1983 - 1993
Father Lou Hohman
With the retirement of Father Reddington, Bishop Matthew Clark selected Father Louis Hohman to become the third pastor of St. Louis.
Rev. Louis Hohman Pastor 1983 to 1993
A Rochester native, Father Hohman grew up in the South Wedge neighborhood known as Swillburg and was educated at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s Seminaries in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood. His first two assignments as a priest were as an assistant pastor at St. Helen’s Church in Gates and at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester. In 1950 Father Hohman became the Spiritual Director of St. Andrew’s Seminary, where he remained for fifteen years.
From 1965 to 1971, on the St. John Fisher campus, he served the college seminary, Becket Hall, for the first three years as spiritual director, then as rector. Immediately preceding his appointment to St. Louis, Father Hohman spent eleven years as pastor at St. Vincent DePaul Church in Churchville. During that time, he also served as Chaplain at Rochester Institute of Technology.
A Collaborative Vision
In June of 1983, Father Lou Hohman became the third pastor of St. Louis Church. His vision of collaboration invited parishioners to share more fully in the decision-making process of the parish. He helped the Parish Council and the Finance Committee grow in their involvement in the life of the parish. Liturgically, as well as in all dimensions of parish life, lay ministry grew in importance in the life of the parish community. Men and women, lay and ordained, young and old were encouraged to participate in the life of the community.
Outreach to Communities Near and Far
Father Hohman continued to support the ministry of “twinning” with St. Bridget’s parish in the inner city. Father Hohman would stay overnight at St. Bridget’s homeless shelter along with the St. Louis volunteers who had prepared the meals at home to feed those at the shelter.
In 1985, our outreach extended to Africa, as St. Louis donated funds for a water project in Kabarnet, Kenya. The people of Kabarnet provided the labor for the project and their local government matched the seed money that St. Louis had raised through the sale of Christmas ornaments. The ornament sale tradition continued at St. Louis. Proceeds currently benefit St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Haiti, as well as several Rochester-area charities.
Changes to the Church and Grounds
In the spring of 1986 St. Louis volunteers came together to build a playground just south of the gym. The playground became a recreational resource enjoyed by the entire Pittsford Village community.
In 1986, parish volunteers joined together to build a playground next to Reddington Hall.
The early 1990’s were a time of many changes for the interior of St. Louis Church. In keeping with the move to more fully involve the congregation in the celebration of the Eucharist, it was proposed that the altar railing and pulpit be removed. The Parish Council spent an overnight at High Acres Retreat Center to meet and pray over the issue and then waited and prayed for two months before the decision was made to remove the original brick altar railing and pulpit.
The altar was moved forward, the presider’s chair, candlesticks and a cross for the sanctuary were purchased.
Realizing the importance of the organ as the principal liturgical instrument of the church, the music staff had inquired about the possibility of replacing the St. Louis’s original Stanley instrument. Its many years of service began even before it came to St. Louis in 1972.
The sanctuary’s Visser-Rowland organ was dedicated in September of 1993.
By the early 1990’s, its malfunctioning components were beginning to compromise the quality of music in the church. In 1992, Marianna Sheehan donated a new organ built by Visser-Rowland. It was dedicated in the church sanctuary on September 26, 1993. The new organ was installed in a prominent position behind the altar.
Father Hohman donated the statue of the risen Christ, which graces the South Main Street facade of the church.
Another important change to St. Louis Church during the Hohman decade occurred on the outside of the building. A statue of the risen Christ, given to Father Lou some years before in memory of his father, had previously hung at St. Andrew’s Seminary when Father Lou was spiritual director there. He brought it to Becket Hall on the St. John Fisher campus when he served there as Spiritual Director and Rector. Finally, when he became pastor at St. Louis, the statue of the risen Christ found its current home on the South Main Street facade of the church.
A Time of Transition
Father Lou was loved as an outgoing and affectionate pastor who made people feel welcome at St. Louis. He will long be remembered as an excellent homilist. He sought to gather people together for meeting and socializing as well as for worship. He had the energy and enthusiasm to inspire many improvements in the physical environment of the church. In his vision of collaboration, he endeavored to lead the parish through the difficult period of change. Father Lou developed the ministerial staff, and he expanded the role of the laity. He placed his gifts in the service of the community. As a result, the faith community of St. Louis was able to focus on the Gospel values of being of service to people in need.