Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Victor, New York holds a unique geographical position in the beginnings of the spread of the Catholic Faith within an emerging nation. In September 1656, Father Joseph Chaumonot, S.J., came to the area and established the Mission of St. James on Boughton Hill, which is located about a mile on the same road, Maple Avenue, from the present site of St. Patrick’s Church.
Many artifacts have been unearthed, to prove beyond a doubt, the presence of the early missionaries in this locality. So, indeed, the area in which St. Patrick’s now stands, holds a heritage of the first endeavors of Christianizing the native American Indians in this part of New York State. The missionaries work was brought to an abrupt end in 1687 by the French Expedition of revenge by Denonville. It was not until many years later, due to the advent of immigrants from the various countries of Europe, that there was a need for churches to supply immigrants with places of worship. It was especially true in regard to those from Ireland. Due to the Famine and the treatment they were receiving from the British, they sought freedom in the land of the Free.
There was also great demand for laborers in constructing the Canal and later in building railroads. Farm workers were also needed. Due to the great influx of new inhabitants, large amounts of food stuffs and raw materials were required for the building of cities. Brought to a strange land, and soon missing the consolation of their Religion, the new inhabitants managed to have occasional services performed by their own priests, who came from Rochester. This, however, did not quell their longing for a church of their own, where they might have Mass and truly worship their God, in keeping with their deep faith. Before the original church was erected, regular services were held in various buildings.At one time, a room over the old Pimm Barber Shop, which was destroyed by fire in 1898, was used as the place of meeting. At intervals a small wood fire was kindled in the cold, dismal room, and a priest would come from Rochester and say Mass. The vestments were carefully kept in a large box and cared for by the same man who attended to the kindling of the fire.
Rachel Beach, the wife of Dr. William Ball, early settlers of the community, was very interested in the Catholics and greatly admired their determination to satisfy their longing for Mass in their own church. She helped them in many ways, About 1850, arrangements were made to hold Mass in the old schoolhouse, then located on what is now known as School Street, and not far from their home. On August 15, 1856, Ms. Beach and her husband sold the site of the first church building for $290. Every man, woman and child of the parish, who was able, helped in some way to advance the church movement. The work rapidly progressed, and in 1858 the church was almost completed. It was a frame, clapboard building, 36 feet by 54 feet in size.
Services were held in the building long before it was completed. There were no pews in the church for a long time, and it was the custom that if anyone wanted a seat in the church, he brought it with him. The Methodist Church, which had been built more than thirty years before, replaced their old benches with more comfortable ones, and sold the discarded benches to St. Patrick’s Church. The windows in the first church were donated by families of the parish in rememberance of loved ones for an average price of $9.00 per window.
In 1859, Victor was coupled with the East Bloomfield Catholic Church as an out-mission.
In 1868, the Diocese of Rochester was established.
From 1888-1917, the parish became the largest and strongest religious group in town. The almost exclusively Irish character of the parish was modified by the influx of the first Italian and German families.
Ground breaking for the present church building and rectory took place July 27, 1924. The church and rectory cost approximately $98,000.00. August 15, 1956 was the 100th Anniversary of St. Patrick’s Parish.
In 1958, a subscription for the construction of a building near Victor Central School to be used for the religious education of the children on released time from public school.
Bingo was started in 1965, in the School of Religion to help the financial needs of the Parish. In 1966, The Legion of Mary was formed. Work began on the construction of a Convent on the Church property in 1967. In December 1969, four Sisters of Mercy came to live in the Convent. Many changes were made in the Catholic Church by Vatican II in the years 1962-1964, and in keeping with one of these recommendations, that the laity have a share in the responsibility of Parish work, Father Shamon, our fifth St. Patrick’s Pastor, called a meeting in 1968, and laid the ground work for a Parish Council. About a year later, after numerous meetings and many hours of planning, the Council members were elected and Council meetings were held each month.
In December of 1969, Rt. Rev. Joseph L. Hogan succeeded Bishop Sheen as Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester. Bishop Hogan moved into our empty convent in the spring of 1971.
In June of 1990, Father George Wiant became the shepherd of St. Patrick’s family. He said he was our brother who has come to walk with us on our journey. Through the discernment process Father George recognized the opportunity to serve God by offering to use his talents by shepherding the St. Patrick’s flock.
In 1992, the discernment process was used to install the Parish Pastoral Council for the first time at St. Patrick’s. Through prayer and discussion, these 12 members served in this ministry for three years. In 1992, Father George asked members of the St. Patrick’s community to serve on a steering committee to look into the construction of a parish center on our Maple Avenue property.
Bishop Hogan moved out of our convent in May of 1995. It was named “The Hogan House” and Father George moved in January 1996.
In the following years, various committees were established in order to create the Parish Center which was dedicated on August 7, 1996. Bishop Matthew Clark blessed the new Parish Center.
Now the Parish Center is an integral part of our community. Besides housing youth ministry, faith formation classes, committee meetings, parish life and diocesan events, the Parish Center hosts some local community events.
In June of 2003, Fr. Wiant retired and Fr. Timothy Niven became the new pastor of Saint Patrick’s Church. In June of 2015, Fr. Tim was assigned to St. Alphonsus in Auburn and Father Edison Tayag became our new pastor.