Parish History,
Information, and

In 2004, Bishop Lucas sent Fr. Jeff to Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham.  On July 1, 2004 Rev. William J.
Overmann became pastor of the parishes of Crawford County.  Fr. Bill was ordained on June 10, 1962.  He served
as vocation director and then as a teacher in the seminary of the LaSalette Fathers.  While still with the order he
pastored churches in Louisiana, Michigan and Iowa.  As a diocesan priest he served parishes in Liberty, Effingham,
and Paris and North Arm before coming to Robinson and Oblong.

Father Bill instituted the blessing of the pets on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  He brought back the ringing of the
bells at the consecration.  He also changed the guidelines and philosophy of the celebration of First Communion.  
Instead of all children of a certain age making their First Communion at once, it relied on a child’s readiness to
receive the Sacrament.  Each child worked at his or her own pace and celebrated the Sacrament when all the work
was done.  At the end of the religious education year, all those who had made their First Communion celebrated a
Corporate Communion together at the 10:30 a.m. Mass.  Fr. Bill fought illness for some time and attained retired
priest status in 2010.

The parishes welcomed Rev. Aloyisius Okey Ndeanaefo as our 11th pastor in July 2010.  Fr. Aloy was born in
Nigeria, West Africa.  He felt his calling to the priesthood at age 10 and his family and friends called him “Rev”, not
knowing that one day he would professionally be “Reverend Father.”  He studied in seminaries in Nigeria, including
Bigard Seminary, which at that time was the largest seminary in the world in terms of student enrollment.  In 2001
he was accepted to enter the United States as a seminarian.  He completed his theological studies at St. Mary of the
Lake at Mundelein, Illinois.
 Fr. Aloy was ordained a priest on May 28, 2005.  Before coming to Crawford County
he served parishes at Collinsville and at Highland.  

Currently, Father Flach in the Pastor of both Parishes. Reverend James A. Flach was ordained to the Sacred
Diaconate in 1985 and to the Holy Priesthood in 1986 for Priestly Service in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.  He
has served on various diocesan committees and has served in Granite City, Alton, Bathalto, Marine, Grant Fork, St.
Jacob, and Wood River.  Bishop Thomas Paprocki appointed Father Flach the Pastor of St. Elizabeth in Robinson
and Our Lady of Lourdes in Oblong in 2016.
History of the Catholic Faith in Crawford County
Taken from the 2003 Church Directory
Written by Larry and Mary Jo Bonham