Who We Are
St. Sebastian Parish celebrates our Roman Catholic faith and its traditions through worship, fellowship and ministries.
We will reach out and welcome all, so that they may see the light of Christ in us.
In the year of 1852, a small group of pioneers from Germany, who had settled in the woods 18 miles southwest of Grand Rapids, built a log church on property donated by John Jacob Wolf.Services were held as regularly as possible by priests from Grand Rapids and Wright. The log church was used until 1890 when it became unsafe. In that year, the Byron Parish united with St. Mary’s Church, which was then in North Dorr.
In 1896, the North Dorr church was struck by lightening and burned to the ground. Bishop Richter and Father Egge of Wright then reorganized the Byron Parish and services were held in a hall near the location of the log church until 1901, when the present church was built.
Father Fredrick H. Ruessmann was the first resident pastor and under his pastorate the rectory was built in 1897 at the cost of $1,003.00. The parishioners donated the work and materials. In August 1899, Father Anthony Eikelmann was appointed pastor. During his stay, the present church was built. During his time here, Holland was a mission of St. Sebastian. Father Eikelmann would celebrate Mass here, then he would drive horses to Jamestown and take the interurban to Holland for Mass.
In March 1908, Father William Hasenburg was appointed pastor. In 1909, the North Dorr Hotel building was bought and moved to St. Sebastian’s property and paced beside the church. It served as a school with two classrooms, one upstairs and one down, a hall, and a convent living quarters for the Dominican nuns who taught in the school. In 1976, it was scheduled to be torn down, but fire destroyed it first.
Father Hasenburg was transferred to West Branch in 1915 when Father Anthony Bolser became our pastor. It was then, in 1917, that the North Dorr parish was reopened and became a mission of St. Sebastian. Father Earnest J. Walters become pastor in 1921, to continue as the longest servicing pastor of St. Sebastian, until 1968. In 1975, a new parish hall was built. In the summer of 1993, four classrooms were built onto the hall. The rectory was restored in 1994. In 1997-98, the church was repainted inside and the steeple repaired and painted outside. The church was made barrier-free with an access ramp and gathering deck outside.
Continuation of Pastoral History:
1921-1968 – Fr. Ernest J. Walters
1968-1971 – Fr. Thomas J. Hack
1971-1975 – Msgr. Thomas O. Martin
1975-1979 – Msgr. Herman H. Zerfas
1979-1982 – Fr. M. James Hoogterp
1982-1994 – Fr. Edward J. Bielskas
1994-2007 – Msgr. Gaspar F. Ancona
2007-Present—Msgr. William H. Duncan
Set up your online giving account for both regular offetory and our Growing in Faith Capital Campaign.
Direct Your Dollars Program through SpartanNash
Save your Family Fare and D&W receipts and for every $150,000 collected in receipts you turn in, our Building Fund will receive a check for $1,000. The more receipts we collect, the more checks we can put towards our mortgage payments.
Please look for the box in the Narthex starting next weekend.
For questions, contact Sue at 878-1619 or emailing her at email@example.com