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Parish History The interesting story of St. John Vianney Church’s founding begins in 1941. At that time there were only 100 Catholic families in a farm community called Northlake. This was such a rural area, there were no Catholic churches for many miles around and these were only two seminaries and a far away church. To deepen the hardship of getting to the sacraments, none of the roads were paved, and there was virtually no public transportation!

Not only was a church needed, but a school for the children. For any parent wanting their child to have a good education, there really was nowhere to turn. These desperatefamilies turned to the Archbishop of Chicago, Samuel Cardinal Strich, for a school-church project in 1941. The closest church to Northlake, St. Gertrude’s Church, responded by beginning the process of building a new church and school, headed by Fr. Robert Stoeckel.

Ground was broken on August 28, 1941 at the corner of Wolf Road and West Drive for a church to fill the needs of the Northlake faithful. Soon after, St. John Vianney (who was canonized only 16 years prior) was named the patron of this small church - and of parish priests worldwide. In less than a year, St. John Vianney Church would receive its first pastor - Fr. Robert P. Doyle. Under Fr. Doyle, the church was beginning to grow from a small farm church into a large parish.

On September 21, 1947, Fr. Doyle was assigned to another parish where he had served earlier. Fr. William Horan took his place for only four short years, before he died of cancer on December 12, 1951.Within a month, Fr. Edward T. Boyle was assigned to take the place of Fr. Horan. Under Fr. Boyle, numerous changes were put into effect - and he would be known as the builder of St. John Vianney parish. At last, the Catholic community of Northlake would have a school under Fr. Boyle. On March 2, 1952 the ground was broke for the much needed school. And the first mass celebrated there was Christmas midnight Mass, 1952. All were in thanksgiving for their answered prayers.

In that same eventful year of 1952, ground was broken for a Convent to house the Sisters - all built by volunteers from the St. John Vianney congregation. After only a short break from building, the school was renovated and a gym and more classrooms were added, again headed by Fr. Boyle. But the biggest building job was yet to come! By the last years of the 1950s, the small church was overflowing with people. So much so that an additional mass had to be celebrated in the gymnasium!

With the obvious need for a larger church, Fr. Boyle hired Joseph W. Bagnuolo and Associates to design the church, and the Valenti Builders to transform it into a reality. St. John Vianney is in the shape of a fish (which symbolizes Jesus Christ), while the precast stone blocks make the exterior look like fish scales. These blocks contain quartz stone from West Virginia and aquamarine from Salt Lake City.

The interior of our Church is in the shape of a cross and worshipers face the main altar from all four sides, thereby inspiring everyone to focus their attention on Christ present in the Eucharist, the center of our Catholic belief, and brings us in closer relationship to worship as a community.