It is not clear when the first Catholic homesteaded in the area. By 1900 there was a large enough population to warrant a priest traveling twice yearly to celebrate Mass. From 1900-1909 these Masses took place in the homes of the Obergfells and O’Briens in the Sidney-Fairview area. In 1909 Rev. J.H. Manhussier was stationed in Fairview and asked to minister to Catholics throughout Richland County. In 1915 the Sidney community became a mission of the Catholic Church in Fairview.
St. Matthew’s was originally dedicated to St. Philomena in 1917. As the Catholic population grew, so did the educational needs of the people. By 1949 plans were complete for a Catholic School building which still stands today. The school continued until 1971 through the efforts of the Sisters of Humility and the generosity and dedication of parishioners as teachers and volunteers. By 1962 the Church community had grown so large that a new worship facility was needed. Upon completion, the entire parish complex was rededicated to St. Matthew, the Gospel Evangelist, from whom the present Church and Parish Center take their names.
The core of the parish has always been the deep faith of the local parishioners which moves them to continue to share the “Good News” with others. In recent years this is evidenced in the local community’s efforts at quality religious education for people of all ages, by increased involvement of parishioners in all facets of parish life, by the Cum Christo and Renew Movements, by the praish’s reputation as being hospitable to all who gather with them, and by social outreach efforts to the poor and migrant families who visit the valley yearly, and to the needs of the local and world community. The parish presently consists of approximately 500 families.
Currently, St. Matthew’s serves as the Mother Church to four missions. St. Bernard’s, Charley Creek; St. Catherine’s, Fairview; St. Michael’s, Savage; and St. Theresa’s, Lambert.
Fr. Greg Staudinger is the resident priest with Fr. Ned Shinnick assisting as needed.