A Brief History of Our Parish

Bishop Michael Gallagher

About 1921, several Romeo families requested of Bishop Gallagher of Detroit to allow the celebration of Mass in Romeo. Permission was granted, and Fr. Carroll came one Sunday each month from Rochester.

Since there was no church, Mass was offered in various homes and halls in the area. A church building was needed, but funds were lacking. The Catholic Extension Society loaned the parish $1000 and Romeo became a mission of Lapeer under Fr. Thomas Carey, the pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, Lapeer.

Shortly thereafter, a building committee purchased the first site, a lot on the corner of Freemont and West Lafayette streets. Here, the first St. Clement church was built in 1924 under the direction of Fr. Thomas Gorman, who came from Lapeer to say Mass each Sunday.

On July 5, 1939, St. Clement was established as a separate parish with eighty-seven families. Fr. Henry Koelzer was appointed as the first resident pastor.

In 1949, the number of families had grown to 237. A house and lot at 332 South Main Street was purchased to be used as a parish rectory. The new school opened September 17, 1951, with church quarters located in the school building for use on December 14, 1951.

In 1965, twenty acres of land adjacent to the parish property was purchased. In 1966, plans were made to build a circular style of church. With the floor plan chosen, it was decided to use as much as possible the work of local artists and artisans.

The stone on the exterior of the church and also in the floor portion of the sanctuary is local field stone, hand-split and fitted by a local stone mason, Mr. Edward Mandeville. Large boulders found in the area were brought in by Mr. Leo Juip to be used as the baptismal font, the holy water font, and the main altar. The new church was dedicated in 1968.

At the dawn of the 1970s, the organ was built and installed by the Casavant Organ company of Quebec at the cost of $86,000. It has twenty-three ranks and two manuals. The acoustics in the church make for an outstanding sounding organ.

In 1978, the bell tower and bells were dedicated. The bells were cast in Holland of 80 percent copper and 20 percent virgin tin and are tuned to perfection based on the musical note A at 440 vibrations per second. They were installed by the I.T. Verdin Company. The bells were donated by the Women’s Guild, Men’s Guild, and Mr. John Sweeney.

In the year 2000, it was decided to remodel the church and build an addition which included a Religious Education Center, parish offices, chapel, overflow seating, gymnasium, social hall, and gathering area. This addition was completed in 2001.

Pastors of St. Clement of Rome

  • Rev. Henry Koelzer (1939-1942)
  • Rev. Thomas O’Rourke (1942)
  • Rev. Bernard Hoey (1942-1945)
  • Rev. John McMillan (1945-1966)
  • Rev. William J. Dowell (1966-1973)
  • Rev. Ronald Kurzawą (1973-1982)
  • Rev. Stephen C. Reckker (1982- Present)

Assistants and Administrators

  • Rev. Carroll
  • Rev. Thomas Gorman
  • Rev. Rupert Dakoske
  • Rev. J. Joseph Ording
  • Rev. Joseph Immel
  • Rev. Walter Schweihofer
  • Rev. Lawrence Dunn
  • Rev. Bernard Dominick
  • Rev. Thomas Peckham
  • Rev. Thomas Shields
  • Rev. Michele Manzelli, PIME
  • Rev. James Valovick
  • Rev. Arnold Bastien
  • Rev. Michael Callahan
  • Rev. Patrick Peppard, S.J.
  • Rev. Henry Villerot
  • Rev. Jerome Odbert, S.J.
  • Rev. John Ortman
  • Msgr. John Kasza
  • Rev. Keith Clark
  • Rev. John McDonough
  • Rev. Jerry Kessel
  • Rev. Jerry Slowinski
  • Rev. Jim Andres
  • Rev. Art Baranowski
  • Rev. Biju Parakkalayil
  • Rev. Bin Augustine
  • Rev. Michael Sullivan
  • Rev. Vito Martinez
  • Rev. Julius Milton


  • Rev. Mr. Thomas Bartasavage
  • Rev. Mr. Allen Vigneron (now Archbishop of Detroit)
  • Rev. Mr. Ronald Zdrojewski
  • Rev. Mr. Larry Nawrocki
  • Rev. Mr. John McDonough (now a priest)
  • Rev. Mr. Kurt J. Godfryd