St. John Chrysostom Parish, Forestville
St. John Chrysostom Parish is a sister Parish to St. Mary's.
Located in Forestville, about 17 miles north of Port Sanilac, it is situated next to Lake Huron.
Sunday Mass is celebrated weekly on Sunday at 8:45 a.m.
Parish Council Chairperson: Mr. John Ramisch (989) 864-3050
September 13 is the feast of St. John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople and doctor of the Church. Saint John Chrysostom, was born in Antioch in 344. Having found Christ through his friendship with St. Basil, in 374 he retreated from the world for six years to learn the art of Christian silence. He then returned to Antioch and was ordained a priest. He was so eloquent that the entire city, a hundred thousand listeners, came to hear him, a young man not yet thirty years old. He fled this popularity and adopted the monastic life for fourteen years, until he was taken forcibly to Constantinople, to be consecrated its Patriarch in 398.
His sermons converted a large number of pagans and heretics and greatly inspired his Catholic people to frequent the Holy Sacrifice. On the other hand, his denunciations of vice made him numerous enemies and he was banished twice. His reply to this suffering was: “Chrysostom fears only one thing — not exile, prison, poverty or death — but sin.” At sixty-three years old he was banished a third time to Pytius on the Euxine, a rough journey of nearly 400 miles. He was exposed to every hardship along the way, but nothing could overcome his cheerfulness and his consideration for others. On the journey realizing that his end was near, he received Viaticum, and with his customary words, “Glory be to God for all things. Amen,” passed to Christ.
History of Our Parish
The Catholic faith community of St. John Chrysostom began about 1857 when the Catholic Almanac notes that Mass was occasionally celebrated in the homes of Catholics living in Forestville. In these early years, Fr. Lawrence Kilroy, Fr. Julian Maciejewski, Fr. Joseph Krutell, Fr. Peter Clug, Fr. Rudolf Marker would travel by horseback to visit the Catholics in the Thumb.
In 1875, two families, Mr and Mrs J. Potts and Mr. and Mrs. J. Wahla, each donated a corner of their land to the Bishop of Detroit. In 1891, Bishop John S. Foley gave permission to build a church on this three acre plot located one mile west of Forestville on Bay City- Forestville Road provided that there be no unpaid debts when the church was completed.
Fundraising efforts began at a parish picnic held July 4, 1891 at the Potts’ residence. All the Catholic families in the neighborhood took an active part in raising the monies needed for the church. Fr.George Laugel from SS. Peter and Paul in Ruth oversaw the building of the church which was completed in 1893.
The church building itself has seen several changes. When Fr. George Kauffman moved the church to the south end of Forestville on highway M-25, he also built an addition that doubled the size of the church. In June, 1950, a 20 X 44’ annex was attached to the back of the church to be used as a parish hall, classrooms and an overflow area for summer visitors attending Mass. In 1961 a parish house was bought and moved from its original location west of town to the north side of the church. Later a kitchen was added to the back of the annex.
Originally, St. John Chrysostom has been a mission of SS. Peter and Paul in Ruth. But over the years, it has been attached to other nearby churches. For a time it was attached to St. Patrick’s in Palms. Later in 1939, it was re-attached to SS. Peter and Paul in Ruth 1939. In 1945 it was attached to Our Lady of Lake Huron in Harbor Beach until 1965 when Msgr. Kauffman who had recently retired from Ruth was appointed pastor. In 1973, St. John was attached to St. Anthony in Helena 1973.