Parish History

St. Boniface Catholic Church has been in the same location in Edwardsville since 1869 and has enjoyed a long and vibrant history. Join us for our liturgies or for quiet prayer and reflection.

Contact the parish office at 618.656.6450 or for more information or click here for the liturgy schedule.

110 N. Buchanan Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025 618.656.6450

Keep reading for more information about our patron saint and our parish history.

Life of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr St. Boniface, whose baptismal name was Winfrid, was born in the year 680 at Devonshire, England. From the age of seven he was educated in the Benedictine monastery of Exeter, where he later became a monk. He became a missionary to Germany in 719 where he destroyed idols and pagan temples and built churches on the sites. He became a Bishop and reformed churches in his See, built religious houses in Germany, and founded or restored the dioceses of Bavaria, Thuringgia, and Franconia. He was set upon by a troop of pagans, and he and 52 of his new flock were martyred.

In Saxony, Boniface encountered a tribe worshipping a Norse deity in the form of a huge oak tree. Boniface walked up to the tree, removed his shirt, took up an axe, and without a word he hacked down the six foot wide wooden god. Boniface stood on the trunk, and asked, "How stands your mighty god? My God is stronger than he." The crowd`s reaction was mixed, but some conversions were begun.

One tradition about Saint Boniface says that he used the customs of the locals to help convert them. There was a game in which they threw sticks calledkegels at smaller sticks called heides. Boniface brought religion to the game, having the heides represent demons, and knocking them down showing purity of spirit. Click here for more information on the life of Saint Boniface.

History of St. Boniface Parish 1869-2007 The first entries into the record books for St. Boniface Church are dated January 1, 1869, but the Parish’s history begins a few years earlier. The Rev. William Kuchenbuch, then pastor of St. Mary, purchased 20 lots from Erastus Wheeler for $2,000 on March 1, 1866. A portion of the land, the area on which St. Boniface Church is located, had been the site of the home of Ninian Edwards, namesake of the city and third governor of Illinois.

In the spring of 1869, plans for the church were submitted to the first pastor, Rev. Anton Rustige, by A. Druiding of St. Louis, Missouri. The contract for construction was awarded to Mr. H. Melcher, also of St. Louis. The cornerstone was laid by the Very Rev. Peter J. Baltes, then Administrator of the Diocese of Alton, June 2, 1869. The members of the parish provided for the excavation and hauling of materials, so the work progressed very rapidly. The church was ready for occupancy on the first Sunday of October, 1869.

Bishop Baltes returned to St. Boniface twice in 1870. In March, he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 142 people and in September, he blessed the first two of the four bells to be housed in the church tower.

Begun in 1870, the rectory was completed in 1871 for $2,531.50 by the contractor, Mr. G. Roehrkaste. The rooms of the lower floor served as the first Catholic grade school in the city and the second story of the brick building was the home for the pastor.

In 1872, Father Rustige undertook the plastering and interior finish work of the church. Again, H. Melcher, the original contractor for the building, was chosen. The cost of this interior work was $3,100 and combined with the construction cost of the building brought the total for the church to $17,000. The church is Gothic in design and measures 55 x 110 feet with a tower rising to about 120 feet. The Solemn Dedication of the church by the Right Rev. P.J. Baltes, Bishop of Alton, took place on August 24, 1873.

In July, 1882, Rev. August Schlegel, the seventh pastor, obtained plans for a new school building, as the number of students had outgrown the rectory space. Mr. Charles Pauly of Edwardsville provided the plans and was chosen as contractor. The building was completed in November at a cost of $3,638.10. It was blessed Thanksgiving Day and opened to students December 1.

In 1891, a new High Altar was built and several statues, including one of St. Boniface, were added to the church. A pipe organ and stenciled glass windows were also installed. In 1896, two additional bells were blessed and hoisted into the tower. In 1899, electric lighting was installed in the church and in 1900, the interior was "frescoed" by a St. Louis firm. In 1901, the Stations of the Cross, still present on the chapel walls, were imported from Munich, Germany.

The present school building was constructed in 1912 at a cost of $26,383.80 and was formally blessed and dedicated on January 12, 1913. In 1950, the large auditorium on the second floor was converted to additional classrooms and a bowling alley removed from the basement to provide expanded space for the cafeteria and hall. Additional renovations have been made in the school building in 1962, 1985, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

In 1915, the parish acquired 23 acres of land in the northeast area of the city and established St. Boniface Cemetery. Prior to 1915, most parishioners were buried in St. Mary`s Cemetery.

Rev. Ernest J. Eckhard was appointed pastor of St. Boniface in 1919 and served the parish in that position until his death in 1954. In 1924, extensive repairs were made to the interior of the church. This was the first of many such renovations and decorations under the direction of Max Autenrieb, a fine artist brought to America from Germany by Father Eckhard. Mr. Autenrieb and his Studios supervised redecorations in 1940, 1950, 1962, 1969, and the last in 1985.

Father Eckhard encouraged the formation of the school band in 1936. He also had plans drawn for a school gymnasium in 1950, but the project was not undertaken at that time. Father Eckhard served the longest tenure as pastor and is the only pastor to be buried in St. Boniface Cemetery.

Work on the new convent building, now the Parish Office, was begun in November, 1958. The new building replaced the Sisters` former residence, the school building of 1882, which had been remodeled as a convent in 1913. Total cost for the new building was $172,411.16. It was dedicated by the Most Rev. William A. O`Connor, Bishop of Springfield, on the feast of St. Boniface, June 5, 1960.

In 1975, the original rectory was demolished and a new structure built at a cost of more than $250,000. The rectory was designed as a home for two priests and provided additional space for a guest, housekeeper`s rooms, church office, a kitchen, and a large meeting room in the basement for parish functions. The church expansion required the removal of the rectory. So, in 2001, a residence at 130 North Fillmore was purchased and remodeled as a rectory.

The last major renovation of the church was in 1985. Replastering, new sound and lighting systems, new carpet, refinishing of the pews, and painting were included in the $192,000 cost of the project. In the same year, the Parish Center building was added to the school, an investment of over $500,000.

In the Fall of 1996, the parish inaugurated a Preschool Program for 3 and 4 year old children. This program is now located in a new facility adjacent to the Parish Center.

In order to meet the needs of our growing parish and better serve God`s family, members of the Project 2000 Committee began an intensive study in March, 1997. Members of the Project 2000 Committee completed their task to study the needs of the Parish and, with the assistance of Stauder Architecture of St. Louis, developed a Master Site Plan.

Our Capital Campaign to secure the necessary funds to "preserve our past and prepare for our future," began in January, 2000. Construction to expand the Church, Phase I of the Master Plan, was completed in Fall, 2003. The Liturgy and Dedication Rites for our new Church with Bishop Lucas presiding were celebrated Saturday, November 22, 2003. Twenty-five priests and nearly 1000 parishioners were in attendance. A series of dedication events including special prayer services and Masses, several days for Open House, concerts, and community events were part of the celebration.

In the summer of 2005, St. Boniface School was air-conditioned, and the electrical service was upgraded in order to serve the technological needs of the school. In 2006, a new storage garage was built and remodeling was begun in the school building to make the environment more conducive for educating our students.

Pastors of St. Boniface Church (1869-2007)
Rev. Anton Rustige 1869-1873
Rev. Charles Oberprantacher 1873-1874
Rev. John A. Mark 1874-1875
Rev. Charles Kuhlmann 1875-March 1876
Rev. John Neuhaus 1876
Rev. Gerhard Jansen 1876-1881
Rev. Augustine A. Schlegel 1881-1896
Rev. Joseph D. Metzler 1896-1911
Rev. Linus Kipping 1911
Rev. Joseph D.Metzler 1912-1918
Rev. Clement T. Stolze 1918
Rev. Ernest J. Eckhard 1919-1954
Rev. Anthony Cepanis, Administrator 1951 -1954
Rev. George F. Faller 1954-1961
Rev. Ralph S. Guido 1961-1969
Rev. William J. Stanley 1969-1973
Rev. William R. Maul 1973-1978
Rev. Robert L. Meyer 1978-1985
Rev. William E. Kekeisen 1985-1988
Rev. Charles G. Dahlby 1988- 1994
Rev. Gerald Bunse, Administrator 1994-1995
Rev. John L. Corredato, C.S.V 1995-2007
Rev. Jeffrey Goeckner 2007-Current