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Biography of Rev. John J. Dillon
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Since the 9th of December, 1915, Rev. John J. Dillon has been pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Baden, Missouri, where he has labored untiringly, his efforts being crowned with a most substantial measure of success.
Father Dillon was ordained to the priesthood from St. John’s church in St. Louis on the 30th of May, 1885, Archbishop John J. Glennon officiating. More than a third of a century has passed since that time and throughout the entire period Father Dillon has been most consecrated to his work, his labors accomplishing splendid results. He went to Mexico, Missouri, as pastor of St. Brendan’s church on the 18th of June, 1899, and there remained until his present appointment. In the meantime, before going to Mexico and following his graduation from the Provencial Seminary at Milwaukee in 1885, he acted as assistant of St. John’s parish in St. Louis and then went to Valley Park, where he established a parish. While there he became ill and it was feared that pulmonary trouble would develop. It was through the influence and efforts of Father Phelan of St. Brendan’s church in Mexico that he became chaplain of the cemetery under Father Phelan and continued in that position until 1892, during which period he said the burial service for more than twenty thousand people. The open-air work greatly benefited his health and in fact restored him to excellent physical condition, so that he has enjoyed good health almost continuously since. He was afterward made assistant to the Church of the Immaculate Conception under Father G. D. Powers and subsequently was the organizer of St. Mark’s church in the West End.
In 1894 he went to Byrnesville, in Jefferson county, where he labored until 1899, when was called to St. Brendan’s church in Mexico. He spent sixteen years there amid most pleasant conditions and his labors were of the greatest benefit to the town. A local paper, writing of him at the time of his transfer, said: “Father Dillon was friend of Protestant and Catholic alike. He was one of the most charitable and public spirited citizens Mexico ever had. There was never a public enterprise that required financial support to which he did not subscribe. He gave money to various interests and institutions, to the Interurban Railroad and to many projects of general benefit.” It was often said that Father Dillon felt real resentment if the subscription committee did not call upon him promptly when a public enterprise was under way. Moreover, his house was always hospitably open for the entertainment of friends or of those who needed assistance. At times his generosity was imposed upon but this has never deterred him from continuing to extend a helping hand, as he would far rather assist nine unworthy than to pass by one that was worthy of aid. He closed a most successful pastorate of sixteen years at Mexico when called to the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Baden. Here the parish has one hundred and seventy families. For five years Father Dillon has now continued his labors at Baden with the same substantial results that have crowned his efforts elsewhere. The work of the church is thoroughly organized, he has the cooperation of its various societies and the confidence and love of his people.
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