The original St. Andrew church (built in 1865) was located at the corner of Elm and Water Streets in Milford, Ohio. The large, white holy water fonts seen near the bottom of the picture (on either side of the pews), are both still in use today at our current church.
It’s almost impossible to imagine our parish without a few staples: our gorgeous wooden pews, our breathtaking stained glass windows, and of course our beautiful altar and wooden crucifix. But in the beginning – a humble beginning – St. Andrew Parish was little more than a few families huddled in each other’s homes each week along the Little Miami River.
By 1840, there were perhaps a dozen or so Catholic families in Milford (established in 1836), and they began to take turns worshipping in one another’s homes. Eventually, as more space was needed, families would trek across the river to the old warehouse near the Little Miami Railroad Depot, or in the Depot itself (sources disagree), where the bike trail currently passes through the area. Visiting priests would travel from the Stonelick, Xenia and Fulton areas on horseback to say Mass with these families.
Milford was officially made a mission of St. Mary’s Parish Hillsboro in 1853 (two years after Cincinnati was named an Archdiocese) with the Reverend John Baptist O’Donoghue, newly ordained, being placed in charge. The first permanent St. Andrew Church was constructed during the Civil War years at the corner of Elm and Water Streets, with the church being dedicated on June 18, 1865. During this same year, George Federick Laudeman, a local farmer, provided 3 acres from his 160-acre farm on South Milford Road to the parish. This land was officially opened as the St. Andrew Cemetery Association in 1866. The St. Andrew Cemetery, still in use today, provides the final resting place for many local families and Veterans, including a Civil War soldier.
Unfortunately, our first church at the corner of Elm and Water fell victim to persistent flooding caused by the Little Miami River. As a result, the current church building was erected at our current 543 Main Street location in 1923. On the day of the current church's dedication on June 24, 1923, St. Andrew's parishioners had grown to almost 500 people.
With the end of WWII, as the surrounding Milford community began steadily growing– St. Andrew grew too! Under the leadership of Rev. Otto J. Herrmann , “the much needed school, which had been the hope of the parish for nearly 30 years was…built.” The school was constructed immediately east of the church. On August 20, 1948, the school was dedicated, and just a few short weeks later on September 7, the school housing grades 1st through 8th officially opened, welcoming 123 students through its doors. The Sisters of Charity of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati were contracted to staff the school.
Not long after the completion of St. Andrew School, Fr. Herrmann began searching for additional property to build a second school location. In 1956, St. Andrew purchased 12.37 acres of land on Buckwheat Road, and with Fr. Herrmann’s drive and persistence, the 10-classroom St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School (named after the “soon-to-be canonized” patron saint of parochial schools and the founder of the Sisters of Charity) was opened in September 1959.
Most recently, in January 2018, S.A.S.E.A.S. School was nominated by the Council for America Private Education (CAPE) as 1 of 50 schools to be named a National Blue Ribbon Exemplary High Performing School this year. With over 33,000 private schools in the nation, and only 113 meeting the top 15% standardized test score benchmark and submitting the full application, this nomination is considered the most prestigious honor a school can receive. As it has been for almost 70 years, it’s a great time to be a Titan.
In 2004, a huge milestone took place for St. Andrew Parish: The Sesquicentennial Celebration, “Celebratio Fidei,” which marked 150 years since the church had been established in Milford! New mahogany front doors with the words “Celebratio Fidei” and “1854” and “2004” were designed and crafted by parishioners to tell generations to come that the doors were created during our sesquicentennial year, our “Celebration of Faith”. During this exciting time, St. Andrew’s first Permanent Deacon, Timothy S. Schutte, was ordained on April 24, 2004.
In 2015, St. Andrew Parish became a pastoral region with our daughter school and parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Miami Township, with Rev. Michael Cordier serving as pastor to both parishes. In 2016, Rev. Chris Geiger, newly ordained in May of 2016, joined the St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton pastoral region as Parochial Vicar.
In 2020, Fr. Adam Puntel began serving as pastor to the St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish region with
Fr. Ben Lokidoriyo, newly ordained in May of 2020, serving as Parochial Vicar. In 2022, under Beacons of Light, Fr. Del Staigers became the pastor of St. Andrew, St. Elizabeth and Seton as a Family of Parishes, destined to become one new parish within five years. In addition to Fr. Ben, Fr. Jeff Kemper (retired 2023), and Fr. Chris Worland became Parochial Vicars. Fr. John Bok, OFM, Fr. Pat Crone and Fr. Tom DiFolco assisted at weekend Masses.
In 2023 St. Andrew celebrated 100 years of continuous worship in the Main St. church building. The Family went through a process of naming the Family, which will become the new name of the parish when the parishes become one canonical parish, now known as St. Mary Magdalene.
Throughout the years, many St. Andrew Parishioners have dedicated their time, funds, talent, and prayers to ensure that St. Andrew’s future is able to thrive. Their commitment to our parish is one of both love and selflessness and leaves a beautiful legacy for our future generations.