Parish History

St. Alexander Parish and school rest on an 11acre site, just north of 127th and Harlem Avenue.   The property was donated by the Crawford Family.  It was founded as a Parish in the Chicago Archdiocese in June of 1959 with the appointment of Father Hanton by Archbishop Albert Cardinal Meyer. Father Hanton selected the name “St. Alexander” in honor of the third century pope and his own deceased father and brother who bore the same name.

The FIRST MASS for the new parish in Palos Heights was celebrated at Van Henkelum’s Funeral Parlor on July 19, 1959.  During August of 1959, due to an increase in attendance, the Sunday services were moved to the auditorium of the Palos East School.

The parish complex was originally designed by the architectural firm of John L. Bartolomeo and Associates and built by the general contractors, M.A. Lombard and Sons.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the parish church and school complex was December 6th, 1959.

Father Hanton’s sister was a member of the Sisters of Providence.  He made an appeal to this order to staff the new school.  Four sisters were assigned on August 5th, 1960.  Sister Joseph Clare was the first principal.  The new school opened on September 1, 1960 with an enrollment of 247 students.  Our present enrollment is 430.  The cornerstone of the church and school building was laid on October 30, 1960.  The first Mass in the New Church was held on Sunday August 28th in 1961.  On October 4th 1961, Cardinal Francis Meyer dedicated the completed part of the parish complex.

Fr. Hanton died suddenly on April 16, 1969 one week after his 35th Anniversary in the priesthood.  As a memorial in his honor, the statue of St. Alexander was erected in the atrium next to the vestibule of the church.  The statue was moved to its current location in the east façade of the church building to be more visible in 1999.

Following Father Hanton’s death, Monsignor Cornelius J. McGillicuddy was named pastor.  The Monsignor served eight years as pastor of St. Alexander Parish.

The Rev. John M. Crosby was named pastor on June 1, 1977 and served for 20 years.

As the community and parish continued to grow, a parish center was constructed to provide a facility to meet the religious, educational, athletic and social needs of the parishioners.  A new rectory was also contracted at this time.  Cardinal John Cody dedicated the new Parish Center and rectory on September 14, 1980.

The Rev. Edward J. Cronin was installed as pastor in July 1997 and he served as pastor for 13 years.

St. Alexander Parish has grown to 3000 families.

Rev. Martin E. Michniewicz was assigned pastor in July of 2010.