St. Helen Catholic Church - 507 E. Highview, Frederick OK, 73542 - (580) 335 - 3298

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The first Mass celebrated in Frederick was in June of 1902 in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Pearl A. Little. There were seven people in attendance and the Mass was celebrated by Fr. Wm. Huffer, who was pastor at Lawton. Masses continued about twice a year under Father Kick and Father Wm. P. Lamb who in turn succeeded Father Huffer as pastor in Lawton.

 

Mass was celebrated in various places as the number of Catholics increased. The Opera House, [the court room, and various halls] were loaned from time to time.

 

The first church in Frederick was built during the pastorate of Father John Van Gastle in 1915 with $1,000, contributed by the Catholic Church Extension Society of Chicago. Labor on the building was volunteered by parishioners. Father Van Gastle was residing at the parish in Hobart. The little church had only six pews and was located at 100 S. 16th, corner of 16th and Grand Avenue.

 

In 1930, the parish was attached to Sacred Heart at Mangum and was served by Father L. Hugo. Under Father Hugo the little church was remodeled and enlarged. Before the work was completed, Father Nick Schmidt was assigned to Mangum and he completed the work on the Frederick church, then known as St. Francis Xavier.

 

World War II brought an airbase to Frederick and the congregation of St. Francis increased. Father Bernard Loftus was pastor of Mangum now and he arranged for the chaplain at the airbase to have Mass every Sunday in Frederick.

 

In 1950 the parish at Mangum with missions of Altus, Frederick, Granite, were assigned to the Dominican fathers with Father Wrobleski as pastor. Other Dominicans who served the missions were Fathers Hamill, Regan, Coverdale and Frank Brown, a brother of Leo Brown, a parishioner. The rectory was purchased by Fr. Coverdale.

 

Fr. Joseph Kolb was assigned to Frederick as resident pastor in June, 1957. Bishop Victor J. Reed became bishop in early 1958 and he came to Frederick to purchase property for a new church. The property at the corner of North 15th and Highview extending west to the highway was selected.

 

James A. Marshall was hired as architect and R. T. Hankins as contractor; both of Lawton. The Catholic Church Extension Society donated $10,000. Paul Schrick did most of the electrical work as a donation; Leo Brown was chairman of the building committee. The first Mass in the new church was celebrated May 28, 1961 by Father Joseph Kolb. the new church was named St. Helen’s at the request of the Extension Society.

 

Two Extension Lay Volunteers, Miss Margaret Schulz of Tuckahoe, N. Y., and Miss Veronica Vorrego of Houston, Texas, spent one year in the parish and mission of Grandfield doing catechetical work. They took residence in the rectory and Father Kolb purchased a mobile home and located it on the church lawn until the new rectory was built in early 1963. The first occupants were two Benedictine Sisters, Sister M. Fabian and Sister M. Roberta, and two high school girls from Oklahoma City, Donna Shidler and Molly Drea, who assisted the sisters.

 

Following Father Kolb, pastors were Fr. Robert Schlitt, 1964 to mid-1965; Fr. Thomas Melton, Aug. 1965-July 1967. Fr. Denis Hanrahan served until June 1969 when Fr. T. W. Darnall was assigned as pastor.

 

Two Carmelite Sisters, Sisters Joan Mary Levesque and Kathleen Blanchard, came to work in the parish in January 1961. They rented a small house at 303 N. 6th St. as a convent and center. They visited every home in the parish and mission at Grandfield and many around Tipton and Snyder. They conducted a vacation school in the summer of 1971 in each of the parishes. The sisters attended school board meetings, city council meetings, PTA meetings, and took an active part in many community activities. They won the respect and friendship of all the people.

(Typed onto the computer by Fr. Stanley from a photocopied page out of a 1974 Church Directory, author currently unknown)

Brief History of St. Helen Catholic Church through 1969

 Frederick, OK