Brief History of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church

Brief History of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church, Biwabik, MN


The Catholic people of Merritt (later called Biwabik) were first served by missionary priest Joseph Buh. 

Fr. Joseph Francis Buh was born March 17, 1833 in Austria. He sailed to the United States in 1865 and he was ordained a catholic priest 

on January 25, 1865.

St. John's Church was established in 1893 and a church was built by 16 founding families.  A bell (still in use today) was cast for the church in 1900 and placed in the steeple.  The church burned on March 31, 1923 and a "basement" church was ready for Christmas that same year.  The current structure was built on top of this basement and dedicated on June 10, 1956.  A bell tower was built and two more bells were added to the bell tower in 1962.

Jonathan (Ronald) Licari was ordained to the priesthood in 1976. Herb Riley was ordained a permanent deacon in 1981. Peter (Michael) Richards grew up in Biwabik and was ordained in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis on May 3O, 1998.

 In February-September 2015 we, merged with Holy Rosary, Aurora and Queen of Peace, Hoyt Lakes to form Our Lady of Hope Parish.  We are all members of the same parish, with one set of trustees, one Finance Council and one Pastoral Council. 

Pastors (*and associate) who have served  Saint John the Baptist Church:

Joseph F. Buh 1893-96   T. Gregory Manning 1953-57
Matthew Bilban 1896-1906   Frank Melovasich 1957-63
Francis Saloven 1906-13   Leo J. Hannon 1963-69
Joseph Pollak 1913   Raymond Cossette 1969-75
Patrick J. Lydon 1913-14   Patrick Carey 1975-77
Aloysius L. Pirnat 1914   John Sustarsic 1977
Richard O'Gorman 1914-17   James Hayden 1977-89
John Begley 1917-18   Fredrick Method 1989-93
Anton Leskovic 1918   Brian Schultz 1993-95
A. L. Dufrensne 1918-19   Frank Perkovich 1995-04
Joseph Quillian 1919   David Forsman 2004-07
John Jerse 1919-30   Joseph Mulangattil* 2005-06
Timothy Culligan 1930-31   Bill Skarich 2007-08
Thaddeus McCarhty 1931-34   Rick Banker 2008-09
Patrick S. Flynn 1934-46   Keith Bertram 2009
Andrew Crawford 1946-47   Steven Daigle 2010-16
Edmund Mockler 1947-49   Perter S. Lambert 2016-
David Taylor 1949-52      
Francis G. Schweiger 1952-53