Parish History

St. Paul the Apostle

St. Paul’s Church was the first Catholic Church in Burlington, founded in 1839 by the Rev. Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli.  Early in the year 1840, the architect-builder-priest built the first St. Paul’s Church. The original building occupied what is now the sanctuary and sacristies of the present building.The second church building was built in the English Gothic Style in 1863. The original cornerstone of the third and present church building was laid on October 23, 1892 under the direction of Fr. Bernard Mackin. The current church building was dedicated on January 27, 1895.In 1842, the first church bell to arrive in Burlington was received by St. Paul’s.  This bell still rings today with the same tones that were heard by our ancestors.A total of 21 priests have served as pastor of St. Paul’s Church from 1839 through 1997 when St. Paul’s merged into one parish with St. John the Baptist and became our current parish, “SS John & Paul Church.”


St. John the Baptist

With the growing number of German Catholics in the community a new church building was erected on the east side of Seventh Street in 1855.  The new church was named in honor of St. John the Baptist.  In 1882 land for the present church was purchased for $10,000.00. The ground was leveled and the cornerstone was laid on October 7, 1883.  The large Gothic church with a 168 foot high steeple was blessed on September 4, 1884.St. John the Baptist was predominately German families, and in 1876 the church was assigned to the care of the Society of Jesus.  The Jesuits from Germany would ensure an ample supply of German speaking priests.  In 1890 the Society of Jesus withdrew its priests for other labors.  The Bishop of Davenport made arrangements to have the Benedictines from Atchison, Kansas take over the care of the church.  In 1990 they withdrew for other duties closer to their abbey.  Since then, St. John’s has been under the care of priests of the Diocese of Davenport.A total of 19 priests have served as pastor of St. John the Baptist from 1890 to 1997 when St. John the Baptist merged into one parish with St. Paul the Apostle and became our current parish, “SS John & Paul Church.”

SS. Mary & Patrick

In 1886 the C.B.& Q. Railroad moved their shops to Leffler Station and the City of West Burlington was called into being.

George Pohren donated an acre of land for St. Mary’s Church & School. He “contracted” people to donate the funds and farmers in the area hauled the bricks and construction began.

St. Mary’s Church was dedicated in August, 1886. In 1888 the Bishop appointed a resident pastor. At that time the rectory was built from money advanced by the C.B.& Q. Land Company. A one room addition was built to the brick church and school to provide a home for the sisters.

It was about this time that cemetery space was donated by Frank Renner. St. Mary’s Cemetery is located on Gear Avenue in West Burlington, IA. In the center plat a wooden cross was erected.

On the Feast of the Epiphany in 1913, the church, school, and sister’s convent were destroyed by fire. A new church was built and dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1917

Construction of the Grotto began in 1929 by parishioners and families from the area. A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located inside the Grotto. The Grotto is still maintained by volunteers.

At the end of the school year in 1960 the State Fire Marshall closed St. Mary’s school. Plans for the construction of the new school followed. That building is currently used for the Parish offices, library, parish activities and meetings.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church

St. Patrick’s Church was located at 1204 Washington Street in Burlington, IA. It was dedicated October 9, 1870. A box was placed in the corner stone of the Church consisting of Hawk-Gazette, Burlington Hawk-Eye newspapers and a “Testament” in Latin prepared for the occasion.

In 1873 a parochial school began in the basement of the church. The Sisters of Charity provided the religious and academic instruction for the children. A frame building was added south of the church. This provided residence for the Sisters on the first floor and additional classrooms on the second floor.

1901 the pastor and parishioners dealt with a devastating fire. The parishioners rebuilt St. Patrick’s.

April 27, 1912 St. Patrick’s was incorporated.

In 1915 a new three story school was built on Washington Street across from the church.

In November 1998 St. Patrick’s of Burlington and St. Mary’s of West Burlington merged to form one parish with two worship sites. The Church today is known as SS. Mary & Patrick and located in West Burlington.

In 2002 the decision was made to suspend the Masses due to the new construction of Washington Street. After the completion of the new street and the Central Street overpass yet another tough decision was made to permanently close the Church. A final Mass was held on the Church lawn June 8, 2003.

SS. Mary & Patrick Church

In 2003 after the final Mass at St. Patrick’s Church committees were formed to began combining many of the religious articles from St. Patrick’s Church with SS. Mary & Patrick Church. Some of those articles included the main altar, marble Holy Water Fonts, Stations of the Cross, and statues. We have many ongoing parish activities such as our major fundraiser the annual Fall Festival dinner, annual Garage sale, Altar & Rosary Organization, First Friday Adoration, Giving Tree at Christmas and Advent Projects to name a few.

Our Lady of Grace Grotto

Our Lady of Grace Grotto was started in the spring of 1929 by two Benedictine priests. The Grotto was dedicated on July 13, 1931. The Grotto was built entirely of donated rocks and geodes. Contributions were received from every state and many foreign nations, including the Holy Land.

Inside the Grotto is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The domed interior sparkles with the glint of quartz crystals found in the geodes.
Through the years the parishioners have volunteered their time and talent to restore, maintain, and make the necessary improvements to keep the area a visitor’s attraction year after year.
You are invited to stop by and enjoy the beauty and peaceful surrounding of the Grotto.