About Us

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Parish Mission Statement

Dedicated to Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Guided in all things by the Holy Spirit.

To the Glory of God the Father.  St. Cornelius Parish: A Brief History

Our parish was formed in 1957.  The first Masses were held in the upstairs room of the current Dryden Public Library.  The original church building was constructed the following year and is now our multi-purpose room, Dunn Hall.  In 1986, we completed an addition of 2400 square feet, our present church, to keep up with our growing enrollment.

After 38 years as a mission church, we were pleased to become a full-fledged parish on September 25, 1995. At that time, we happily welcomed Father Wayne G. Ureel as our pastor and constructed a modest home for him next to the church grounds. The following year we finished a large garage for his truck and for additional storage. A fourth weekend Mass was added in September 1997. In 1998, Deacon Don Cox was welcomed to the parish.

Over the years, our membership has grown to more than 700 families, causing growing pains in many areas of parish life. There are activities going on each night of the week, often two or three at the same time. As a result, a 3,000-square-foot building was built in 2001. It houses Administrative and Family Faith Formation offices and two meeting rooms.

Father Dunn retired in 1995 but served the parish until May 2001. Rev. Matthew Kafka joined our parish in June, 2001 as a weekend associate.  He retired completely in February 2012.  On July 1, 2011 Rev. John (Doc) Ortman became Associate Pastor for the Clustered Parishes.

Plans for a new and larger church began in 1997. Over time many adjustments had to be made, and the project, the result of tireless effort by the Building Committee, underwent several changes due to a variety of circumstances well beyond anyone’s control.

A Building Fund was formally established in the fall of 2001 and continues to this day. Everyone, including new parishioners, is encouraged to make a financial contribution to help with ongoing expenses of the new church. Bequests and year-end tax donations are additional ways to support the Building Fund.

Groundbreaking took place on July 8, 2007. Construction began in earnest, although many hurdles had to be overcome. Parishioners responded generously and finally, after many hours of work by construction crew and parishioners, Bishop Flores dedicated our new church on February 8, 2009!

Since July 2007, St. Cornelius has been clustered with the parishes of St. John the Evangelist, Allenton and St. Nicholas, Capac. Father Wayne remained pastor of all three sites until July 31, 2013.  Fr. Wayne accepted a new position as the Pastor of the Church of the Holy Spirit, in Highland, MI.  Although we were saddened by the change we are confident that God is directing the path for all of us!  On August 15, 2013, we welcomed Fr. Frederik Kalaj as the new Pastor for our Clustered Parishes.

Information about Mass times can be found on our INFO page.

To find out more about St. Cornelius our Patron Saint,  click HERE .