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History of St. Pius X Parish

St. Pius X Church (formerly St. Michael’s) is a frame church built in 1906 under the direction of Fr. Schell at Herreid. The Onida Parish came into existence when the Frank Johnson house and surrounding lots were purchased for a Rectory and future Church site in July of 1954.

Fr. Lawrence Marbach took up residence in Onida in June 1957. In January 1959, St. Michael’s church, 53 feet high, 38x74 feet was moved to Onida from Herreid. The church with its contents plus moving, cost $5,000.00. The first official Mass at the church was said on Holy Thursday, March 26 1959. On July 20, 1959 Bishop Lambert Hoch dedicated the church and renamed it St. Pius X Church. Fr Marbach served the parish until 1963.

In 1963 Fr. Norbert Rader replaced Fr. Marbach, who served as pastor until 1968.

In the fall of 1968 Fr. Leonard Kayser came to St. Pius X and in 1971 he oversaw the building of a new Rectory/Catechetical Center. The cost of the building was $45,000 and was funded by the parishes of St. Pius, Onida, Holy Spirit, Blunt, and Holy Rosary, Agar.

September 1973 – Holy Rosary Church in Agar was closed.

Fr. Kayser left St. Pius X in May of 1976 and Fr. William Neoroth was named interim priest until Fr. Paul Morgan arrived in August of 1976. Fr. Morgan remained here as pastor until May of 1991. When Fr. Morgan Left St. Pius it became a mission of neighboring churches and is currently a mission of Sacred Heart Parish in Gettysburg.

1991 Holy Spirit Church in Blunt closes.

June 1991 – fall 1991 Fr. Tad Bocianowski served the parish as interim priest and was then replaced by Fr. Dominic Petrucci who was here for one year. Fr. Francis Besaw was named pastor in the fall of 1992 and served until July of 1993.

Fr. Michael Schneider was assigned to replace Fr. Besaw in July of 1993 and remained here until July of 1997.

In August of 1993 Sister Veronica Haag, OSB, came to live in the parish rectory and serve as Pastoral Associate for the parish. She served the parish until her retirement to Mother of God Monastery in Watertown in 2006.

In March of 1994 remodeling of the Sanctuary began and one year later a new gathering space and entrance ramp were constructed along with other outdoor improvements.

New stain glass windows were purchased and installed in April of 1996 at the cost of $24,745.00.

From July 1997 – July 2021 the parish was served by the following priests:

July 1997 – July 1998 – Fr. Charles Mangan

July 1998 – July 2000 – Fr. Chester Murtha

July 2000 – July 2001 – Msgr. Marvin McPhee

July 2001 – February 2004 – Fr. Ken Lulf

March 2004 – June 2004 – Fr. Matthew Vazhappily

June 2004 – 2007 – Fr. Mark Axtman

2007 – July 2021 – Fr. Jerry Kopel

July 2021 – July 2023 – Fr. Brian Simon

In September of 2009 the Parish celebrated its 50 year anniversary with a potluck picnic in the city park.


Our parish of 68 households have been served since July, 2023 by Fr. Joe Holzhauser

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