TIlE HISTORY OF ST. ALOYSIUS CHURCH
TAKEN FROM BOOKLET DEDICATED TO
FATHER CHARLES F. SEIFERT
ON TIlE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH.
 

1953-1983
St. Aloysius parish began in July of 1919 when the Reverend Charles F. Seifert was sent to the Village of Royalton to establish a Church. Fr. Seifert had been ordained on June 12, 1915, at St. Bemard Seminay in Rochester, N.Y. He served as assistant pastor Sandoval and Murphysboro and as an Army Chaplain during World War I before coming to Royalton. During the first year that he was pastor in Royalton, he held religious services in the Miner's Union Hall, the local theater, and in the homes of some of the parishioners.

Fr. Seifert quickly acquired a reputation as a humanitarian and as a most resourceful pastor. Numerous accounts of his charitable deeds are still retold by parishioners as well as non-catholic members of the community. He walked or rode horseback over muddy unpaved roads to say Mass at the mission church of Sacred Heart in Zeigler. He wore his Army uniforms from WWI, and used the money donated to him for clothes to buy baseball equipment for the children. Early records indicate that a site for the Church was purchased on July 31, 1919 for $450.00. Construction was begun in August and continued through the winter with Fr. Seifert doing much of the work himself. By April 1920 the church was complete enough to hold services. Sixty-five families contributed to the original building fund, but most of them could contribute only small amounts, and the Sunday collections were less than ten dollars. It is to Fr. Seifert's credit that he was able to build such a beautiful church in such a short time with so few resources.

Of course there was no money to build a rectory, and Fr. Seifert lived in two small rooms in back of the church. After a few years a house was purchased and moved to a lot next to the church and was remodeled and used as a rectory.

Fr. Seifert served as pastor of St. Aloysius until his death in May of 1953. It is noteworthy that he died on Memorial Day, because "Decoration Day" as it was called then, was an important holiday for him and the parish. This was the day when relatives of the deceased members of the parish would come from near and far to attend services at the parish cemetery.

Another tradition which was started during Fr. Seifert's tenure as pastor took place in Chicago. Each year the people who had immigrated to Chicago from Royalton and Zeigler would get together for a celebration to raise money for the parishes and to honor Fr Seifert.

The Reverend Louis Fellner became the second pastor of St. Aloysius in 1953 after the death of Fr. Seifert. Fr. Fellner was a native of Belleville and was ordained there in June, 1937. He served as pastor at St. Pancratius in Fayetteville before coming to Royalton.

Fr. Fellner celebrated his Silver Sacerdotal Jubilee on June 19, 1962 by offering a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Aloysius Church. On April 14, 1965, Fr. Fellner died of an apparent heart attack in the St. Aloysius rectory.

Reverend John A. Baggio was assigned as pastor of St. Aloysius on June 3,1969. Previously he had been pastor of St. Teresa at Marydale. Fr. Baggio was born in Chicago on February 23,1928, and ordained in Belleville in June, 1955. Fr. Baggio made many improvements to the parish during the time he was pastor. In preparation for its fiftieth anniversary the church was extensivly renovated in 1969. A new heating and air conditioning system was installed. The old ornate wooden altars were replaced, and new carpeting was installed. On Sunday June 22, 1969 Bishop Zuroweste officiated at a High Mass to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of St. Aloysius Church.

In November 1969, Fr. Baggio obtained approval to build a Parish Hall and construction was started in October, 1973. The much needed addition to the parish was completed in 1974.

Fr. Baggio was transferred to St. Ann Parish in Nashville in July, 1974, and Reverend Dean Braun became the pastor of St. Aloysius. During his third year as pastor, Fr. Braun redesigned the interior of the church. The sanctuary was remodeled, the interior was repainted, new carpeting was installed, the pews were refinished, and a cry room was built. Fr. Braun served as pastor in Royalton until November, 1978 when he was transferred to St. Polycarp parish in Carmi.

Reverend Robert Chlopecki was assigned as pastor at St. Aloysius in January 1979.
Prior to his coming to Royalton, Fr. Chlopecki had been temporary pastor at Renault and associate pastor at St. Stephen parish in Caseyville.

In November, 1980 construction of a new rectory at St. Aloysius was started. Fr. Chlopecki lived in temporary quarters while the old rectory was razed, and the new home was completed in 1981. In July, 1983 Fr.Chlopecki was transferred toSt. Mary's parish in Mound City.

The current pastor of St. Aloysius is Reverend Peter Hsu, who assumed his duties there in July, 1982. Previously Fr. Hsu had been pastor at St. Joseph's in Prairie du Rocher.

There has been one member of the St. Aloysius parish to answer a religious calling. Reverend James Blazine was ordained into the priesthood on Saturday June 2, 1962, in Belleville. Fr. Blazine celebrated his first Solemn Mass on June 3, 1962 in St. Aloysius.

(This information taken from the 1993 Round-Up Booklet.)