The St. Cornelius parish was formed in 1957. The first Masses were held in the upstairs room of the current Dryden Public Library. The original church building was constructed the following year and is now our multi-purpose room, Dunn Hall. In 1986, we completed an addition of 2400 square feet, our present church, to keep up with our growing enrollment.
After 38 years as a mission church, we were pleased to become a full-fledged parish on September 25, 1995. At that time, we happily welcomed Father Wayne G. Ureel as our pastor and constructed a modest home for him next to the church grounds. The following year we finished a large garage for additional storage. A fourth weekend Mass was added in September 1997. In 1998, Deacon Don Cox was welcomed to the parish.
Over the years, our membership has grown a lot, causing growing pains in many areas of parish life. There are activities going on each night of the week, often two or three at the same time. As a result, a 3,000-square-foot building was built in 2001. It houses Administrative and Family Faith Formation offices and two meeting rooms.
Father Dunn retired in 1995 but served the parish until May 2001. Rev. Matthew Kafka joined our parish in June, 2001 as a weekend associate. He retired completely in February 2012. Plans for a new and larger church began in 1997. Over time many adjustments had to be made, and the project, the result of tireless effort by the Building Committee, underwent several changes due to a variety of circumstances well beyond anyone’s control.
A Building Fund was formally established in the fall of 2001 and continues to this day. Everyone, including new parishioners, is encouraged to make a financial contribution to help with ongoing expenses of the new church. Bequests and year-end tax donations are additional ways to support the Building Fund.
Groundbreaking took place on July 8, 2007. Construction began in earnest, although many hurdles had to be overcome. Parishioners responded generously and finally, after many hours of work by construction crew and parishioners, Bishop Flores dedicated our new church on February 8, 2009!