)
Stained Glass Window
Land was purchased from Justice Bangs and in 1877 a new structure was build in Wauconda at the corners of Rt. 176 and Church Street.  It was a handsome, one-story, frame building with a stately steeple and spire.  The dome-shaped sanctuary surrounding the altar and the beautiful stained glass windows made the tiny church a showplace in Lake County.  On August 6, 1877, the Feast Day of the Transfiguration, Bishop Thomas Foley dedicated the new church.  Father Patrick O’Neill renamed the church Transfiguration, in honor of the Patronal Feast Day of the parish.

In the 27 years that Father O’Neill served as Transfiguration’s missionary pastor, he saw the community grow from a small farming settlement into a respectable and prospering village.  There were several industries around town, including: a saw and grist mill on the lake at the end of Mill Street; a foundry and blacksmith shop on Main Street; a limestone kiln; and a brick yard on the Cook farm.

By the turn of the century, Wauconda was linked to the bustling communities around it by the independently owned Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railway Systems.  The steam locomotive’s rails followed what is now Old Rand Road.  In Palatine, its products were loaded on the Northwestern Railroad and shipped to Chicago.  Wauconda hauled milk and livestock into the city; in return, the little train would carry coal, groceries and passengers back to Wauconda.  The complexion of the village was beginning to change.

So was the complexion of the church.  Transfiguration welcomed its first resident priest, the Reverend Steven Woulfe in 1903.  It was at this time that the church was formally established as a self-sufficient parish.  During the 7 years that Father Woulfe served the Catholic community in Wauconda, he oversaw the construction of the rectory.  This grand, two-story frame building next to the church was used as a rectory and home for priests until 1979 at which time the building was sold and moved to the corner of Mill and Church Streets.  It is now a private residence.  
 
Father Burke became interim Pastor for 1 year in 1911 until Father Thomas Murphy was appointed Pastor of Transfiguration Parish in 1912.  Wauconda was still a rural farming community with a year-round population of less than 400 people.  There was no gas, electricity, sewer or water service.  At night, the main streets of the village were illuminated by kerosene lanterns tied to ropes.  The ropes were stretched across the unpaved roads, leaving the lanterns suspended in midair.  At dusk, the Village Marshall would lower the lanterns, light them and rehang them.  At dawn, he would snuff out the wick, refill the lanterns and rehang them.  

It was 1922 when Wauconda was finally linked to the rest of the world by paved roads.  Ironically, the little train that hauled gravel to build these highways went out of business because trucking was a quicker and more efficient way of transporting supplies.  In 1921 Father Gahagan became pastor of Transfiguration parish.  He was a kind and dignified man, beloved by parishioners and townspeople alike.  Following his death in 1943, Father John Mulligan, the parish administrator, assumed parish responsibilities.  

Father Mulligan, as with many Americans affected by the stock market crash in 1929, did not trust the banking system.  It was not unusual for the priest to pay church bills with Sunday collections that had been stashed under the corners of the rectory rug.  

The village’s natural beauty and its easy accessibility to Chicago, made it a popular resort spot for families living in the city.  During these years, the Catholic community’s population began to swell to overflowing, especially during the hot summer months.  

The tiny, white frame building that had served Transfiguration parish so well was now too small.  Plans were discussed for building a larger church.  When the request for a new church was made to the diocese, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, suggested that the congregation first concentrate on building a convent and parochial school.

This school became a reality in September 1948 when 27 students enrolled for classes.  The six grades of primary school were conducted at the new two-story frame structure at 310 Mill Street.  There were two classrooms on the first floor and private rooms for the Sisters, including a small chapel, on the second floor.

The Franciscan Sisters from Wheaton were responsible for the education of the children.  They were members of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.  Students learned the 3R’s as well as fundamental Christian doctrines and values.  In addition to their responsibilities in the classrooms, the sisters also acted as sacristans for the church, sodality moderators, organists, choir directors for the children and coordinators for the altar boys.

The Transfiguration School Club was formed in 1948 to aid in the financial needs of the school.  Also, in 1948 a small group of vocally gifted men and women formed a choir.  They sang at 11:00am Mass every Sunday and were also asked to entertain at many dinner and club functions.  

In the following year (1949), an additional school room was built in the basement of the convent to accommodate the influx of students.  The school also expanded its studies to include the seventh grade.

Parish growth continued and on Palm Sunday, April 2, 1950, Father Mulligan turned the first spadeful of dirt during the ground-breaking ceremonies at the site of the new school.  By November of that year a brick structure containing 4 classrooms, a kitchen and a gymnasium was ready for occupancy.  

The Holy Name Society at Transfiguration was formed in 1950.  These men gathered to honor the Names of God and Jesus Christ through their examples of pious living.  In 1951, the Young Ladies’ Sodality was formed.  Members congregated to foster devotion, reverence and filial love towards the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the same year, the Young People’s Forum was started.  Junior and senior high school students cultivated a deeper knowledge and understanding of religious history in general and that of the Catholic Church.  

The village was experiencing a building boom in the late 40’s to the mid 50’s.  Between 1951 and 1954, enrollment increased from 164 to 274 students.  Temporary classrooms were set up in the gym to accommodate the overflow.  

Plans were made to build a combination school/church addition to the already existing brick structure.  Committees were formed to help raise funds, obtain pledges and coordinate social events.  Bingo became a popular weekly event with townspeople.  The annual August dinner attracted over 800 parishioners and friends.  There were card parties, bake sales, dances, fashion shows, rummage sales and raffles.  It not only brought in the needed finances for the building fund, but fostered a sense of community and wholesome entertainment for Catholics and non-Catholics in the village.

Window 7 – (Prior Church)

Mass was celebrated in the new church on July 10, 1955.  The complex was blessed and dedicated by Cardinal Stritch in November of the same year.  A parish dinner in honor of the Cardinal was served by members of the Federated Church, a Protestant church in Wauconda.  After dinner, Cardinal Stritch confirmed 179 children and adults at a special ceremony in the new church.  The students of the new school studied under the direction of 6 Franciscan nuns and 2 lay teachers.  

The little white frame church was still used to celebrate Mass when crowds were too large for the new church.  Eventually, the little church was remodeled and is still being used today as a meeting hall.

By November of 1955, Father Mulligan’s health was beginning to weaken.  Even though he had been helped on Sundays and Holy Days by Father Thomas Donnelly from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein for several years, the rigors of his responsibilities were taking their toll.  He wrote to the Cardinal asking permission to retire.  

Father Thomas McMahon was appointed Administrator of Transfiguration parish by the Cardinal and celebrated his first Mass with the devoted on November 13, 1955.  The tiny mission church which started with just a few faithful settlers in 1936 now served a Catholic community bordered by the McHenry/Lake county line on the west, Fairfield Road on the east, Volo to the north and to the Barrington limits on the south.  

By the mid 50’s, men were returning from the Korean War with no jobs available.  There was never a day that someone wasn’t knocking on the door of the rectory asking for help.  Some only needed a few dollars, others had sick children, or no food or shelter.  It was because of this need in the community the St. Vincent De Paul Society was established.  

Father Tom tried to make the church and its facilities a central gathering place for the parishioners.  In the evenings, the gym was used by various age groups for everything from socials and dances to volleyball and badminton to basketball and roller skating.  Even the nuns had time on Sunday afternoons to lace up their own shoe skates, a gift from the pastor.  Father Tom began the Grade School Basketball Tournament with 8 teams from the public and parochial schools surrounding Wauconda.  The Sisters formed the first group of cheerleaders to cheer the team to victory.  

In 1956 Father McMahon took his oath of office as the newly appointed pastor of Transfiguration parish, shedding his role as administrator.  

During Father McMahon’s administration, many pieces of property surrounding the old church, rectory and school were purchased.  Some were paved with gravel to provide much needed parking; others were turned into playgrounds for the school and neighborhood children.  A tiny home, originally owed by the Murray family, was purchased as a residence for Transfiguration’s caretaker and his family.  When the village streets were widened and paved, the home was moved to a lot across the street from the rectory on Church Street.  This eventually became the home for the pastors of the parish.  Another piece of property (on Bangs Street) with a home and large, heated garage was purchased by the church.  Space in the garage was leased to the village to house heavy equipment but the church kept one stall for the dilapidated school bus the church used to transport high school students to class at the parochial school in Elgin, 26 miles from home.  

The church was spiritually alive with parishioners participating in inquiry classes, 40 hour devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, Lenten devotions, Stations of the Cross and mission service.  People with special needs, such as widows and widowers were encouraged to attend NAIM conferences.  Young children were tended to by volunteers from the Young Ladies’ Sodality during Sunday services so mothers could attend Mass.  With the help of the Altar and Rosary Society, Father McMahon encouraged families to join the League of the Sacred Heart which had been established in the parish in June of 1907.  Every Saturday for a whole year, the Pilgrim Virgin was carried to a different home where the Fatima Rosary and other prayers were said.  

In 1957, Father John P. Sullivan was appointed as the first assistant pastor to the every growing church.  He would help Father Tom tend to the needs of the Catholic community.  The men of the parish worked diligently to remodel the 50 year old rectory and make it a safe and comfortable home for Father Tom and Father John.  A crew of workmen paved the parking lot between the church and the Elm theatre.  The Holy Name men built a stone grotto around the Blessed Mother’s statue between the rectory and school.  Sod was laid between the convent and the new church.  

In February 1957, the first Cana and pre-Cana conferences were conducted for married and soon-to-be-married couples.  It was also the year that the parish credit union was organized.  This became a blessing for families unable to obtain a loan through conventional sources.  

In 1958, Father Sullivan became the first chaplain of the newly formed Knights of Columbus, Queen of Angels Council, in Wauconda.  

To help reduce the church’s $255,000 deficit, the parish hosted a 4 day summer carnival ending with a chicken dinner on Sunday.  A committee of over 100 volunteers served 1,200 meals from noon to 7:00pm.  A raffle was held to give away not one, but five new cars!  These events became major fund-raisers to support the parish, the school and church for many years.  

Transfiguration parish owned a one and a half acre cemetery 2 miles east of Wauconda on Rt. 176.  It was difficult to maintain and usually received care only when a loving family tended to their family’s plots.  When the elderly grave digger died, there was no one to replace him.  More than once, Father Tom or the Church’s caretaker would dig the graves themselves.  In the late 50’s, title for the cemetery was given to the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese and they have continued maintenance of the site ever since.

The parish school was once again suffering from growing pains.  Four additional classrooms with a basement were added to the already existing brick building.  The new addition was dedicated in May of 1960.  The ceremonies were on the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Word came from the superintendent of schools that St. Edward’s High School in Elgin would no longer be able to accommodate students outside their city.  Transfiguration students who were already enrolled could finish their 4 year term but no freshmen would be accepted.  In the same year it was announced that a co-operative high school for boys and girls would be built in Mundelein to serve the educational needs of Catholic high school children from the surrounding communities.

A flurry of rumors spread through town like wildfire in 1961, the year the church bought the building that housed 2 stores, an apartment, a doctor’s office and the Elm theatre.  Whispers across backyard fences said that since the Church owned the theatre, girls had to sit on one side and boys on the other.  The nuns were the cashiers; Father Sullivan was the usher and Father McMahon the ticket taker.  It was not long before these rumors were put to rest and the community was treated to a long list of regularly scheduled movies and events.  During the day, the students used the newly acquired theatre for classes.  They organized class plays, band concerts and fashion shows.

Vatican Council II opened on October 11, 1962.  Pope John the XXIII told the world that the intentions of the council were “the promotion of the Catholic faith, the restoration of Christian morality, and the endeavor to make the discipline of the Church match the condition of modern times.”  It was a new beginning for the Church.  August of 1963 was a new beginning for Father McMahon.  He was transferred to St. Jude’s Parish on the south side of Chicago.  Monsignor Thomas Fitzgerald, Spiritual Director of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic women, was appointed as the pastor to succeed Father Tom.

Monsignor Fitzgerald was a people priest.  He loved his parishioners and they loved him.  During his five years at Transfiguration parish, he continued the programs begun by Father Tom and collected the pledges for the building fund.  Monsignor Fitzgerald brought a sense of family to the parish.  He organized family outings, golf tournaments and bridge parties.  There was a spirit of unity within the parish.  

School enrollment peaked in 1964 with 564 students attending classes.  The Parents’ Club was formed to help the Sisters purchase school equipment as it was needed.

To help minister the needs of the families in the parish, Father Brian Morgan arrived in Wauconda in 1965.  The quiet, unassuming man performed his priestly duties for the parish for two years.  In 1966, Father William Meagher also joined the clerical staff.  He was devoted to the children of the parish and spent time developing programs and retreats for them.  It was a sad day for the parishioners of Transfiguration in April of 1967 when they learned of the death of Father Sullivan.  

A new assistant pastor, Father John Krebs joined the parish family in June of 1968.  He was a kind and compassionate man with a deep concern for the family.  He spent many hours counseling individuals and couples to help them live a more loving life through Christ.  

Rev. John Cashman, formerly assistant pastor at Resurrection Church in Chicago, was appointed pastor to Transfiguration in 1968.  He continued to serve the parishioners of Wauconda until April of 1970 when illness caused him to take the position pf pastor emeritus.  Springtime brought the parish a new pastor, Father Thomas Curley.

The cost for upkeep and maintenance on the school and church buildings was skyrocketing.  Weekly collections at Mass were not enough to cover the expenses.  Father Curley met with a handful of energetic and talented people in 1972 to discuss the possibility of a major fund raising activity.  It took a year to coordinate, coax and convince the parish and the town that the school could be transformed into a large-scale entertainment extravaganza for two weekends in the spring.  Thus was the birth of Night Train.  

Each year, this imaginary locomotive took its passengers on a fantasy journey to another time, another land.  The themes would change each year.  One year it was New York, the next year, San Francisco.  Other themes included trips to Rush Street, Paris, even a trip into the world of fantasy.

The classrooms and hallways were so cleverly camouflaged that patrons were completely caught up in the spirit of the event.  The smaller rooms were turned into cabarets.  Performers would sing, dance, joke and enact skits.  The gym was used to present a fully orchestrated, original play, many of which were spoofs on popular movies.  Other rooms were turned into restaurants serving authentic ethnic cuisines.

For 12 years, Night Train was the biggest attraction in Wauconda.  Thousands of people came to attend from as far away as Indiana and Chicago on the south, to Wisconsin on the north.  Over 600 Catholic and non-Catholic people volunteered their time and talents to create this larger-than-life production.  Many of the supplies and goods were donated by village merchants.  The foods were prepared by the men and women in the parish as were the props, costumes and stages.  Even the priests took an active part in the event.  Some entertained, while others tickled our palates with their culinary expertise.    

Father Charles O’Brien was assigned as assistant pastor to Transfiguration in 1973.  He hopped on board the Night Train caravan and stoked the fires with his quick wit and hopeless hyperboles.  He divided his time between coordinating the souvenir booklet and cooking some hot Mexican dishes.  During the rest of the year, he devoted his time to spreading the word of God through adult Bible classes.  
 
Night Train cemented a spiritual bond between families and friends, Catholics and non-Catholics, priests and parishioners, village and parish. In August of 1976, Rev. Byron Maher became pastor of Transfiguration Church.  By then, Transfiguration parish served 1,112 families in the Wauconda area.  The school had 212 students who studied under the direction of one Fransican Sister and eleven lay teachers.  There were many groups organized by that time to meet the needs of members of the parish.  Among them were:  The Parish Council, Council of Catholic Women, Mothers’ Club, Guitar Mass Group, the Pullman Players Theatrical Troupe, Religious Education Programs, a Pro-Life Committee and a Couples Club.  

Father Richard “Doc” Bartz became assistant pastor in 1979.  He was young and related well with the teens in the parish, but his first zeal was to the celebration of Mass.

In 1979, a “Reach Out” campaign was developed to extend the hand of Christ to all Catholics in the parish.  Volunteers went door-to-door to canvas families; to listen to their needs, to encourage participation in the church and to rekindle the love of God.  In 1981, a 3 year “Renew” program was started to help parishioners gain a better understanding of their life’s goal in relation to the goals set by God.

1981 was also the year that Charlie Krupp died.  It was not made public to the parishioners until 1983 that this generous man had donated $700,000 to the church for the purpose of building a new house of worship.  His dream was realized when the magnificent oak and brick building was dedicated on May 5, 1985.  The new assistant pastor, Father Ronald Folger stood on the threshold of a new beginning with Father Maher and his new parish family.

Window 8 (Bishop Quarter)
Stained Glass WindowThe first Bishop of Chicago was instrumental in the beginnings of our church in Wauconda.  The Right Reverend William Quarter assumed his position as Bishop of Chicago in May of 1844.  He has been touted by Church historians as one of the most prominent and successful Church leaders in Illinois history.  

Born in Ireland, the youth virtually grew up in the church.  At the age of 8, he entered a Catholic boarding school.  By 16, he set sail from his native land to America to continue his education at Mount S. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, MD.  Besides his own studies, the young man was placed in charge of teaching Greek, Latin, and Algebra.  In his second year of residence, the 18 year old was appointed Professor of Greek and Latin languages.  In 1829, 5 days after graduating from the seminary, he was raised to the dignity of the priesthood.  Because of his age (under 23), he required special dispensation for his ordination.  

The formation of the new Chicago diocese meant a break from the jurisdictions and the Bishops of Vincennes, Indiana and St. Louis, MO. 

When bishop Quarter took office, the Bishops from both diocese recalled all priests in Illinois whom they had assigned to this area.  This left only the new Bishop and his brother, Father Walter Quarter, to tend to the needs of the Catholics in Illinois.

Despite the early problems, the miraculous accomplishments of Bishop Quarter can be seen through the growth of the church.  Less than a month after his arrival, he petitioned the State of Illinois for a charter to form St. Mary of the Lake in Chicago as a university.  It was granted in December of 1844.  The university was later moved to Mundelein.  

During the 4 short years Bishop Quarter administered to the diocese of Chicago, he ordained 29 priests and approved the building of 30 churches.  He stayed close to his flock and visited as many clusters of the faithful as possible.  The little log church of Murray Settlement was one of those visited.  The number of Catholics continued to increase in every parish of the new diocese.

At the time of his unexpected death, he left the Chicago diocese with a legacy of 53 clergymen, 20 seminary students and not one cent of debt.

Acknowledgements are due to the reverend clergy and lay members of Transfiguration Parish and in particular those past historians who have put into words many of the deeds mentioned herein.  Without their timely research and effort, this booklet could not have been possible. 

Window 9 (Resurrection)
Stained Glass WindowThe Resurrection of Jesus is the single most critical event in Christianity.  Jesus became man in order to ransom all of mankind from slavery to sin and death, and to unite us into the divine life of God Himself.  Through His passion and death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins.  Then, through the resurrection, He lifted mankind up from death and the grave.  The resurrection is not Jesus’ private victory over death; it belongs to all of us.  We are an Easter People.  
 
Window 10 (Baptism)
Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father Byron G. Maher, the present Pastor and builder of the new church).  We join with Jesus in sharing God’s divine life through Baptism.  Water is destructive as well as life giving.  Floods can devastate and kill; yet, without water, no life can survive.  As we enter the waters of Baptism, we enter the tomb with Christ.  We die to Satan, to sin, and to death itself.  Coming out of the Baptismal waters, we take on the new life of the resurrection.  We are no longer mere human creatures; we are children of God, calling Him “Father;” calling Jesus our brother.  Now we live in God and God lives in us.

Window 11 (Reconciliation)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda
(Father Ronald Folger, present associate pastor)  Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist are referred to as the Sacraments of Initiation, because through them the Christian becomes fully united to the community of the Church and fully participating in the Divine life.  However, our human weaknesses are often stumbling blocks, and sometimes we turn away from God and community through serious sin. The Sacrament of Reconciliation enables us to express our sorrow for sin and to ask forgiveness from God and from the Christian community.  In the words of absolution, the priest proclaims mercy on us…God’s mercy, and also the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in the family of God, who joyfully welcomes us back into the fold.  


Window 12 (Holy Eucharist)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father John Mulligan, former pastor, was responsible for the new school, in which the lower level served as our church until now).  “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you will not have life in you.”  So that we will always remember what He has done for us, Jesus gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink…the Holy Eucharist.  He calls us together as a family to give proper thanks to our Heavenly Father.  Jesus, our brother, is present in our midst to raise us up toward the Father.  He invites us to come and share the Divine banquet and to partake of His body and blood in a sacramental way, so that we may realize that in an even grander way, WE are the Body of Christ.

Window 13 (Confirmation)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Bishop John Vlazny, the Episcopal Vicar of Vicariate I).  We ratify and confirm our decision to live this new Christian life in the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Invoking special guidance and help from the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to fulfill the pledge we have made to be truly Christian.  The holy oil is a visible sign of that commitment, signifying our participation in the priesthood of Jesus the High Priest, and the mission he proclaims to us: “Love one another as I have loved you.  Thus, you will be my disciples, if you love one another.”

Window 14 (Matrimony)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father Richard “Doc” Bartz, who was instrumental in planning the new church).  A man and a woman, in an act of love, give themselves totally to each other in the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Two lives become one in an unbreakable bond, in which they share with God in the greatest act of creation…the creation of human life in the image and likeness of God.  The love of marriage should be just like a mirror, reflecting the love of God in their lives, a self-sacrificing love…total…forever!  

Window 15 (Anointing of the Sick)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father Thomas McMahon, former pastor, who acquired the land on which the new church is built).  Sickness and suffering are part of life.  Yet, at no other time does a person feel so alone and helpless as when he or she is seriously ill or in some way severely handicapped.  The Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament designed to give comfort and strength through the prayer of the Christian community for the sick person.  The priest imposes hands upon the sick person and anoints them with oil, imploring the Holy Spirit to strengthen them, restore them to health and enable them to once again take up their work in the Community of Church.

Window 16 (Holy Orders)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, present Archbishop of the Chicago Archdiocese).    When Jesus told his apostles, “Do this in remembrance of me,” He commissioned them to repeat what He had done with them at the Last Supper.  When Jesus told them to go forth and to teach all nations, He sent them out to carry His message to the world.  When Jesus washed their feet, He showed them, by example, how they were to be the servants of all others.  Jesus consecrated them into His own priesthood and assured them He would be with His Church until the end of time.

 

 

 

 

The Story of the Stained Glass

Transfiguration Church
A Testimonial to a People’s Faith

Window 1 – (Father Carroll and Benjamin Franklin)
Ben Franklin Stained Glass Window
American born, Father John Carroll returned to his native land of America after serving the Catholic church in England for 27 years.

Maryland, Father Carroll’s home, was a thriving hub of industry in 1774.  However, like other colonies, Maryland was determined to break from England, the motherland.  Tension was mounting not only between the colonies and Great Britain, but with our neighbor to the north, Canada.  

Congress tried to persuade Canada through diplomatic channels to join forces with the colonies against England.  In Canada, Governor General Sir Guy Carleton fought with England’s Parliament for Quebec’s right to remain predominantly French in civil law, culture,  language and religion,  which was Roman Catholic.  In 1774, Canada passed the Quebec Act.  This Act outraged English/American Protestants in the colonies.  They felt this radical move was a threat to their religious and civil rights.  Congress sent an official decree to King George III, expressing its sentiments.  

However, because of the importance of Canada as an ally, Congress also sent a note of a different nature to Canada.  One that stressed unity in spite of the difference in religion.  In February of 1776, French representatives from Canada petitioned Congress to send a committee to Canada to explain our dispute with England.  Congress consented.  

The delegation selected by Congress consisted of Benjamin Franklin, a Mr. Chase of Maryland and Charles Carroll, a Philadelphia barrister.  Charles had a relative who fit the description of the Catholic cleric Congress was seeking, his cousin Father John Carroll.

Father Carroll was unaware that his country had hoped to use him as a pawn to lure Canadian Catholics to the cause of the patriots through his vocational work.  He though they wanted him to participate in diplomatic negotiations.  Even though he doubted his presence would be beneficial to his country, he felt his personal opinions and concern for safety were secondary to his patriotic duty.

On April 29, 1776, General Benedict Arnold and a party of military dignitaries welcomed the American party to Montreal, Canada, with a much warmer greeting than that received by Father Carroll from the Canadian clergy.  Bishop Briand ordered Father Pierre Floquet, superior of the Jesuit mission in Canada, to offer no courtesy to the American priest.  

Father Carroll and the other members of the American delegation were held in esteem as honorable citizens of their country.  However, their plea for Congress fell on deaf ears.  The Canadians would not soon forget the message sent to England protesting the Quebec Act.  Nor would they forget acts of bigotry by some of the colonists.  The committee’s futile journey ended when news reached them that British war ships had attacked American troops.  Father Carroll accompanied an ailing Benjamin Franklin back to Philadelphia.  

By June of 1776, Father Carroll had resumed his ministry, not realizing that this mission had set a foundation for the future. Even though the French colony was defeated by the English during the war, control remained with the Catholic Church.

In June of 1784, a separate diocese of the Catholic Church was being organized in the United States.  The Pope’s decision to appoint the Very Reverend John Carroll Prefect Apostolic as the Superior of the Catholic Clergy in America was swayed by a recommendation he received from Benjamin Franklin.  Pope Pius the VI erected the diocese of Baltimore in November of 1789 under the supervision of Bishop Carroll.  

Window 2 – (Missionary in Canoe)
Stained Glass Window Canoe
As early as 1659, a vicar Apostolic had been appointed by the Holy See to the whole of Quebec, Canada known as “New France.”  The first Illinois missions were controlled by the diocese of Quebec.  Research into the beginning of the Catholic Church in Illinois is light.  Robert Cavalier de La Salle may have traveled on the Illinois River in 1669.  At any rate, Jesuits visiting this region prior to Marquette, made such visits with the same purpose in mind that all missionaries had; namely, to spread the Gospel.    

 
Window 3 – (Father Marquette)
Stained Glass Window
Father Marquette was a man with a dream.  For years, he had wanted to bring the message of God to the Indian tribes along the great rivers of the wilderness.  He prayed to the Blessed Virgin for her intercession in his request.

In May of 1673, the 37 year old Marquette and explorer Louis Joliet were assigned by the bishop of Quebec to take a trip of discovery down the mighty Mississippi River.  Their return journey took them up the Illinois River.  While resting at the camp of the Peoria Indians, an Indian couple brought their dying infant to Father Marquette to be baptized.  This is the first recorded Christian sacrament on Illinois soil.

A few days later, Father Marquette was teaching and preaching to the Kaskaskia Indians on the Illinois River, near what is now the town of Utica.  Before leaving, he promised to return and establish a church in their midst.  
Father Marquette’s second journey in December of 1675 brought him first to the mouth of the Chicago River.  Ill health caused the priest to remain in the Chicago area until March of 1676.  His traveling companions built a log cabin which served as his home and the first church in Chicago.  On Holy Thursday in 1676, in the presence of about 5,000 Indian chiefs and elders, young men and women and children, he brought the word of God to the Kaskaskians and sanctified the event with the celebration of Mass.  It was the fulfillment of two spiritual promises.  One was to establish their church and the other was to the Virgin Mary of Her intercession in his prayers.  In Her honor, Father Marquette named his first mission, “The Mission of the Immaculate Conception.”

 

Window 4 – (Father Gueguen and his horse)
Stained Glass Window - Horse
Many pioneer priests had planted the love of God in the fertile hearts of Illinois natives and settlers following Father Marquette’s first visit to the prairie frontier in 1673.

In 1839, Father Gueguen was selected by Bishop Hailandiere as the first missionary circuit rider to attend to the souls in the Northern Illinois area.  Father Gueguen built a log cabin in Waukegan near what is now Green Bay and Buckley Roads.  Waukegan was a popular rest station for missionaries traveling from Canada to southern Illinois.  

From this point, Father Gueguen would begin his four month journeys to bring the sacraments and the word of God to the surrounding settlements.  For six years, he carried all his vestments, his missal and other possessions in the saddle bags on his horse.  His travels would take him as far west as Galena, southeast to Joliet, east to Chicago and then north to his home base in Waukegan.  Murray settlement, the infant beginnings of Transfiguration Parish, was one of the missions served by Father Gueguen.  


Window 5 – (Saying Mass at the Murray House)
Stained Glass Window
By the time Michael and John Murray established the Murray Settlement in 1836, all the Indians had moved westward except for a few roving bands of Winnebagos.  More and more homesteaders were migrating here from the East coast, bringing with them their Irish heritage and their Catholic faith.  Mass was celebrated in the homes of the faithful once a month.  The visiting priest would say Mass, perform baptisms and officiate at weddings.  
A log church was built in 1844 on farmland donated by John Murray, one of the settlement’s original homesteaders.  The new church was named St. John, in honor of its benefactor.  It was one of the first churches under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Chicago diocese, established one year earlier in 1843.  

For several years the Church’s needs were tended to by a priest who visited monthly from the neighboring Meehan Settlement near Lake Forest.  Today, the old Catholic cemetery on Rt. 176 is all that remains as a reminder of the first church.  

Meanwhile, two miles west of the settlements, the village of Wauconda was beginning to grow.  By 1850, the village had a population of 200 farmers and merchants.  Wauconda became a way station for the stage coach on its route from Chicago to Janesville, Wisconsin.  The tiny village had a school, post office, 2 inns, 3 general stores and 3 churches.  In the 1860’s, St. John’s became a mission of the McHenry parish.  Father Burch and Father Welby offered Mass and administered the other sacraments.  
By 1876, the Catholic community of Wauconda celebrated Mass every other Sunday with the mission priest, Father Patrick O’Neill.  Father O’Neill was from St. Patrick’s Church at the Donnelly Settlement in Hartland (now a part of the Rockford diocese).  Murray Settlement parishoners were quickly outgrowing their tiny log church.  
    
Window 6 – (The Old White Church)
Stained Glass Window
Land was purchased from Justice Bangs and in 1877 a new structure was build in Wauconda at the corners of Rt. 176 and Church Street.  It was a handsome, one-story, frame building with a stately steeple and spire.  The dome-shaped sanctuary surrounding the altar and the beautiful stained glass windows made the tiny church a showplace in Lake County.  On August 6, 1877, the Feast Day of the Transfiguration, Bishop Thomas Foley dedicated the new church.  Father Patrick O’Neill renamed the church Transfiguration, in honor of the Patronal Feast Day of the parish.

In the 27 years that Father O’Neill served as Transfiguration’s missionary pastor, he saw the community grow from a small farming settlement into a respectable and prospering village.  There were several industries around town, including: a saw and grist mill on the lake at the end of Mill Street; a foundry and blacksmith shop on Main Street; a limestone kiln; and a brick yard on the Cook farm.

By the turn of the century, Wauconda was linked to the bustling communities around it by the independently owned Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railway Systems.  The steam locomotive’s rails followed what is now Old Rand Road.  In Palatine, its products were loaded on the Northwestern Railroad and shipped to Chicago.  Wauconda hauled milk and livestock into the city; in return, the little train would carry coal, groceries and passengers back to Wauconda.  The complexion of the village was beginning to change.

So was the complexion of the church.  Transfiguration welcomed its first resident priest, the Reverend Steven Woulfe in 1903.  It was at this time that the church was formally established as a self-sufficient parish.  During the 7 years that Father Woulfe served the Catholic community in Wauconda, he oversaw the construction of the rectory.  This grand, two-story frame building next to the church was used as a rectory and home for priests until 1979 at which time the building was sold and moved to the corner of Mill and Church Streets.  It is now a private residence.  
 
Father Burke became interim Pastor for 1 year in 1911 until Father Thomas Murphy was appointed Pastor of Transfiguration Parish in 1912.  Wauconda was still a rural farming community with a year-round population of less than 400 people.  There was no gas, electricity, sewer or water service.  At night, the main streets of the village were illuminated by kerosene lanterns tied to ropes.  The ropes were stretched across the unpaved roads, leaving the lanterns suspended in midair.  At dusk, the Village Marshall would lower the lanterns, light them and rehang them.  At dawn, he would snuff out the wick, refill the lanterns and rehang them.  

It was 1922 when Wauconda was finally linked to the rest of the world by paved roads.  Ironically, the little train that hauled gravel to build these highways went out of business because trucking was a quicker and more efficient way of transporting supplies.  In 1921 Father Gahagan became pastor of Transfiguration parish.  He was a kind and dignified man, beloved by parishioners and townspeople alike.  Following his death in 1943, Father John Mulligan, the parish administrator, assumed parish responsibilities.  

Father Mulligan, as with many Americans affected by the stock market crash in 1929, did not trust the banking system.  It was not unusual for the priest to pay church bills with Sunday collections that had been stashed under the corners of the rectory rug.  

The village’s natural beauty and its easy accessibility to Chicago, made it a popular resort spot for families living in the city.  During these years, the Catholic community’s population began to swell to overflowing, especially during the hot summer months.  

The tiny, white frame building that had served Transfiguration parish so well was now too small.  Plans were discussed for building a larger church.  When the request for a new church was made to the diocese, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, suggested that the congregation first concentrate on building a convent and parochial school.

This school became a reality in September 1948 when 27 students enrolled for classes.  The six grades of primary school were conducted at the new two-story frame structure at 310 Mill Street.  There were two classrooms on the first floor and private rooms for the Sisters, including a small chapel, on the second floor.

The Franciscan Sisters from Wheaton were responsible for the education of the children.  They were members of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.  Students learned the 3R’s as well as fundamental Christian doctrines and values.  In addition to their responsibilities in the classrooms, the sisters also acted as sacristans for the church, sodality moderators, organists, choir directors for the children and coordinators for the altar boys.

The Transfiguration School Club was formed in 1948 to aid in the financial needs of the school.  Also, in 1948 a small group of vocally gifted men and women formed a choir.  They sang at 11:00am Mass every Sunday and were also asked to entertain at many dinner and club functions.  

In the following year (1949), an additional school room was built in the basement of the convent to accommodate the influx of students.  The school also expanded its studies to include the seventh grade.

Parish growth continued and on Palm Sunday, April 2, 1950, Father Mulligan turned the first spadeful of dirt during the ground-breaking ceremonies at the site of the new school.  By November of that year a brick structure containing 4 classrooms, a kitchen and a gymnasium was ready for occupancy.  

The Holy Name Society at Transfiguration was formed in 1950.  These men gathered to honor the Names of God and Jesus Christ through their examples of pious living.  In 1951, the Young Ladies’ Sodality was formed.  Members congregated to foster devotion, reverence and filial love towards the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the same year, the Young People’s Forum was started.  Junior and senior high school students cultivated a deeper knowledge and understanding of religious history in general and that of the Catholic Church.  

The village was experiencing a building boom in the late 40’s to the mid 50’s.  Between 1951 and 1954, enrollment increased from 164 to 274 students.  Temporary classrooms were set up in the gym to accommodate the overflow.  

Plans were made to build a combination school/church addition to the already existing brick structure.  Committees were formed to help raise funds, obtain pledges and coordinate social events.  Bingo became a popular weekly event with townspeople.  The annual August dinner attracted over 800 parishioners and friends.  There were card parties, bake sales, dances, fashion shows, rummage sales and raffles.  It not only brought in the needed finances for the building fund, but fostered a sense of community and wholesome entertainment for Catholics and non-Catholics in the village.

Window 7 – (Prior Church)

Mass was celebrated in the new church on July 10, 1955.  The complex was blessed and dedicated by Cardinal Stritch in November of the same year.  A parish dinner in honor of the Cardinal was served by members of the Federated Church, a Protestant church in Wauconda.  After dinner, Cardinal Stritch confirmed 179 children and adults at a special ceremony in the new church.  The students of the new school studied under the direction of 6 Franciscan nuns and 2 lay teachers.  

The little white frame church was still used to celebrate Mass when crowds were too large for the new church.  Eventually, the little church was remodeled and is still being used today as a meeting hall.

By November of 1955, Father Mulligan’s health was beginning to weaken.  Even though he had been helped on Sundays and Holy Days by Father Thomas Donnelly from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein for several years, the rigors of his responsibilities were taking their toll.  He wrote to the Cardinal asking permission to retire.  

Father Thomas McMahon was appointed Administrator of Transfiguration parish by the Cardinal and celebrated his first Mass with the devoted on November 13, 1955.  The tiny mission church which started with just a few faithful settlers in 1936 now served a Catholic community bordered by the McHenry/Lake county line on the west, Fairfield Road on the east, Volo to the north and to the Barrington limits on the south.  

By the mid 50’s, men were returning from the Korean War with no jobs available.  There was never a day that someone wasn’t knocking on the door of the rectory asking for help.  Some only needed a few dollars, others had sick children, or no food or shelter.  It was because of this need in the community the St. Vincent De Paul Society was established.  

Father Tom tried to make the church and its facilities a central gathering place for the parishioners.  In the evenings, the gym was used by various age groups for everything from socials and dances to volleyball and badminton to basketball and roller skating.  Even the nuns had time on Sunday afternoons to lace up their own shoe skates, a gift from the pastor.  Father Tom began the Grade School Basketball Tournament with 8 teams from the public and parochial schools surrounding Wauconda.  The Sisters formed the first group of cheerleaders to cheer the team to victory.  

In 1956 Father McMahon took his oath of office as the newly appointed pastor of Transfiguration parish, shedding his role as administrator.  

During Father McMahon’s administration, many pieces of property surrounding the old church, rectory and school were purchased.  Some were paved with gravel to provide much needed parking; others were turned into playgrounds for the school and neighborhood children.  A tiny home, originally owed by the Murray family, was purchased as a residence for Transfiguration’s caretaker and his family.  When the village streets were widened and paved, the home was moved to a lot across the street from the rectory on Church Street.  This eventually became the home for the pastors of the parish.  Another piece of property (on Bangs Street) with a home and large, heated garage was purchased by the church.  Space in the garage was leased to the village to house heavy equipment but the church kept one stall for the dilapidated school bus the church used to transport high school students to class at the parochial school in Elgin, 26 miles from home.  

The church was spiritually alive with parishioners participating in inquiry classes, 40 hour devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, Lenten devotions, Stations of the Cross and mission service.  People with special needs, such as widows and widowers were encouraged to attend NAIM conferences.  Young children were tended to by volunteers from the Young Ladies’ Sodality during Sunday services so mothers could attend Mass.  With the help of the Altar and Rosary Society, Father McMahon encouraged families to join the League of the Sacred Heart which had been established in the parish in June of 1907.  Every Saturday for a whole year, the Pilgrim Virgin was carried to a different home where the Fatima Rosary and other prayers were said.  

In 1957, Father John P. Sullivan was appointed as the first assistant pastor to the every growing church.  He would help Father Tom tend to the needs of the Catholic community.  The men of the parish worked diligently to remodel the 50 year old rectory and make it a safe and comfortable home for Father Tom and Father John.  A crew of workmen paved the parking lot between the church and the Elm theatre.  The Holy Name men built a stone grotto around the Blessed Mother’s statue between the rectory and school.  Sod was laid between the convent and the new church.  

In February 1957, the first Cana and pre-Cana conferences were conducted for married and soon-to-be-married couples.  It was also the year that the parish credit union was organized.  This became a blessing for families unable to obtain a loan through conventional sources.  

In 1958, Father Sullivan became the first chaplain of the newly formed Knights of Columbus, Queen of Angels Council, in Wauconda.  

To help reduce the church’s $255,000 deficit, the parish hosted a 4 day summer carnival ending with a chicken dinner on Sunday.  A committee of over 100 volunteers served 1,200 meals from noon to 7:00pm.  A raffle was held to give away not one, but five new cars!  These events became major fund-raisers to support the parish, the school and church for many years.  

Transfiguration parish owned a one and a half acre cemetery 2 miles east of Wauconda on Rt. 176.  It was difficult to maintain and usually received care only when a loving family tended to their family’s plots.  When the elderly grave digger died, there was no one to replace him.  More than once, Father Tom or the Church’s caretaker would dig the graves themselves.  In the late 50’s, title for the cemetery was given to the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese and they have continued maintenance of the site ever since.

The parish school was once again suffering from growing pains.  Four additional classrooms with a basement were added to the already existing brick building.  The new addition was dedicated in May of 1960.  The ceremonies were on the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Word came from the superintendent of schools that St. Edward’s High School in Elgin would no longer be able to accommodate students outside their city.  Transfiguration students who were already enrolled could finish their 4 year term but no freshmen would be accepted.  In the same year it was announced that a co-operative high school for boys and girls would be built in Mundelein to serve the educational needs of Catholic high school children from the surrounding communities.

A flurry of rumors spread through town like wildfire in 1961, the year the church bought the building that housed 2 stores, an apartment, a doctor’s office and the Elm theatre.  Whispers across backyard fences said that since the Church owned the theatre, girls had to sit on one side and boys on the other.  The nuns were the cashiers; Father Sullivan was the usher and Father McMahon the ticket taker.  It was not long before these rumors were put to rest and the community was treated to a long list of regularly scheduled movies and events.  During the day, the students used the newly acquired theatre for classes.  They organized class plays, band concerts and fashion shows.

Vatican Council II opened on October 11, 1962.  Pope John the XXIII told the world that the intentions of the council were “the promotion of the Catholic faith, the restoration of Christian morality, and the endeavor to make the discipline of the Church match the condition of modern times.”  It was a new beginning for the Church.  August of 1963 was a new beginning for Father McMahon.  He was transferred to St. Jude’s Parish on the south side of Chicago.  Monsignor Thomas Fitzgerald, Spiritual Director of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic women, was appointed as the pastor to succeed Father Tom.

Monsignor Fitzgerald was a people priest.  He loved his parishioners and they loved him.  During his five years at Transfiguration parish, he continued the programs begun by Father Tom and collected the pledges for the building fund.  Monsignor Fitzgerald brought a sense of family to the parish.  He organized family outings, golf tournaments and bridge parties.  There was a spirit of unity within the parish.  

School enrollment peaked in 1964 with 564 students attending classes.  The Parents’ Club was formed to help the Sisters purchase school equipment as it was needed.

To help minister the needs of the families in the parish, Father Brian Morgan arrived in Wauconda in 1965.  The quiet, unassuming man performed his priestly duties for the parish for two years.  In 1966, Father William Meagher also joined the clerical staff.  He was devoted to the children of the parish and spent time developing programs and retreats for them.  It was a sad day for the parishioners of Transfiguration in April of 1967 when they learned of the death of Father Sullivan.  

A new assistant pastor, Father John Krebs joined the parish family in June of 1968.  He was a kind and compassionate man with a deep concern for the family.  He spent many hours counseling individuals and couples to help them live a more loving life through Christ.  

Rev. John Cashman, formerly assistant pastor at Resurrection Church in Chicago, was appointed pastor to Transfiguration in 1968.  He continued to serve the parishioners of Wauconda until April of 1970 when illness caused him to take the position pf pastor emeritus.  Springtime brought the parish a new pastor, Father Thomas Curley.

The cost for upkeep and maintenance on the school and church buildings was skyrocketing.  Weekly collections at Mass were not enough to cover the expenses.  Father Curley met with a handful of energetic and talented people in 1972 to discuss the possibility of a major fund raising activity.  It took a year to coordinate, coax and convince the parish and the town that the school could be transformed into a large-scale entertainment extravaganza for two weekends in the spring.  Thus was the birth of Night Train.  

Each year, this imaginary locomotive took its passengers on a fantasy journey to another time, another land.  The themes would change each year.  One year it was New York, the next year, San Francisco.  Other themes included trips to Rush Street, Paris, even a trip into the world of fantasy.

The classrooms and hallways were so cleverly camouflaged that patrons were completely caught up in the spirit of the event.  The smaller rooms were turned into cabarets.  Performers would sing, dance, joke and enact skits.  The gym was used to present a fully orchestrated, original play, many of which were spoofs on popular movies.  Other rooms were turned into restaurants serving authentic ethnic cuisines.

For 12 years, Night Train was the biggest attraction in Wauconda.  Thousands of people came to attend from as far away as Indiana and Chicago on the south, to Wisconsin on the north.  Over 600 Catholic and non-Catholic people volunteered their time and talents to create this larger-than-life production.  Many of the supplies and goods were donated by village merchants.  The foods were prepared by the men and women in the parish as were the props, costumes and stages.  Even the priests took an active part in the event.  Some entertained, while others tickled our palates with their culinary expertise.    

Father Charles O’Brien was assigned as assistant pastor to Transfiguration in 1973.  He hopped on board the Night Train caravan and stoked the fires with his quick wit and hopeless hyperboles.  He divided his time between coordinating the souvenir booklet and cooking some hot Mexican dishes.  During the rest of the year, he devoted his time to spreading the word of God through adult Bible classes.  
 
Night Train cemented a spiritual bond between families and friends, Catholics and non-Catholics, priests and parishioners, village and parish. In August of 1976, Rev. Byron Maher became pastor of Transfiguration Church.  By then, Transfiguration parish served 1,112 families in the Wauconda area.  The school had 212 students who studied under the direction of one Fransican Sister and eleven lay teachers.  There were many groups organized by that time to meet the needs of members of the parish.  Among them were:  The Parish Council, Council of Catholic Women, Mothers’ Club, Guitar Mass Group, the Pullman Players Theatrical Troupe, Religious Education Programs, a Pro-Life Committee and a Couples Club.  

Father Richard “Doc” Bartz became assistant pastor in 1979.  He was young and related well with the teens in the parish, but his first zeal was to the celebration of Mass.

In 1979, a “Reach Out” campaign was developed to extend the hand of Christ to all Catholics in the parish.  Volunteers went door-to-door to canvas families; to listen to their needs, to encourage participation in the church and to rekindle the love of God.  In 1981, a 3 year “Renew” program was started to help parishioners gain a better understanding of their life’s goal in relation to the goals set by God.

1981 was also the year that Charlie Krupp died.  It was not made public to the parishioners until 1983 that this generous man had donated $700,000 to the church for the purpose of building a new house of worship.  His dream was realized when the magnificent oak and brick building was dedicated on May 5, 1985.  The new assistant pastor, Father Ronald Folger stood on the threshold of a new beginning with Father Maher and his new parish family.

Window 8 (Bishop Quarter)
Stained Glass WindowThe first Bishop of Chicago was instrumental in the beginnings of our church in Wauconda.  The Right Reverend William Quarter assumed his position as Bishop of Chicago in May of 1844.  He has been touted by Church historians as one of the most prominent and successful Church leaders in Illinois history.  

Born in Ireland, the youth virtually grew up in the church.  At the age of 8, he entered a Catholic boarding school.  By 16, he set sail from his native land to America to continue his education at Mount S. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, MD.  Besides his own studies, the young man was placed in charge of teaching Greek, Latin, and Algebra.  In his second year of residence, the 18 year old was appointed Professor of Greek and Latin languages.  In 1829, 5 days after graduating from the seminary, he was raised to the dignity of the priesthood.  Because of his age (under 23), he required special dispensation for his ordination.  

The formation of the new Chicago diocese meant a break from the jurisdictions and the Bishops of Vincennes, Indiana and St. Louis, MO. 

When bishop Quarter took office, the Bishops from both diocese recalled all priests in Illinois whom they had assigned to this area.  This left only the new Bishop and his brother, Father Walter Quarter, to tend to the needs of the Catholics in Illinois.

Despite the early problems, the miraculous accomplishments of Bishop Quarter can be seen through the growth of the church.  Less than a month after his arrival, he petitioned the State of Illinois for a charter to form St. Mary of the Lake in Chicago as a university.  It was granted in December of 1844.  The university was later moved to Mundelein.  

During the 4 short years Bishop Quarter administered to the diocese of Chicago, he ordained 29 priests and approved the building of 30 churches.  He stayed close to his flock and visited as many clusters of the faithful as possible.  The little log church of Murray Settlement was one of those visited.  The number of Catholics continued to increase in every parish of the new diocese.

At the time of his unexpected death, he left the Chicago diocese with a legacy of 53 clergymen, 20 seminary students and not one cent of debt.

Acknowledgements are due to the reverend clergy and lay members of Transfiguration Parish and in particular those past historians who have put into words many of the deeds mentioned herein.  Without their timely research and effort, this booklet could not have been possible. 

Window 9 (Resurrection)
Stained Glass WindowThe Resurrection of Jesus is the single most critical event in Christianity.  Jesus became man in order to ransom all of mankind from slavery to sin and death, and to unite us into the divine life of God Himself.  Through His passion and death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins.  Then, through the resurrection, He lifted mankind up from death and the grave.  The resurrection is not Jesus’ private victory over death; it belongs to all of us.  We are an Easter People.  
 
Window 10 (Baptism)
Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father Byron G. Maher, the present Pastor and builder of the new church).  We join with Jesus in sharing God’s divine life through Baptism.  Water is destructive as well as life giving.  Floods can devastate and kill; yet, without water, no life can survive.  As we enter the waters of Baptism, we enter the tomb with Christ.  We die to Satan, to sin, and to death itself.  Coming out of the Baptismal waters, we take on the new life of the resurrection.  We are no longer mere human creatures; we are children of God, calling Him “Father;” calling Jesus our brother.  Now we live in God and God lives in us.

Window 11 (Reconciliation)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda
(Father Ronald Folger, present associate pastor)  Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist are referred to as the Sacraments of Initiation, because through them the Christian becomes fully united to the community of the Church and fully participating in the Divine life.  However, our human weaknesses are often stumbling blocks, and sometimes we turn away from God and community through serious sin. The Sacrament of Reconciliation enables us to express our sorrow for sin and to ask forgiveness from God and from the Christian community.  In the words of absolution, the priest proclaims mercy on us…God’s mercy, and also the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in the family of God, who joyfully welcomes us back into the fold.  


Window 12 (Holy Eucharist)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father John Mulligan, former pastor, was responsible for the new school, in which the lower level served as our church until now).  “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you will not have life in you.”  So that we will always remember what He has done for us, Jesus gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink…the Holy Eucharist.  He calls us together as a family to give proper thanks to our Heavenly Father.  Jesus, our brother, is present in our midst to raise us up toward the Father.  He invites us to come and share the Divine banquet and to partake of His body and blood in a sacramental way, so that we may realize that in an even grander way, WE are the Body of Christ.

Window 13 (Confirmation)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Bishop John Vlazny, the Episcopal Vicar of Vicariate I).  We ratify and confirm our decision to live this new Christian life in the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Invoking special guidance and help from the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to fulfill the pledge we have made to be truly Christian.  The holy oil is a visible sign of that commitment, signifying our participation in the priesthood of Jesus the High Priest, and the mission he proclaims to us: “Love one another as I have loved you.  Thus, you will be my disciples, if you love one another.”

Window 14 (Matrimony)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father Richard “Doc” Bartz, who was instrumental in planning the new church).  A man and a woman, in an act of love, give themselves totally to each other in the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Two lives become one in an unbreakable bond, in which they share with God in the greatest act of creation…the creation of human life in the image and likeness of God.  The love of marriage should be just like a mirror, reflecting the love of God in their lives, a self-sacrificing love…total…forever!  

Window 15 (Anointing of the Sick)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Father Thomas McMahon, former pastor, who acquired the land on which the new church is built).  Sickness and suffering are part of life.  Yet, at no other time does a person feel so alone and helpless as when he or she is seriously ill or in some way severely handicapped.  The Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament designed to give comfort and strength through the prayer of the Christian community for the sick person.  The priest imposes hands upon the sick person and anoints them with oil, imploring the Holy Spirit to strengthen them, restore them to health and enable them to once again take up their work in the Community of Church.

Window 16 (Holy Orders)

Stained Glass Window Transfiguration Wauconda(Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, present Archbishop of the Chicago Archdiocese).    When Jesus told his apostles, “Do this in remembrance of me,” He commissioned them to repeat what He had done with them at the Last Supper.  When Jesus told them to go forth and to teach all nations, He sent them out to carry His message to the world.  When Jesus washed their feet, He showed them, by example, how they were to be the servants of all others.  Jesus consecrated them into His own priesthood and assured them He would be with His Church until the end of time.

 

 

 

 

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