Our Church History

Saint Peter’s Parish was formed as an idea in the minds of several German ladies at a social gathering in December, 1884: “How would it be if we German women would begin collecting money for the purpose of getting a German church and parish at some future time?” All favored this idea and a society was organized which they chhistoryphotoplaced under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Each member was obliged to contribute 25 cents monthly toward the fund. After zealous efforts by the German Catholic men and women of the area to raise funds and determine the best site for the church building, the parish of Saint Peter was officially organized on April 25, 1887. Saint Peter’s remained a German parish under the direction of the Benedictines until 1975 when it came under the jurisdiction of the Des Moines Diocese.

The church building is an almost classic example of a late 19th century Gothic Revival design and has remained structurally unaltered except for an entrance for the handicapped. The church and rectory were placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1992. In 2001 under the direction of Pastor, Father Chuck Kottas, the interior of the church was updated, restoring the spiritual ambiance of the original church and embellishing the statues and frescoes which make the church so unique. The new parish social hall was completed in April of 1999. This gathering hall was financed through the sacrificial contributions of many parishioners and from memorial donations to the Father Michael H. Irwin Memorial Fund. Father Irwin, former pastor, died in June, 1993. The office addition was completed in the summer of 2006.

Over 100 years since the dedication of this new parish in Council Bluffs, the people of Saint Peter’s continue to gather for social functions, and they follow the strong tradition of these German founders by being generous in their time, talent, and enthusiasm for their Catholic faith which helps this parish continue to flourish.