The third pastor of St. John’s, Rev.
Thomas F. Gleeson, came from Northfield to the post which he was to
thirty-five years. It was at this time, in September 1894, that the
assistant, Rev. Edward T. Lee, came to St. John’s.
Father Gleeson found in his new
charge a church, a rectory and a new school, but along with these, a
indebtedness. The dry bones of the minutes of the corporation meetings
living flesh when we consider the heroic way in which the little parish
300 families held its own during a series of trying years, and emerged,
the death of Father Gleeson in 1929, with a new church and a new
In 1913 Father Gleeson
silver jubilee. On June 26 of that year, Right Rev.
John J. Lawler auxiliary bishop of the diocese, and seventy-five
gathered in the church for the solemn high mass, celebrated by the
Mayor H. P. Keller, representing the
City of St. Paul; Daniel Lawler, the Knights of Columbus; T. J. Doyle,
Ancient Order of Hibernians; and J. A. Seeger, the Dayton’s Bluff
were the principal speakers at a celebration held on June 30 in the Odd
Fellows’ Hall, at Reaney and Forest streets, in recognition of the work
Father Gleeson for the church and community. At this gathering "Father
Tom," as he was affectionately called, was presented with a purse by
members of the congregation in a spirit of gratitude for the work he
in his nineteen years among them.
The first meeting to discuss the
erection of a new
took place in 1919. The entire sum of $125,000 necessary was pledged
parish itself. On Easter Sunday, March 25, 1923,
the parishioners attended their first solemn service in the new brick
Bedford stone building in modem Gothic style. The
new church might have well been the cause of pardonable pride on the
The new church was, however, only
one step in the development of the parish property. A twenty-one
room brick parish house
was completed in September of 1927, at a cost of $19,500, and on
Father Gleeson lived for only two
years in his new home, and died after a short illness on March 3, 1929.
successor, Rev. James E. Doyle, pointed out in his first year book,
Gleeson "had St. John’s in mind and heart even to the last. The bulk of
his modest estate will come to the parish he served so long and so