Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church
  • Naperville, IL USA

History of Saints Peter and Paul Church

Saints Peter & Paul was founded in 1846 and is the oldest established parish in DuPage County. The parish was originally established as St. Raphael’s, after the given name of its pastor, Rev. Raphael Rainaldi. The first church served 25 families, and was a small frame structure with a lean-to attached to the south side, which served as both sacristy and priest’s residence. This church was built on the west side of Front Street (Ellsworth) and faced east. 

The school was started with a lay person as a teacher in 1853 under the leadership of Fr. Charles Zuker. In 1852 the church was enlarged by a frame addition and the lean-to was moved to the west side of Ellsworth Street and was used as the parish school. 

In 1862, Rev. Peter Fischer became pastor of the parish and changed its name from St. Raphael to Saints Peter & Paul. During his time as pastor, work was begun on a stone church to serve the needs of the parish which had grown to 230 families. This new church, located on the same site as the present church, was dedicated in March, 1866. The original frame church was converted into a two room school with 100 children attending. 

In 1892 a new school was built to accommodate an enrollment of 180 children. Work also began on the rectory located at the site of the present parish office building. 

In 1911, the school was destroyed by fire. A new school was built and at its opening in 1912, the enrollment was 250. 

Fire was to strike Saints Peter & Paul again. On Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 1922, the church was completely destroyed by a fire that still remains the worst in Naperville’s history. Out of the ashes, the 350 families that comprised Saints Peter & Paul parish at that time, built the magnificent church we have today. The Junior High was built in 1957.

 The new rectory was completed in the fall of 1996. Because of the growing needs of Saints Peter and Paul, the new parish Ministry Center was dedicated in 1999. This building houses all the parish offices, the religious education offices, space for meetings and the parish auditorium/chapel. The parish now serves over 3,200 families.