REV. JOHN J. McALLISTER.
Rev. John J. McAllister, the pastor of St. Henry's Catholic church and one of the well known and popular clergymen of the diocese to which his labors are confined, is a native of Michigan, born in the city of Alpena on April 28, 1878. After completing his preliminary studies in the schools of his native place, he entered the college at Montreal, Canada, where he laid broad and deep the intellectual foundation for his subsequent career in the priesthood and later pursued his theological studies in the Grand Seminary at Montreal. With a mind well disciplined by intellectual and professional training, he was ordained priest at Grand Rapids on August 27, 1904, and immediately thereafter was stationed at St. Andrew's cathedral in that city where he labored as assistant pastor for something more than a year, during which time he gained the esteem and confidence of his superiors and greatly endeared himself to his parishioners. From Grand Rapids he was transferred to Bay City as assistant pastor of St. James church, where he labored with great acceptance for two years when he was made pastor of St. Henry's church, Isabella county, his present charge.
Father McAllister entered upon his duties and labors at St. Henry in November, 1907, and is practically the first regular pastor of the parish, al- though the building had been erected some years before and the locality visited from time to time by different priests who ministered to the spiritual needs of the Catholic residents in the vicinity. Since taking charge of the work Father McAllister has made a fine impression in the community, not only among his parishioners, but among the people generally, irrespective of church or creed, and thus far his efforts have greatly strengthened the church, both numerically and spiritually, and the future outlook appears most encouraging. He is held in high esteem by the bishop and clergy, as well as by the people with whom his lot has been cast, his many noble qualities of mind and heart commending him to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and especially fitting him for the noble work of leading humanity to the higher life. Scholarly, devout and charitable 'he wields a wholesome influence for good and well deserves the warm place in the hearts of the people which he holds.
St. Henry's church is the outgrowths of a demand for a place of worship on the part of about twenty-five Catholic families that settled from time to time in the townships of Isabella and Vernon within a radius of several miles from the present building, which was erected in i885. Later the number increased quite rapidly until there were fully one hundred families in the parish, and to meet their wants, priests from other points visited them at intervals, but it was not until igo3 that a pastoral residence was erected and steps taken to make the parish an independent charge. For some years Father John Engemman, of Superior, and Father Crowley, of Mt. Pleasant, visited the parish, but it, was the coming of the present pastor in 1907 that marked a new era in the history of the church, which since that time, under his wise and judicious leadership, has moved- steadily forward to higher and grander achievements and made its influence a power for good in the region round about.
The laws of the diocese of Grand Rapids require, whenever possible, a parish school to be established in each parish. The work of erecting a school will begin next spring.
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