We, the Catholic Christians of St. George Parish – in union with the Church throughout the world – commit ourselves to the love of God and our neighbor. Our parish exists to make Jesus, the Son of God, present in our lives through the Sacraments, prayer, and community.
We recommit ourselves each day to more deeply understand and live our faith, support each other, and to be a beacon of hope in our darkened world. We entrust ourselves, our families, and our community to Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Schulfrau Katherina Uhr had to be a missionary of note. It was she who in 1863 opened the first Catholic School for German Catholics in her father’s store in Kearsarge. During its peak, the three R’s and the truths of the Catholic Faith were taught to 60 students.
However, it was not until 1922 that ground was broken for the first Saint George Church under the leadership of the founding pastor the Reverend Alfred J. Fischer who resided at St. Vincent Hospital and also served as the hospital chaplain. A red brick building was constructed and completed on August 6, 1922, for approximately $12,000.
A highlight of the dedication was the presence of all four Fischer priest brothers: Fathers Cornelius, Edward, Alexis, and Alfred. Father Alfred was born on October 18, 1883, in Meadville and attended Saint Agatha Elementary School and the local public high school. He received his preparation for the priesthood at Saint Bonaventure College and Seminary. He was ordained by Bishop Charles H. Colton of Buffalo in Saint Bonaventure Church, Allegany, New York on June 15, 1910. Father Alfred’s first appointment was Saint Agnes, Morrisdale where he temporarily replaced his brother Edward who left on a European trip.
After his return, Father Alfred was transferred to Saint Leo Church, Ridgway as an assistant pastor and remained there until 1914 when he was given temporary charge of St. Mark Church, Emporium. In 1915, he was appointed pastor of Saint Mary’s Church, Sartwell where he served until January 1922 when he was chosen to organize the new parish of Saint George, Erie. He retired in 1942 because of poor health and passed to new life on March 29, 1962. His final resting place is in Saint Agatha Cemetery, Meadville.
Father Fischer was succeeded in 1942 by the Reverend W. Lawrence Franklin who also continued as editor of the Lake Shore Visitor. In 1944, Father Franklin initiated the ground-breaking for a two-story school annex to the church building. The growth of the school under the Sisters of Mercy rose from 48 pupils in 1947 to 103 in 1948. Consequently, the continued development of the suburban area demanded the erection in 1954 of a complete new school. It opened in the fall of 1957.
By September 1958, Monsignor Franklin had plans to build a new church for the burgeoning parish. It would be one of the first churches to be constructed in a more modern style and would accommodate about 1,000 worshipers. It cost $500,000 and was dedicated on October 7, 1959.
On May 24, 1947, Father Franklin was honored as a Papal Chamberlain (Chaplain of his Holiness). Less than seven years later on January 24, 1954, he was elevated as a Domestic Prelate (Prelate of Honor). On August 1, 1974, Monsignor Franklin retired as pastor of St. George Parish, but in the following years with improvement in his health he continued to serve as an administrator and supply priest for a number of parishes throughout the Diocese. He passed to new life on December 13, 1986. Monsignor Franklin was a priest of considerable talent especially in the field of journalism and often wrote articles for Catholic magazines. The Reverend Daniel M. Martin, an Erie native followed Monsignor Franklin as pastor on September 27, 1974.
Father Martin spent several years as a teacher and assistant Headmaster at Cathedral Prep as well as chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy at Mercyhurst College. After a diocesan-wide drive to build St. Mark Seminary and a number of Christian High Schools, Father Martin was appointed the first Headmaster of Elk County Christian High School on June 1, 1963. He became pastor of St. Joseph Church, Oil City on June 3, 1970, until his assignment to the Erie parish. He was named a Prelate of Honor in May 1984. Sometime after his retirement on September 15, 1986, he returned to Mercyhurst as chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy.
Also, during his pastorate, an office and rectory complex was built in 1976. Barcio, Robert, G. Msgr. Shepherds and Sheep. Erie: Meridian Creative Group, 2002.pp. 167-169. Excerpt published with Msgr. Robert Barcio, Ph.D.’s permission. Shepherds and Sheep is available for purchase through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie.