Our History

From its beginning in 1924, St. Theodore’s Parish has been a vital part of the Gates Community. When the founding pastor, Father John Baier, was assigned to another parish in 1937, Father Raymond Epping became pastor and served the parish until his retirement in 1960. Father Elmer Heindl was assigned for one year, then Monsignor Dennis Hickey was named pastor in 1961, and he served until 1968, when he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop. As the population kept growing, it became necessary to build an addition to the school in 1966, so now there was ample room for grades one through eight. Coming to St. Theodore’s as the new pastor was Father Gerald Dunn, who had been assigned to parishes mostly on the west side of Rochester. He was very forward-looking in his vision of church and instrumental in getting lay people to become involved in the work of the parish. St. Theodore’s Parish Council was organized in 1971 and was among the first in the Diocese of Rochester. In 1973 groundbreaking for Dunn Tower Apartments, a thirteen-story senior citizen facility was held. Father Dunn was the force behind getting this much needed senior citizen housing, which was built on land donated by St. Theodore’s Parish. Dunn Tower II, an eight-story senior citizen apartment building, was erected in 1979 and is located just behind Dunn Tower I.

Father Dunn retired in June of 1992, and Father Dan Holland was named pastor in July, 1992. The parish thrived under Father Dan’s leadership and pastoral guidance. In June 1994, the diocese closed St. Theodore’s School to make room for a central junior high, All Saints Catholic Academy, which occupied the former junior high section of the school. The original eight classrooms were modified and became the Parish Life Center, which housed the offices for the pastor and staff, a library, receptionist office and meeting room. The library was named in honor of Father Dunn, who died in 1995. The rectory no longer housed any offices and was redesigned into living quarters for additional priest residents.

As the 75th anniversary of the parish was approaching, a Church Renovation Committee was established in 1996 to come up with a proposal for rejuvenation of the church’s interior. After much study it was determined that we would go ahead with a renovation, and in January of 1999, the parish celebrated the dedication of the church with Bishop Dennis Hickey (former pastor), presiding.

In 2002 Father Holland was assigned to St. Pius X parish, and Father George Okoth came to St. Theodore’s. He served until 2005, when he became a chaplain in the Army. Father Steve Kraus, assisting priest, was named pastor in 2006 and retired in June, 2017. Fr. Frederick Asuming, who was the chaplain at Strong Memorial Hospital, is now leading our parish