St. Andrew Church
The Roman Catholic Faith was probably first practiced in the Granite Falls area by fur traders on the Minnesota River and their accompanying Jesuit missionaries. The first records show Mass was celebrated in the residence of Charles Mooney of Stoney Run Township in March 1872. These services were attended by Catholics for Wood Lake, Montevideo, Lac Qui Parle and practically the entire Minnesota River Valley west of Redwood Falls. Between 1872 and 1885, Mass was held in private homes and then in the courthouse whenever a priest was available.
Eventually Fr. Andrew Kober from Bird Island was assigned to the Granite Falls area and monthly Mass was celebrated in the courthouse. The foundation for the first church was laid in 1884 and the church was completed the next year as a cost of $2,000. Named St. Andrew in honor of its pastor's patron saint, the church was dedicated November 27, 1885 and incorporated December 30, 1898.
Fr. Edward Trainor served as pastor for 17 years, supervising the construction of the present, beautiful brick church. It was built just in time. A windstorm on September 8, 1942, blew the frame church off its foundation and left it resting against the new structure. The new church, costing almost $18,000, was dedicated on May 23, 1943, by Archbishop John G. Murray. In September 1976, it was determined that new classrooms and, if the priest shortage continued, a large worship area, would be needed. The present Parish Center was completed in 1979.
The Parish has grown from 15 families in 1889, to 56 in 1938, to 250 today. Having witnessed many changes, among the present-day structure of an "Area Faith Community," parishioners have continued to celebrate God's presence in their midst. In 2005, St. Andrew in Granite Falls, St. Clara in Clara City, and St. Joseph in Montevideo became Holy Family Area Faith Community, with the priest residing in Montevideo.