Parish History

1885

The Diocese of Omaha is officially founded on August 2, 1885, under Bishop James O'Connor.

1886

The attractive area of 28th and Leavenworth is selected as the future location of Omaha's new cathedral; however, it is decided that a temporary school and church will use this site until the cathedral project is fully funded. Rev. P.J. Boyle is transferred to St. Peter to organize the parish on June 10. St. Peter Parish is formally erected and Rev. Boyle becomes her first pastor.

1887

The first St. Peter building — with a church on the second floor and a school on the first — is dedicated at 28th and Leavenworth. This combination church and school did service until 1926 when the construction of the present church enabled the school to utilize the upper story as well.

In its first year of operation, St. Peter School has an enrollment of 172 students under the tutelage of the Religious of the Sacred Heart.

1890

After an illness of only five days, Rev. P.J. Boyle died of a heart condition on April 14 at the age of thirty-two and was buried in the town of his birth. Rev. William St. Lawrence is appointed parish administrator until January 1, 1891.

1891

Rev. Thomas Conway is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1893

Rev. Thomas Walsh is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1895

St. Peter School is turned over to the care of the Sisters of Mercy.

1897

Rev. John English is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1900

Msgr. James Aherne becomes pastor of St. Peter parish.

1903

Rev. Peter McLaughlin is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1904

The Sisters of Mercy purchase a five-story school building located where the north parking lot is now situated. The school is renamed St. Berchman's Academy. The Sisters of Mercy run this independent school while still overseeing St. Peter School.

1905

The construction of St. Cecilia's Cathedral begins under Bishop Richard Scannell's administration. Originally intended to be located at 28th and Leavenworth, the cathedral is instead situated further west at its current North 40th Street address.

1907

Rev. Patrick McGovern is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish. (Fr. McGovern will later become the bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming.)

1912

Rev. J.F. McCarthy is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish. One of his goals is to build a new church to replace the "temporary" one erected in the 1880s. Rev. McCarthy and the St. Peter parishioners begin a fundraising effort that will go on for several years.

Seven lots are purchased at 31st and Pacific; the land is intended as the site of the new, permanent St. Peter church.

1924

Rev. McCarthy succeeds in setting aside about $100,000 for the new church, a considerable sum for the times. The 31st and Pacific site purchased in 1912 is no longer considered workable as a location, so it is decided the new St. Peter church will be built next to the existing one.

On August 18, a ground-breaking ceremony is held for the new church. The structure is designed by the firm of John Latenser & Sons; the general contractor is Alex Beck.

1926

The new St. Peter Catholic Church is dedicated on May 9. The structure's Greco-Roman facade and its five-aisled, "no-pillar" nave are unique for the time period. The beautiful stained-glass windows are imports from Bavaria; the Carrara marble used for the altar is from Italy.

The old St. Peter building, a combination school-church, is now used exclusively as the school.

1927

Msgr. James Stenson is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1929

St. Berchman's Academy is renamed St. Mary's High School. It is the forerunner of today's Mercy High School.

1931

It is reported the costs of the new church have been paid in full.

St. Peter school has grown to 300 students.

1938

The old St. Peter building is used as a school for the last time; the building will be razed soon to make room for a new, larger school building.

1939

The new St. Peter school building opens. It is designed by the firm of Kimball, Steele & Sandham.

1944

Msgr. James O'Brien is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1955

Work begins on second-floor additions to the school building.

1956

Plans for a new convent building are announced.

1959

Air-conditioning is installed in the church.

1963

Electronic chimes are purchased for the bell tower.

1972

Rev. Ralph O'Donnell is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1973

Rev. Patrick Nolan is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1975

The interior of the church is remodeled. A new church roof is laid.

1976

The building that is now McMahon Hall is purchased by St. Peter parish. During the tenure of pastor Rev. Patrick Nolan, the parish buys several properties in the immediate area.

1978

The Catholic Daughters of America erect Court Our Lady of Omaha, No. 2184, on March 30, 1978.

1979

Rev. Richard Ciurej is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

The Sisters of Mercy spend their last year running the parish school.

1980

The original church pipe organ is repaired and the choir loft is remodeled.

1993

Rev. Aloysius McMahon is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

1995

St. Peter Grade School closes. Enrollment had dropped to 53 students.

1996

Rev. John Rizzo is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

2001

On October 14, St. Peter Church's first Mass in Spanish is celebrated.

2004

Rev. Damien Cook is appointed pastor of St. Peter parish.

2005

The St. Peter clergy, staff and parishioners renovate the bingo hall into a multi-purpose venue. It is dedicated and renamed McMahon Hall in honor of former pastor Rev. Aloysius McMahon on October 23.

Rev. James de Anda is appointed parochial vicar (assistant pastor) of St. Peter Parish on June 16.

The Knights of Columbus erect the Pope John Paul II Council No. 13,956 at St. Peter Parish on Nov. 11, 2005.

2006

St. Peter parish begins its annual outdoor Corpus Christi Procession through the neighborhood on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

2007

On October 7, St. Peter Church hosts the first Blue Mass in the Archdiocese of Omaha. The Blue Mass is offered in honor of those in law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders. Traditionally the Blue Mass is held near or on the Feast of the Archangels on September 29.

2008

Through the financial generosity of the parish and the service of Thomas Heenan, Noah Keller and the parish youth group and altar boys, the second floor of McMahon Hall is renovated and converted into the Upper Room Catholic Library. It is blessed and dedicated on May 3.

Rev. S. Anthony Weidner is appointed parochial vicar of St. Peter Parish on June 19.

2009

The annual St. Peter Catholic Trivia Night is held for the first time on February 21. Featuring questions about the Catholic Faith, the event evangelizes participants while raising funds for the parish.

2010

Begun in the fall of 2009, the new roof of St. Peter Church is finished by Baker Roofing. Tiles with the same coloring and fabricated by the original manufacturer, Ludowici Roof Tile, are used to preserve the look of the building. New roofs are also put upon the convent and parish office building and garages by Hawkins Roofing Company.

On September 11, St. Peter Church hosts the Spiritual Warfare Conference at Qwest Center Omaha. Almost 8,000 people attend the event.

2011

St. Peter Parish celebrates the 125th Anniversary of its institution as a parish.

2012

Rev. Rheo Castillo Ofalsa is appointed parochial vicar (associate pastor) of St. Peter Parish on July 2.

2013

On June 3 the St. Peter Church building is closed for six months to repair and renew its interior. During that time Masses and other sacraments are celebrated in McMahon Hall.