Welcome to St. Aloysius Catholic Church.
Just two blocks from downtown Bowling Green, we are the Catholic church located behind the Taco Bell. One of two Catholic churches in Bowling Green, St. Aloysius primarily serves the city of Bowling Green and the surrounding rural communities. The other Catholic church, St. Thomas More, serves the needs of Catholic students at Bowling Green State University. St. Aloysius also supports St. Aloysius Catholic school on the property bounded by South Summit, Clough and South Enterprise streets.
We have approximately 3600 registered parishioners and more than 30 ministries. School enrollment is more than 230 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
St. Aloysius is part of the Diocese of Toledo, which covers 19 counties in Northwest Ohio. Located in Wood County, the parish boundaries roughly extend north to state route 582 including Tontogany and Sugar Ridge; east to state route 23 including Luckey, Pemberville and Bradner; south to state route 281 including Wayne, Portage and Rudolph; and and west to state route 235 including Weston.
Father Mark Davis, a Toledo native, has been pastor since 2007.
All are welcome. Join us!
“Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; cry out to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with a song of praise, joyfully sing out our psalms.”
– psalm 95, 1-2
OUR PASTOR: Father Mark Davis
Fr. Mark started his pastorate at St. Aloysius in July 2007. We were his first parish as a pastor. He previously served as an associate pastor in Sandusky, Maumee and Sylvania.
Fr. Mark grew up in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in South Toledo. His parents were both converts to Catholicism, and his mother, Hannah, still resides in Toledo. His father, Gene, died in 2014. At the time of his father’s death, his parents had been married 66 years.
Fr. Mark is the youngest of three children. His brother, Jim, is the oldest, followed by his sister, Nancy, one year later. Fr. Mark is seven years younger than his sister.
Following elementary school at OLPH and high school at St. John’s Jesuit — class of 1978 — he graduated from Notre Dame in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy.
After graduation Fr. Mark moved to Philadelphia then Trenton, New Jersey, to work with people with developmental disabilities. Over the nine years he was out East, he presented hundreds of programs in classrooms, shopping malls and community halls to help kids of all ages learn to understand and accept people with mental disabilities. He said it was this work that taught him to engage and teach others with just about anything including puppets, skits, songs, jokes, stories, magic and balloons. He continues to employ these interactive skills, especially the art of illusion, in his teachings about God, spirituality and the Church.
In 1991, Fr. Mark entered the seminary at St. Meinrad in Indiana. His first assignment, following his ordination in 1996, was as chaplain to St. Mary’s Central Catholic High School and associate pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. In 2000, he transferred to St. Joseph in Maumee and four years later to St. Joseph in Sylvania.
In his introductory letter to the parish in the July 8, 2007 bulletin, Fr. Mark wrote: “I love being a priest. I look forward to serving you and working with you as your pastor. I give thanks to God for this great opportunity for us to be ‘church’ together for awhile. Let us pray that as we start this journey, Jesus’ love and presence will INCREASE among us as our own egos and willfulness DECREASE. May God help us to make St. Al’s a bit of ‘heaven on earth’.”
Whether you are a long-time parishioner or are just getting to know Fr. Mark, you know that he does help us “church” together. Through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, his prayer for our parish is being answered. We get to see the Kingdom alive in each of us here on earth thanks to Fr. Mark’s generous and gregarious nature… and a little magic!
OUR PARISH HISTORY
Prior to the Civil War, very few Catholics had settled in Bowling Green. The nearest Catholic church was in Perrysburg, so for many years, Mass was held in private homes whenever a visiting priest happened to be in the area. In the late 1870s, the residents of Bowling Green went two years without being visited by a priest. The spiritual plight of these Catholics changed dramatically in 1880 when Fr. Hyacinthe Kolopp from St. Patrick’s parish in Grand Rapids, Ohio, decided that it was time to finally build a Catholic church in Bowling Green.
In order to build the original church, local farmers donated hundreds of hours of labor. They cut timber and transported it to the sawmill that was located near the church property. Using wagons and teams of horses, these dedicated farmers hauled all the bricks for the church. At long last, Bowling Green had a Catholic church, and St. Aloysius was dedicated in 1881.
In order to select a name for the church, the farmers who helped to build the structure put all their first names into a hat, with the understanding that whatever name was drawn would become the name of the church. The name “Aloysius” from Aloysius Pfeiffer was drawn. Thus, St. Aloysius Gonzaga became the Patron Saint of the new Bowling Green Catholic church.
The current St. Aloysius church was built in 1926.
Source: Bowling Green Sesquicentennial Commission. Bowling Green, Ohio: A Sesquicentennial History, 1833-1983. Toledo, OH: Taylor Publishing Company, 1985.