Evidence indicates that there were plans to build a church in Springfield in the early 1800s. Correspondence between Father Stephen Badin and Bishop Carroll in 1807 even refers to the purchase of property for that purpose, but a church did not materialize until 1843. The town had been served by St. Rose Priory, located just outside of Springfield, and the cholera epidemic of 1833 delayed plans further.
After many years of expectation, a church was built under the title of St. Dominic Parish. It was dedicated in January of 1844. For forty years, St. Dominic was attended by Dominican priests from St. Rose Priory. The first church was described as being built “just south of town” in what is now the center of Springfield on Armory Hill. As described by the diocesan paper The Advocate, it was a “neat frame building painted white and about 55’x 25’ in size.”
In 1883 the first priest of the diocese to become pastor of St. Dominic was Father Anthony McHenry. A new church still in use on Main Street was begun in 1890 with the blessing of the cornerstone by Bishop William G. McCloskey. It was completed under the leadership of Father Joseph A. Hogarty, later pastor of St. Augustine in Lebanon.
There is evidence of a day school run by the Dominican Sisters as early as 1844, but the current St. Dominic Elementary School began operation in 1929. It was staffed by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine. The school now serves about 185 students from the parish and community.
Today St. Dominic Parish has more than 1,400 parishioners. The parish is a strong community that values worship, stewardship and education. As its mission statement declares, “Our mission, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is to proclaim our salvation through Christ, to teach and share our faith, to serve those who need physical, spiritual, or emotional support and to show the love of God through our good works for all peoples.”