From its humble beginnings as a mission church in the 1850’s, St. Augustine’s has grown and thrived, serving many sharing the Catholic faith in the Napoleon area. Early settlers included Irish and German immigrants who pulled together, establishing a Catholic parish in Henry County. Through generous contributions of Augustiin Pilliod and James Brennan, the first St. Augustine Catholic Church was built near 514 Hobson St. in 1856. Father J.P. Carroll had become St. Augustine’s first full-time resident priest by 1864 and he added the first school on the lot now occupied by Jackson Cleaners.
With the arrival of Father Dean Michael Putz in 1870, a tremendous period of physical and financial growth began for St. Augustine Church. A lot in the central part of town was purchased and plans were made for a new church and school. The new school came first in 1878 with the Sisters of Notre Dame arriving from Cleveland to serve the children of the parish. A new house for the sisters was constructed as well. A tremendous fund raising effort was needed to secure funds for construction of the new church. Much of the work was done by parishioners and other volunteers from the community. It was completed in 1882. The erection of the steeple was purposely delayed to make sure it rose above the statue on the county courthouse, also under construction at the time. St. Augustine Church was officially dedicated in June, 1883 and the parish had resolved all debt from the construction within two years. Father Putz served St. Augustine parish for an amazing 55 years until his death in 1925. His last concern was the construction of the new school, dedicated two months following his death.
Father Francis Schmuck succeeded Father Putz. He purchased the house behind the church for the current rectory and the Sisters moved into the house across the street formerly used by Father Putz. Their former convent had been razed to make way for the new school.
In 1946, Father Joseph Myers came to serve St. Augustine Catholic Church. Father Myers was a skilled carpenter and completed many renovating tasks in the church and school including turning over each hardwood board on the gym floor, refinishing and re-nailing them back in place.
Father Leo Mahlmeister led further renovations upon his arrival in 1955. Additional classrooms were added as well as kitchen facilities. After 12 years, Father Leo’s health began to fail and Reverend Joseph Mrowca serviced an interim of two years.
In 1969, Father Jerome Swiatecki arrived for an eight-year term of service. Father Jerry’s commanding voice, combined with a sensitive manner, allowed him to serve many in need.
With Father Paul Dorley’s coming to St. Augustine in 1977, a number of new ideas were introduced, including post-funeral meals, Jolly Timers and different religious education programs.
Father Fred Duschl served the parish for over 12 years and, under his guidance, St. Augustine Hall was built along with the connecting breezeway between the church and school.
Father Bob Dendinger began serving our parish in 1994. His three-year tenure was marked by a personal, direct approach in his homilies.
Reverend Patrick Scharf arrived from Toledo in the summer of 1997. Father Pat’s soft-spoken guidance led us into the next millennium with new vision for both St. Augustine Church and School. Father Pat fought a long battle with cancer which he sadly eventually lost.
Father Todd M. Dominique served as the interum Pastor until 2002.
Father Dan Borgelt was appointed and led our parish from 2002 through summer 2014.
Father J. Douglas Garrand II began serving the parish after Father Dan's departure and continues to lead the parish.