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Have you ever wondered why such a beautiful church is in the small hamlet of Hobe Sound? I was fortunate enough to be in attendance when Father Aidan Hynes gave this wonderful homily and explanation of the founding of St. Christopher’s Roman Catholic Church. On Sunday January 18, 2015, the first reading was the calling of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19) and Father Hynes was the celebrant. In his homily Father Hynes began speaking of Samuels calling and how we must be "ready" to hear Jesus. The following is his homily as I remember it:

And be sure to read it with a proper "Irish brogue".

......"And I will ask you to notice the relief statues on the wall to the west of the alter where the calling of Samuel is celebrated. Now, "tattt" is an unusual grouping to have in a Catholic Church. Samuel is from the Old Testament and the likenesses would more typically be found in a Jewish Synagogue. There is another unusual statue in our Church and that is of St. George which we have out in our grotto. Now, St. George is most typically found in a Protestant or Anglican church as he is considered the patron Saint of England. So, it is unusual to have these two so prominently displayed in a Catholic Church. And what a beautiful little Church we have.

When I was ordained as a Deacon in 1970 I was assigned to a Parish in Pompano Beach and I was fortunate enough to know a family that lived on Hutchinson Island up here in Stuart. I was invited to stay when the owners were not home. It was a wonderful retreat for me to get away from the hustle and bustle of Pompano.
Now in those days Interstate 95 was not built North of PGA and south of Stuart and the particulars regarding that is a story for another time. So, the driving options were to take the Thruway to Stuart or get off at PGA Boulevard and take US Route 1 all the way north. I was advised to take the Thruway as it was simpler and much quicker and for a long time I did. One day I had a bit more time to drive and I thought that a changeup would be nice so I got off at PGA and drove east to Route 1 and headed north.
Back then there was not much between North Palm Beach and Stuart except for sand dunes and the small hamlet of Jupiter. As I drove I realized I enjoyed this route of travel much more that the highway route of the Throughway. When I was still south of Stuart and after a long expanse of dunes I drove down a small hill and noticed a Church on the right side of the road. As I drove on the only other building was a red feed store on the left side of the road, after an intersection, which I would later find out was Bridge Road. I was told that the small hamlet was Hobe Sound and that it was a Catholic Church named St. Christopher's. I wondered why such a small shire had a relatively large and grand Catholic Church.
On one of my sorties to Stuart I stopped at Saint Christopher's, walked in and was immediately taken by its ornate marble alter and quaint chapel in its Spanish Revival style. Of course, at that time there was only the church, without the grotto and other buildings that are now present. And the grounds were well maintained but consisted primarily of local Florida flora without the current ornate plantings and trees.
In 1992 I was assigned to St. Christopher's as an assisting priest I then became more familiar with the history of St. Christopher's. In the late 40's and early 50's in addition to local concerns and livelihoods the primary purpose of Hobe Sound was to serve the wealthy population of Jupiter Island and while most of the people wintering there were Protestant there was a contingent of Catholic families. One of those Catholic families were the Devine's. In the late 40's Mr. Devine thought the town of Hobe Sound and the Catholic population of Jupiter Island should have a proper church to act as a religious and community focal point and he took on this project as his mission.
He went about acquiring land, commissioning designs and arranging for construction. The Parish was founded in 1952 and in late 1953 the church was completed. One of the grandest focal points of our Church is the magnificent altar. Mr. Devine contracted to have the altar constructed out of the finest Italian marble. The stones were cut and first assembled in Italy and then brought to America, along with the Italian stone masons, and it was reassembled as you now see it (hand gesturing).
Along with the alter, as you look around you will notice our splendid architecture, rich wood work and pews and our marvelous collection of art works and statues. And of course, the glorious praise that emanates from our parishioners accompanied by our handsome organ under the guidance of our talented organists. Among the statues are the relief of Samuel's calling and the Statue of St. George now located in our grotto which was added to the church proper in subsequent years.
While Mr. Devine was a successful and prosperous man in his own right he did not have the funds to build the church completely on his own dime. So, as a Wall Street banker he had many wealthy friends who were investors and traders and he gracefully put the arm on many of them.

Among them were a pair of Jewish brothers whom he cajoled to contribute mightily to the cost of building our splendid Catholic Church. Now it may seem a bit unusual that two Jewish brothers would figure so prominently in the realization of our fine Church.
The brothers surname was ( Iforgotawitz...compiled from my recollection 10 days post Fr.H's. homily) and their given names were Samuel and George. And thus, the relief of Samuel on the wall to the west of our alter and the statue of George in our Grotto.
Appropriate Applause!!!
Hail Mary full of grace. The Lord is with the..............."

The following was forwarded to me by the Mary Stevens, the Church Manager, after I made a brief inquiry as to the year Father Hynes was made pastor:

Fr. Timothy Geary, Founding Pastor, 1953
Rev. John McKeown, April 1954
Rev. Jerome Martin, September 1961
Rev. Patrick Murray, July 1964
Rev. Charles Stadalinikas, 1971
Rev. Paul Leo Manning, February 1982
Rev. Frank Guinan, August 1984
Rev. Daniel Barrett, September 1987
Rev. Leslie Cann, July 1989
Rev. Aidan Hynes, July 1999 – Present

History of St Christopher, Hobe Sound
St. Christopher Parish had its beginning in the late 1940’s, when winter residents, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Devine, envisioned the growth to come and offered to build a church to serve the spiritual needs of the few Catholics in the area, and those yet to move to Hobe Sound. The result was the beautiful church we worship in today.

Groundbreaking took place in 1952 and the attractive Spanish Revival architecture of St. Christopher Parish, with its impressive bell tower, became an instant landmark along US1. Its classic beauty has endured and remains a landmark today. St. Christopher Catholic Church was formally dedicated in December 1953 by the Most Reverend Joseph P. Hurley, Archbishop of St. Augustine.

During the intervening 50 plus years, St. Christopher Catholic Church has grown significantly. To meet the spiritual and social needs of this growing parish family, St. Christopher parish has expanded or been refurbished numerous times.

The first was our parish hall, built under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Charles Stadalinkas. Ground breaking took place in 1979 and the dedication of the facility was in 1990, by the Most Reverend Edward McCarthy, the Archbishop of Miami.

The Parish Administration Center and Chapel was built in the mid 1980’s. Ground breaking was in 1985, led by Fr. Frank Guinan, Pastor and Fr. Paul Leo Manning, Pastor Emeritus. Dedication took place in 1986 by the Most Reverend Thomas Daily, Bishop of the Diocese of Palm Beach. After the death of Fr. Manning, the building was dedicated to him and a memorial plaque was put up at the entrance to the cloister

The expansion of the Church took place in 1992. These renovations were under the direction of Fr. Leslie Cann. The Blessing of the Renovated St. Christopher Church was January 17, 1993, by the Most Reverend J. Keith Symons, Bishop of the Diocese of Palm Beach.

The Education Center and the Rectory were built in the late 1990’s. The concept and design of these buildings, as well as that of the renovations to the church that had just taken place are a testament to the vision Fr. Leslie Cann had for the parish. The dedication of the new facilities took place on March 7, 1999, by the Most Reverend Anthony J. O’Connell, Bishop of the Diocese of Palm Beach.

The new kitchen in the Parish Hall kitchen was completed December 2008. It was completely refurbished and brought up to date, under the direction of Fr. Aidan Hynes, to provide a safer and more modern facility to service the parish and its functions. We had our first use of the new kitchen on February 7, 2009 when the Knights of Columbus put on a Spaghetti Dinner.
In January of 2009, Fr. Hynes turned to the Education Center and started making modifications and improvements. The entrance to the Education Center was changed and a much-needed conference room was added.

More significant than the growth of our parish facilities is the growth of our parish family. From our meek beginnings in 1953, we have grown to a vibrant parish of 2,500 registered families. While this does reflect the population growth in South Florida, it more importantly is reflecting the faith, the love, and the hard work of the clergy and parishioners that have all made St. Christopher Parish so strong.

MY Mother and Farther attended St. Christopher’s since they arrived in Jupiter as snow birds in 1994. They would sit in the second row on the right side of the church. Following is a brief excerpt from our family history.
................"Mom passed away on November 4, 2007 some 7 years ago,. At St. Christopher's Church in Hobe Sound, FL. Mom had her final mass with Father Hynes as celebrant. The ceremony was exceptional and was prepared by your children's families who designed and performing all the music, songs and readings. Farther Hynes was eulogizing Mom with his Irish brogue in its finest form. Towards the end, he stated "And now Trudy will be with her Lord". At that moment and for no apparent reason all the power and lights in the church went off for about 5 to10 seconds. When the power came back on and without skipping a beat, and with finger pointing above, Father Hynes picked up and said "And there she goes through the gates of heaven to be in his arms". To this day friends who were at the service will comment how it was one of the most beautiful, spiritual and "not quite sure what happened there" services they had ever been to."...........