The History of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church
St. John’s has been a part of the Bloomington community since 1970 when the original church, located on Whitehall Pike, was dedicated. Some of the founding members have been active in our parish for more than forty years.
Nearly 50 years ago, in 1964, there was only one Catholic parish in Bloomington, St. Charles Borromeo. The county’s 640 Catholic families and Indiana University’s 2,500 Catholic students had grown too large to be served by just one parish. The pastor of St. Charles, Monsignor Thomas J. Kilfoil, asked two parishioners to form a planning committee to look into the formation of another parish, one on the west side of Bloomington, which was expected to experience tremendous growth in the future.
In 1966, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis purchased the 17.5 acre farm of Homer Binkley on Whitehall Pike for the location of the new parish. Father Francis Buck, the associate pastor at St. Charles, took over the fund-raising campaign. When additional money was needed to be raised for the construction of the church itself, 400 families of St. Charles who lived west of State Road 37 were asked to contribute their weekly offerings to St. John’s instead of to St. Charles.
On October 21, 1970, the church was officially dedicated and blessed; Father Buck, who had been pivotal in the fund-raising efforts, was named to be the first priest at the newly dedicated St. John the Apostle.
For twelve years Father Buck served what the parishioners lovingly called “the people’s parish.” He was followed by Father Myles Smith, who was here from 1982 until 1995. After a brief period without a priest, Father Daniel Donohoo became St. John’s third pastor in 1996.
In 1995, another change began to develop. As had been predicted 30 years earlier, the west side of Bloomington had begun to develop. Retail expansion was increasing the value of property located on West Third Street. The Church was suddenly sitting on valuable ground. An offer was made to buy the fifteen acres the church as built on.
Since the parish had nearly outgrown the current church, the Parish Council decided to take the offer and move. The location for the new church was found off West State Road 46, on a beautiful 40-acre site known as Meadow Hill. A building committee was formed. The new church, the one we all call our parish home, was dedicated on December 20, 1998. Three years later, Father Michael Fritsch arrived. He remained as priest at St. John’s until the summer of 2013. Fr. Daniel Mahan arrived in July, becoming the fifth priest to serve the parish.