By Celine Klosterman
OSKALOOSA — St. Mary Parish hopes its investment in a new rectory will help the parish and its pastor better serve area Catholics.
On July 21 the parish bought a 1,400-square-foot home that Father Jeff Belger will live in. Less than a mile northeast of St. Mary Church, the house replaces the parish’s former rectory that Father Tom Spiegel, a retired, former pastor of St. Mary’s, bought in June.
Fr. Belger, who also is pastor of St. Mary’s in Pella, plans to move from the Pella rectory to the Oskaloosa home this month. He and Father Ron Hodges, who became parochial vicar of the two parishes in July, have been living in the Pella rectory since then.
Fr. Belger’s move means a priest will be readily available to Catholics in both towns. Frequent 20-mile trips from his Pella home to Oskaloosa have cost both St. Mary parishes the expense of mileage reimbursement, he noted. Oskaloosa parish leaders wanted to make a longer-term investment of parish funds, he said.
Income from the sale of the Oskaloosa parish’s former rectory covered the cost of the new house, Fr. Belger said.
Built in 1959, the two-level home includes four bedrooms, a finished basement and carport.