JOIN US FOR THANKSGIVING DAY MASS! THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH @ 9:00 AM.
JOIN US FOR THANKSGIVING DAY MASS! THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH @ 9:00 AM.
Here you will find family stories/memories submitted by our parishioners as well as many St. George Church "interesting" and not widely known historical facts.
To submit an interesting historical fact or family story/memory, send us an email at email@example.com or click the link below!
"Our 1st official family portrait was taken for the 2018 church directory (before our daughter was born). It was very special to “officially” join the church. The 2020 outdoor summer concerts were wonderful. Our daughter was just born & it was a way for our family to get out & enjoy the outdoors on summer nights. Our son loved running around the church grounds to live music. Great memories :) Talking with Father Dan is real, he truly listens." - Christine Wick
"One of my favorite memories was in the Fall of 2019 when our son Ben was only 3 years old. It was time for the sign of peace at Mass and Father Dan had gone up the center aisle greeting parishioners and giving the sign of peace. Then when he was heading back up to the altar, Ben quickly scooted out of the pew and ran down the aisle to give Father Dan a hug. This totally surprised Father Dan but he embraced him with a big smile and said "Peace be with you child of God". We were so surprised Ben was brave enough to do that, but it just shows how much even the children of the parish love Father Dan and feel comfortable at St. George. It truly is a family here and we are proud to be a part of it."
- Tom, Karie, Kara and Ben Prokop
"There are so many stories that I could choose from. Two that stand out are when my children Mckinley Robbins, Madyson Robbins, Mia Robbins and Al Robbins were younger and we came to church at St. George. We usually went to St. Martin at the time, but I heard Father Dan do mass and I just loved how he drives you in and keeps you interested. He was fairly new at St. George so I thought that I would introduce the kids to him. We went to Mass and on the way home the kids were talking. They said that whoever that priest was is crazy! Then they proceeded to talk about what he said at Mass. That is when I knew St. George would be my new home. As the years went by, I attended St. George and I really depended on the masses and Father Dan to lead me in the right direction. As in life I had my ups and downs. I was divorced at the time and was struggling and I went to church and prayed that I would find someone that I could rely on and maybe spend the rest of my life with. I prayed that they would be Catholic and I could marry in the Catholic Church. With continued praying and faith I found my person. Mathew came into my life and I felt my prayers were answered. I was so happy that Father Dan married us not only once but twice. I am and will always be thankful for Father Dan and the St. George Church and Community for always being there for me and my family at my worst times. The funny part about Father Dan marrying us the first time was when he said, "I pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Mathew Walker!" Our last name is Buckley! lol. But at the time we needed that laugh. Mathew's father passed away early that morning and we moved up our wedding so he could see one of his sons get married in the Catholic Church. He passed away at around 2:30 am and we were scheduled to get married that day at 4:30 pm. Needless to say he didn't make it in person. We know he was there in spirit. We needed that laugh. Thank You to Father Dan and the St. George Community!"
- Mary Buckley
"November 2, 1986 was the dedication date of the new St. George Parish Hall. Bishop Imesch was the presiding minister. Our daughter, Marcia Walsh, was chosen as one of the youngest parishioners to participate in the celebration. We have a picture of Bishop Imesch holding her outside the hall."
- Mark & Michele Walsh
"Little did we know that some 30 years later, we would become parishioners of St. George. The first time that Marcia and I saw the town of St. George was 37 years ago in 1984. All my family from the Chicago area arrived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ordination for my dad’s youngest brother, the pastor of St. George Parish, Fr. Frank Czerwionka. My first impression of St. George was somewhat startling. While speeding along a two-lane country road, an old stone church plus a few scattered buildings seemed to suddenly sprout up from the farm fields, a tiny community with no stop lights, no sidewalks, no stores. It certainly was nothing like Chicago. My uncle, Fr. Frank, was the pastor of St. George for nine years, from 1983 to 1992, and he returned in subsequent years to help out as needed. During his years as pastor, he also enjoyed serving as chaplain for the Manteno State Mental Hospital. Before he had been ordained a priest, Fr. Frank had been a Viatorian Brother for 10 years and taught at various high schools; and prior to that, he was a soldier with General George Patton’s Third Army in Europe. His job was to drive a truck that refueled tanks and halftracks. It was in the thick of battle that he confirmed a commitment to become a priest. While part of Patton’s ‘Spearhead Division’ he earned 5 battle stars. On his anniversary day in 1984 after the celebration of Mass, all the family and friends thronged across the road for a luncheon and speeches in the old church hall. The hall was frame building on the other side of the main road in front of the church. There were lots of local friends because Fr. Frank had taught shop and religion for a number of years at St. Patrick’s High School – the predecessor to Bishop McNamara High School—and had served in many local parishes, including as Associate Pastor for Kankakee’s St. Patrick Church. Also at the luncheon were lots of family members. Fr. Frank was from a big family on the Northside of Chicago. He was one of 7 children, his mother had been one of 14, and his father had been one of 11. Lots of family were in attendance, including almost 40 nephews and nieces along with all of their spouses and children. During Fr. Frank’s tenure as pastor, he was proud that a new brick church hall had been built, just a bit to the west of the church. Fr. Czerwionka’s name is inscribed on the dedication stone imbedded on the front of that building. Fr. Frank died in 2005. In his 46 years of priestly ministry, he had been the priest and chaplain for a good number of Kankakee parishes, hospitals, and nursing homes. He always said, however, that his best years were the nine that he spent as pastor of St. George. It was that ministry and those people that he loved the most. In fact, he went to considerable effort to be able to be buried in the St. George Cemetery behind the church and behind his old rectory. All the deceased Viatorian priests and brothers, some 60 of them who ministered to the people of Kankakee County and its surrounding areas, are buried in the northwest corner of the Canterbury Lane section of Maternity BVM Cemetery. In order to be exempted from this cemetery, Fr. Frank had to file a special request with the Viatorian Order’s Superior for a special permission. So now his final resting place is with his beloved St. George. His grave site is in the center of the cemetery where the center road and pathway meet. His is the only grave with two headstones, or rather a headstone and a footstone. The one stone acknowledges him as our family member and priest. The other, added by the U.S. Military, recognizes his Bronze Star service to the nation during World War II."
- Jim Czerwionka
"One of the wonderful things about St. George church is its friendly and loving people. One of the best things was the way (pre-Covid) everyone in the church would go around and greet each other during the sign of Peace. It has led to so much friendship. An example of that is these special men. I complimented Deacon Joe, with what a wonderful voice he had and he always smelled so good. Jim, I commented on his wonderful smile. These simple gestures have led to adding special people to our lives."
- Mary Ann Drexler
"In April 2018, my brother Tom passed away at the age of 69 from a terrible 11 month battle with Colon Cancer. For his 70th birthday (Dec. 29), we requested to have a mass said in his honor at St. George. We invited my brother’s wife, his children, his grandchildren and our children and grandchildren. As you know, the Sunday after Christmas is the feast of the Holy Family. We weren’t even thinking of that when we scheduled the mass, just thinking of Tom’s birthday. As you can guess, the Homily Father Dan did was so moving. Father Dan said the Mass with such enthusiasm and excitement, like he was talking to each one of us personally. During the mass, my brother’s 16 year old grandson (who I’m pretty sure had not ever been to church) leans over to his grandmother and asks, “Can we come back here next Sunday?”. So glad our Son and Daughter-in-law introduced us to St. George Church. Such a warm loving community."
- Mary Ann Drexler
“Because both of my parents are of French-Canadian ancestry and our genealogy records indicate that many ancestors were married in St. George Catholic Church in Henryville, Quebec, my husband and I spent a couple of days visiting that area. I have photos of the St. George Catholic church in Henryville, the parish that the current St. George Church in Bourbonnais was patterned after. Though Henryville's St. George church was locked when we visited, I was amazed at how similar the outside of the building resembles the current St. George Church of Bourbonnais!
I have five photos to share: one of the St. Georges d'Henryville church building, one of its cemeteries, and three that include the sign on the church's front lawn. My apologies for my being in those three but I remember wanting the t-shirt to be shown. It had actually been my dad's t-shirt since he was still a member of your church in 1997. He passed away in 2009 and I kept his shirt. The French phrase "a la prochaine" is supposedly an expression they use to say, "until next time" or "see you next time." The photos I've attached actually date back to 2012 so it's possible that Henryville's church building has changed in the past ten years.”
- LuAnn Benoit Boggess
"1965: That’s the year that Sister Flora started teaching me how to play the organ at St. George Church. I’d been one of the piano students who would take lessons in the convent and later had permission to walk to the church during school recess (at St. George Elementary) to practice the organ. I have many happy memories of being organist and choir accompanist under the direction of Ken Bunnell until my college years and relocation to Indiana."
- LuAnn Benoit Boggess
"Congratulations St. George on 150 Years! I have only been a member since 2017 but felt welcomed into the family since day one. I am thankful to Cathy Trezise for introducing me to everyone and to Anne Neal for helping me to become a eucharistic minister. I love Father Dan and going on the pilgrimages with him. Our church is as beautiful outside as it is inside. I thank God every day for leading me to St. George. I am very blessed to be a part of this community."
- Pam Cuchiara
"This memory is from back about 22 years ago, and includes Cathy's nephew, my Godson Zachary. We were driving around the country to show him tractors, cows and horses. When he would see a tractor or animal, he would get excited and talk to them. As we were driving by St. George Church, he got really excited and was talking and laughing. When I asked him why, he told me he was talking to the angels and pointed to St. George Church. That memory will stay with me forever."
- Judy Krueger / Cathy Trezise
"When I was 9 years old, I became an altar boy after learning all the Latin prayers an altar boy needed to know. The Sacristy, known today as the “pie room”. was where the priest and the altar boys would dress for mass. There was only 8 and 10 o’clock mass and all the altar boys who came to church would dress for mass. In those days the Sacristy was connected to the church behind the altar and the altar boys came out first and went to the pews on either side of the altar in the sanctuary. On Tuesday, July 14, 1959, that would come to an end.
Working with my dad on the farm that sunny July afternoon a fire truck went by heading east and seeing a huge cloud of smoke, we both jumped into the pickup truck to see what was burning. When we got to St. George we couldn’t get past the bridge as a fire truck was parked in the middle stretching a hose down to the water. When we started to walk up to the church the fireman asked if we could help with the hose as there was only a few inches of water in the creek and they could not get water. Dad and I went into the creek with shovels and began digging a hole for the hose to get water for the fire truck. We began digging a dam across the creek to get more water. After a while I left my dad to see the fire. When you look at the picture of the man in the creek It is Francis Raymond, my father who stayed until the firemen were sure they had enough water to supply the fire trucks.
I got to the fire in time to see the steeple fall to the ground behind the firemen working at the front door. The bell had already fallen into the entry way and it was so hot the water coming out of the building was kept inches away due to the excessive heat. That is the same bell that is in front of the church today. It was a sad day. People asked, “Why would God burn down his own house?” No one knew exactly how it started but it was soon determined that spontaneous combustion from paint rags stacked on the back porch started the fire. Someone asked Father Lynch, our pastor, what time the fire started? As he stared at the burning building he answered, “The middle of the second inning.” In those days the Cubs only played day games and they started at 1:30 on WGN Channel 9.
A local farmer saw the fire as he worked in his field east of the church and made the comment “When I first saw the fire, I could have put it out with a bucket of water”. Of course, that was impossible to do as the fire spread so quickly.
The following Sunday we had mass in the parish hall across the street. An alter was set up on the stage and folding chairs were set up as pews in the church. We had kneelers that stood on the floor with an inch of sponge rubber and a hard brown covering on top similar to inlaid linoleum.
The spring of the next year we followed the construction closely. As work progressed the sounds of workmen and machinery made it difficult to concentrate on school.
We had mass in the parish hall until the new church was dedicated the following year on Sunday, September 18, 1960. Pledges made, financing secured, and planning and construction done in 14 months."
- Merle Raymond
"Homecoming. That’s what we called the Summer Fest when I was a kid. I grew up in St George. Every summer we looked forward to Homecoming. I remember wanting to sign up for jobs on a clipboard on the front doors. The job I liked best was working in line passing out desserts/pies and keeping a variety on the table for people to choose. The day before, ladies of the church would meet in the pie room and cut the pies and put on plates with plastic wrap. The Country store was in the Convent and ladies of the church made their best crafts and sold them. They also made baked goods too. Frieda Bouchard made the best cookies and treats. The best part of Homecoming, besides the delicious chicken, was that friends and family came from far and near to enjoy the traditional church picnic. My other memories are that Homecoming lasted until late in the night. Men drinking and laughing, kids running around playing and ladies just cleaning and closing things up. It's nice that St. George Church has kept this tradition. Not sure when the first Homecoming started, but it should definitely be a part of the 150 year celebration and for many more years to come."
- Meribeth Pierce
"Welcome to St. George
I moved to Bourbonnais in 2004 and a couple years later, I decided to “check out the little church in the country”. What a pleasant surprise! I immediately felt at home. Fr. Dan’s homily was outstanding that day, so I went back the following week. So refreshing to have something said during the homily that I would remember during the week.
The open friendliness of the parishioners was and is still awesome. I have made many new friends in the area while being able to enrich my spiritual life. I am a “cradle Catholic” that spent my first 20 years at St. Martin’s in Martinton, then the next 40 at St. Mary’s in Beaverville, and now working on the rest of my years at home at St. George."
- Mary DePatis
"We have been members of St. George church for about 30 years. When my youngest was little, she would be so excited to be a part of the Christmas Eve mass. The kindergarten or first grade CCD class would dress up as Mary, Joseph, the 3 kings, and recreate the manger scene. She was so excited the year she got picked to be Mary. She was so excited to take part in this church ritual."
- Shari Fritz
"Some years ago, when Father Yarno was our Priest, my wife and I were doing many things for the church including preparation of the wine and hosts for the Mass. On one occasion after a Mass, while I was cleaning and putting things away, Father Yarno asked in a quiet, kind voice, “Tim did you prepare the wine for Mass today?” Being honored to help and with a smile I said “Why yes Father I did. Why?” He responded in the kindest way with “You’re much more generous than Nan” meaning DON’T fill it up so much! I was a little less generous after that."
- Timothy Rehmer