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The Beginning of a Church Community:
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati expands, from the former ethnic enclaves in the heart of old Cincinnati to the rural farmlands of Logan County two hours north and by 1983, the Interstate 71-275 corridor, northeast into Warren and Clermont counties was growing at 20 times the pace of the rest of the Archdiocese. Catholics threatened to overwhelm the area churches: St. Columban in Loveland, Good Shepherd in Montgomery, and St. Philip’s in Morrow. However in Landen, the new heart of the boom, there was no church.
The first mark of St. Margaret was made in December of 1983 Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk sent a letter and announced: “I have decided the time is ripe to begin a new parish in your midst.” to be formed in the Landen area. The archdiocese bought 38 acres for the new church complex and a home next door would be used as a rectory.
Hundreds of families received that letter as an invitation to join a nonexistent church community. St. Margaret of York, named for Margaret Clitherow, a 16th-century English woman martyred for harboring priests, would grow near the one-stop-light village of Twenty Mile Stand. Potential parishioners were prepared to begin the venture, yet a key element was still missing: a shepherd to lead the flock.
In February 1984, The Catholic Telegraph announced Fr. James Roettele had been appointed as St. Margaret’s pastor. Fr. Roetelle told The Telegraph he was “overwhelmed” by the appointment, and had some “fear and trepidation.” But that did not stand in his way. He immediately organized a steering committee and word spread that a meeting would soon be held. At that meeting Fr. Roettele told everyone that he would never be able to create the new parish by himself– the parish community would be established by the energy of the people.
On May 6th, 1984 a few dozen families along with Fr. Roettle and Deacon Jim Batcheldor waited patiently in the rain outside Kings Middle School waiting for a custodian to let them in. When the custodian failed to show, a man found an open window and climbed through it to let everyone inside. St. Margaret of York’s first Mass started an hour late.
In his first homily, Fr. Roettele talked about similar Masses at someone’s home or on a retreat, Masses that “give a sense of intimacy and an aura of specialness that increase the sense of community during the liturgy.” Simply put, St. Margaret felt like home from the beginning. Commissions– education, maintenance, parish council, finance – were up and running by the end of May. Religious education began immediately. It was a time of great excitement and enthusiasm for the new parish.
Three months after the first Mass, on July 31st, 1984 Fr. Roettle unexpectedly passed away at the age of 59. His funeral Mass was held at Sacred Heart Church in Fairfield and an evergreen tree stands behind the rectory in honor of St. Margaret’s first pastor. The new parish without a pastor faced a threat to its very existence. Parishioners were puzzled over their future but kept up parish activities. To help fill the void, monsignor Earl Whalen said Sunday Masses.
Only a few weeks after the parish was left pastorless, a new personality with an infectious smile made the scene. Fr. Robert Obermeyer, comfortably set at All Saints Church in Montgomery, made the seven-mile trip up Montgomery Road to the wilderness of Warren County. He made his first appearance at the first parish picnic at Landen Park, on August 26th, 1984.
In November 1984, Fr. Obermeyer, or Fr. O. as he came to be known, was itching for action. He along with the parish council developed and set goals for the parish. “Reaching out to those in need” summed up the church’s mission and became the motto.
In January of 1985 Father suggested that we have our first Festival and by the first weekend in August, we had our first festival at Landen Pointe. Around the same time, Fr. O. suggested the parish form a kindergarten for the children of the parish and by the Summer of 1985 a kindergarten, was opened in the basement of the rectory for the 1985-1986 school year.
St. Margaret was blessed with a third clergyman in 1985, Deacon Raymond Kroger. The spiritual foundation in place, a building commission started in early 1985 on plans for a foundation built of bricks and mortar. By the fall of 1986, an architect had been selected and a fund drive was underway for the church building. In October 1987, Archbishop Pilarczyk put his signature on a contract, and Fr. Obermeyer and Auxiliary Bishop James Garland ceremoniously broke ground on October 11th of that same year. Finally, on September 11, 1988, the people of St. Margaret of York left behind the folding chairs, stark cafeteria flooring, and basketball backboards and into their new spiritual home.
Timeline of Our Parish:
- December 1983 - Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk announces the need for a parish
- February 1984 - Fr. James Roettele named pastor of St. Margaret of York
- May 6, 1984 - First Mass celebrated at Kings Middle School
- July 31, 1984 - Fr. Roettele unexpectedly passes away
- August 1984 - Fr. Obermeyer named pastor of St. Margaret of York
- August 26th, 1984 - First Parish Picnic
- November 1984 - Fr. Obermeyer and Parish Council establish the first motto and mission.
- January 1985 - Plans for a kindergarten take shape.
- October 11, 1987 - Ground broke on church building
- September 11, 1988 - Dedication of the first church
- September 1991 - Broke ground on parish education center
- October 1992 - Dedication of the new parish education center
- 1994 - expansion of parish education center
- 1996 - additional expansion of the educational center
- 1996 - Fr. Tom Kreidler named pastor.
- 2000 - Fr. Jim Simons appointed associate pastor
- 2004 - Fr. James Weber appointed associate pastor
- March 21, 2004 - New church dedicated
- 2008 - Fr. Jan Schmidt named Pastor
- 2010 - St. Margaret of York acquires Stations of the Cross from closed St. Marks
- 2016 - Fr. James Brooks named Pastor
- 2016 - Fr. Tim Fahey appointed associate pastor
- June 28, 2017 - Father Jason Bedel named Pastor
- 2018 - Fr. Maria Raju Pasala appointed Parochial Vicar
- Fall 2020 - Archdiocese of Cincinnati Beacons of Light pastoral planning announced
- May 2021 - Reredos installed in the church.
- December 5, 2021 - St. Margaret of York and St. Columban announced as a Parish Family
- February 15, 2022 - Fr. Chris Worland appointed Pastor of St. Margaret of York and St. Columban Family of Parishes effective July 1, 2022 along with Fr. Ed Smith, Fr. Maria Raju Pasala, and Fr. Larry Tensi as Parochial Vicars.
- April 27, 2023 - Fr. Ed Smith is appointed Pastor of St. Margaret of York and St. Columban Family of Parishes.
- May 20, 2023 - Fr. Stephen Hughes was appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Margaret of York and St. Columban Family of Parishes.