Henry’s Random Thoughts


Father John Aloysius Grimmelsman


Founder and First Pastor, St. Dominic Catholic Church, Delhi Township, Ohio




Early Life


He was born into a deeply religious family in Cincinnati in 1895. He was one of ten siblings, seven of whom made it to adulthood. He was one of five siblings called to a life in the clergy. Three sisters became nuns and one of his brothers, Henry, became a priest, eventually rising to the rank of bishop of Evansville, Indiana.




Al attended Holy Family School in Lower Price Hill, followed by St. Xavier High School. Sorry Elder fans, but Elder wasn’t around back then for him to attend. Unlike Henry, he did not have an immediate calling to the priesthood. He attended Xavier University for two years and spent his summers working in the banking industry. All signs pointed to Al following his father into a career in banking, but eventually he found his true calling and went into Saint Mary’s Seminary. His banking experience was a blessing later on, since a pastor needs business skills to build a parish from the ground up during the Great Depression.


Early Assignments


On May 21, 1921, he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Henry Moeller. The following day, he said his first Mass at Holy Family church. His first assignment was at Saints Peter and Paul parish, followed by a stint at St. Francis de Sales parish. At some point he became ill and needed to go to Arizona for a while to recover. Upon his return, he was named chaplain at the College of Mount St. Joseph, where two of his sisters served in the Sisters of Charity order.




In 1933, he became pastor of the newly formed St. Dominic parish, which was created to serve Delhi Township, a growing suburb west of Cincinnati. The first “church” was in the basement where Maloney’s Pub sits now. Money was tight in the Depression, and several sites were used as churches while the dream of a fitting parish church lived on. The postwar boom was good to Delhi, as people gravitated towards the suburbs. The parish had swelled from a few hundred members to several thousand, and late in 1956, the first Mass was celebrated, in spite of the fact that work would continue for several more months. It still serves the parish to this day.   




He retired in 1969 and lived in Western Hills until his death. He corresponded with his brother Henry until Henry died in 1972. He lived to be 85, outliving all of his siblings by a considerable margin. He enjoyed visits from the families of his nieces and nephews later in life.




The photo is courtesy of the Grimmelsman family. Certain facts were pulled from “of Such is the Kingdom,” a mid-60’s history of St. Dominic parish.





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