St. Patrick’s Catholic Church rectory

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church rectory in Garryowen

The rectory building at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Garryowen, located south of Bernard, is being torn down in the imminent future.

The demolition follows a parish vote in April on whether to let the building stand as it is or to tear it down.

“Even the people who voted to tear it down are sorry to see it go,” said parish council president Wanda Loewen.

Some parishioners and preservationists would have liked to see the building repurposed, but it has now stood empty for at least a decade.

“There’s people who don’t like to see it go, me included, but it’s beyond repair,” Loewen said. “It’s a shame to see the building torn down, but we had to for liability issues, and the Archdiocese was not willing to put much money into it.”

In its letter asking parishioners to vote on the matter, the parish council included a note from archdiocesan Vicar General Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale. “My recommendation is not to invest in the rectory but in those things that will enliven the faith of the people for the future,” Toale wrote.

While the rectory is being sacrificed, the church itself recently saw a significant restoration in the lead-up to the parish’s 175th anniversary in 2015.

Garryowen is one of the oldest parishes in Iowa, founded by pioneering priest Samuel Mazzuchelli, who Sinsinawa Dominican nuns hope may eventually be eligible for sainthood.

The rectory dates sometime between 1871 and 1902, after Mazzuchelli’s death.