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Holy Cross Parish has a long and eventful history that reflects the dedication and determination of it founders and those who followed. Catholic worship and Catholic education have flourished over the parishes' many generations. It was in 1859, just prior to the Civil War, that Mendota's German-speaking Catholics established the original Holy Cross Parish. They purchased a frame building that had been a public school and moved it to the present Holy Cross property. By 1868 the parish had completed a new brick church, and the frame church then became Holy Cross School. In 1913 the parish built a new brick school. Until 1931 Mendota was also served by St. Mary's Parish, located on the city's south side. Due to various circumstances at that time, the Most Reverend Joseph Schlarman, Bishop of Peoria, determined that the town would benefit by having a single, unified parish. Since Holy Cross was more centrally located and because it had the school, its site was chosen for the new church that would unite the two congregations. Fr. Leo J. Wissing was appointed pastor of the new parish.