Monsignor Zwisler Establishes Parish and Community of Support

When St. Sebastian Parish was established in 1928, the Rev. Hilary Zwisler was chosen as the first pastor. Fr. Zwisler oversaw the construction of the original combined church and school and church building in 1929. In 1957, he was named a Right Reverend Monsignor, and Monsignor Zwisler oversaw the construction of our current church building, which was completed in 1960. 

Monsignor Zwisler retired in 1968 at the age of 82 and lived at the rectory until his death in 1971. Previous church publications refer to Msgr. Zwisler as our “Pastoral Cornerstone” since he left behind more than bricks and mortar for our community. He was dedicated to fostering beautiful surroundings for the church, and he left behind a commitment to the community and its children. This commitment was manifested in our school and our many parish service organizations, clubs, ministries and social groups.

Monsignor Zwisler also established a community of support that served as an important basis for the eventual creation of the St. Sebastian Parish Foundation. In a 1957 letter to St. Sebastian parishioners, launching the fund drive for our present church, the Monsignor said, “Your charity has made it possible to erect a combination church-school-convent, a rectory, a new convent, a recreational center and an addition to the original school.” In thanking his flock for the “wonderful charity” that made all this possible, Monsignor Zwisler concluded, “May our Blessed Lord, through the intercession of His Blessed Mother and of St. Sebastian, our Glorious patron, inspire you to put forth your best effort and sacrifice, and reward you for your love toward Him with earthly blessings and eternal joys.”

Fr. Charles Byrider Establishes the St. Sebastian Parish Foundation

 In 1968, Father Charles L. Byrider assumed leadership of the church. He was noted for his love of people and unabashed support for the value of family. He also understood finances and soon realized that the day would come when needs would exceed what the regular parish collection could provide. So, in 1971, Father Byrider, along with some long-time parishioners, established the St. Sebastian Parish Foundation. The idea was to ensure that funds would always be available to continue the St. Sebastian tradition. 

The original Foundation consisted of six parishioners and the pastor. Today, the board of trustees has grown to include ten parishioners as well as our pastor. The work of the Foundation is carried out by the Director of Development and a staff of two part-time employees. The St. Sebastian Parish Foundation remains dedicated to providing the needed dollars to support the spiritual, educational, recreational and physical needs of our church and school. It is important to note that all contributions to the St. Sebastian Foundation, as well as the interest generated from them, stay within the parish. Gifts to the Foundation propagate and strengthen the faith, shape young minds, educate adults, encourage youth sports activities and comfort our elderly.