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History of St. Hugh of Grenoble Parish

A Timeline of Historical Events

  • June 13, 1947 - Founding of St. Hugh Parish, with administrator Rev. Victor Dowgiallo
  • August 6, 1947 - First parish meeting
  • October 5, 1947 - Envelope collection system begins
  • April 11, 1948 - Father Dowgiallo is appointed Pastor
  • May 15, 1949 - Ground-breaking ceremonies for the new school
  • October 31, 1949 - Classes begin in the new school
  • June 30, 1952 - Father Dowgiallo's 5th annivesary as pastor
  • January 17, 1954 - Stations of the Cross installed and blessed in the school auditorium
  • October 10, 1954 - Parish distributes first bulletin
  • June 13, 1959 - New rectory is completed
  • September, 1959 - first lay teacher is hired for first and second grades
  • March 16, 1961 - Rev. Dowgiallo gives the benediction at the dedication of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt
  • April 19, 1964 - Dedication of St. Hugh Church building
  • December 24, 1988 - School suffers major damage in a late-night fire
  • June 8, 1997 - Parish celebrates 50th anniversary with Jubilee Mass
  • September, 2009 - Parish Celebrates 60th anniversary of St. Hugh of Grenoble School with an all-years reunion.
  • June, 2010 - The school closes at the end of the school year due to a decade of declining enrollment. St. Hugh Parish forms a new regional school, with St. Joseph's Parish of Beltsville and St. Nicholas Parish of Laurel, on the campus of St. Joseph's Catholic School.

Priests in Service

Name Position Service Years
Rev. Walter J. Tappe Pastor 2004 - Present
Rev. R. Scott Hurd A/A/R 2000 - Present
Rev. Thomas F. Crowley Pastor 1990 - 2004
Rev. Walter J. Tappe A/A/R 1996 - 2000
Rev. G. Paul Herbert A/A/R 1992 - 1996
Rev. Charles McCann A/A/R 1989 - 1991
Rev. John P. Stack Pastor 1984 - 1990
Rev. Valentine Keveny A/A/R 1986 - 1989
Rev. Thomas S. Schaefer A/A/R 1983 - 1986
Rev. David J. Conway Pastor 1982 - 1984
Rev. Francis Kazista A/A/R 1981 - 1984
Rev. Francis DeSa A/A/R 1978 - 1978
Rev. William J. Kaifer, S.J. A/A/R 1975 - 1976
Rev. William F. O'Donnell (+ 2009 Obituary) Pastor 1973 - 1982
Rev. Noel O'Callaghan A/A/R 1973 - 1975
Rev. Luke A. Caimi A/A/R 1972 - 1972
Rev. Michael Kelly A/A/R 1972 - 1972
Rev. Edward Lataille A/A/R 1972 - 1972
Rev. Raymond J. Boland Pastor 1970 - 1973
Rev. Matthew P. Thekaekara A/A/R 1970 - 1974
Rev. Charles W. Nelson A/A/R 1970 - 1970
Rev. Robert G. Amey A/A/R 1970 - 1981
Rev. Elias El-Hayek A/A/R 1969 - 1969
Rev. Alphonsus M. Smith A/A/R 1964 - 1970
Rev. Franci T. Flaherty A/A/R 1962 - 1964
Rev. Paul F. Liston A/A/R 1958 - 1969
Rev. Victor J. Dowgiallo Pastor 1947 - 1969
(Note: A/A/R = Assitants, Associates, and/or Residents)


About Saint Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble, France (1052 - 1132)

St. Hugh was born on in 1052, at Châteauneuf, France near Valence in the Dauphiné. St. Hugh's was born to a pious family; the word "pious" often refers to being marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship. His father, Odilo, was a soldier and he had been married twice. Odilo later became a Carthusian; as a religious order of great austerity dedicated exclusively to the contemplative life, the Carthusians were founded by St. Bruno in 1084 in the Chartreuse Mountains, a lonely branch of the French Alps.

Odilo died at the age of 100, receiving viaticum from his son in whose arms he passed away. After education begun in Valence and completed with distinction in foreign centres of learning, Hugh was presented to a canonry (the office of a canon) in the cathedral of Valence through still a layman - such benefices at that period being often conferred on young students without orders. At the time when Hugh was very young, good-looking, and extremely bashful, he won all hearts by his courtesy and by the modesty which led him to conceal and underrate his talents and learning.

The bishop of Die, another Hugh, was so charmed by his namesake when he came to Valence that he insisted upon attaching him to his household. The prelate soon proved the young canon's worth by entrusting him with some difficult negotiations in the campaign then directed against simony; and in 1080 he took him to a synod at Avignon, called to consider, amongst other matters, the disorders which had crept into the vacant see of Grenoble. The council and the delegates from Grenoble severally and collectively appear to have looked on Canon Hugh as the one man who was capable of dealing with the disorders complained of; but through unanimously elected it was with the greatest reluctance that he consented to accept the office. The legate himself conferred on him holy orders up to the priesthood, and took him to Rome that he might receive consecration as bishop from the pope. Immediately after consecration, St. Hugh hurried off to his diocese, but he was appalled by the state of his flock. St. Hugh had the ability in dealing with both the immorality and wickedness that were predominant and common in Grenoble. St. Hugh was elected bishop at the age of twenty-five.

For two years, Hugh laboured unremittingly. The excellent results he was obtaining were clear to all but to himself: he only saw his failures and blamed his own incompetence. It had been two years of preaching, denunciations, rigorous fasts and continuous praying. Because Hugh was discouraged, he quietly withdrew to the Cluniac Abbey of Chaise-Dieu, where he received the Benedictine habit. He did not remain there long, for Pope Gregory commanded him to resume his pastoral charge and return to Grenoble.

It was to St. Hugh of Grenoble that St. Bruno and his companions addressed themselves when they decided to forsake the world, and it was he who granted to them the desert called the Chartreuse, that gave its name to their order. The bishop became greatly attached to the monks; it was his delight to visit them in their solitude, joining in their exercises and performing the most menial offices. Sometimes he would linger so long in these congenial surroundings that St. Bruno was constrained to remind him of his flock and of his episcopal duties. St. Hugh's preaching with greater intensity and passion than earlier times at Grenoble, drove several people into the state of sadness and sorrow; St. Hugh was so effective that some would make confessions in the public. Despite his achievements, St. Hugh would frequently ask one Pope after another to be transferred; however, the Popes of his time felt he was needed in Grenoble.

A generous almsgiver, St. Hugh in a time of famine sold a gold chalice as well as rings and precious stones from his church treasury; and rich men were stirred by his example to give liberally to feed the hungry and supply the needs of the diocese. His actions were perfect examples in helping the needy, avoiding unimportant money and belongings, and living a true Christian life. St. Hugh's charitable actions and way of living helped influence, teach and persuade other rich people into giving generously to the hungry and needy.

Although at the end of life his soul was further purified by a lingering illness of a very painful character, Hugh never uttered a word of complaint, nor would he speak of what he endured. St. Hugh had suffered drastic health problems in the last forty years of his life. A short time before his death he lost his memory for everything but prayer, and he would recite the psalter or the Lord's Prayer without intermission. St. Hugh died on 1 April 1132, and having been a bishop for fifty-two years. Pope Innocent II canonized him two years later.

On 13 June 1947, St. Hugh parish was founded in Greenbelt, Maryland, of the United States of America. On 8 June 1997, the St. Hugh Parish celebrated its 50th anniversary with a Jubilee Mass and continues to grow in its faith.






135 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, Maryland 20770 ~ Tel: 301-474-4322