St. Mary Parish
Reverend Patrick Heppe, Pastor
225 S. Hartwell Ave.
Waukesha, WI 53186
Monday 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
About St. Mary's Parish
Under the leadership of Archbishop Moses E. Kiley and Monsignor Edward J. Rodenkirch, Catholic Memorial HIgh school was built, and enrolled its first class in September of 1949. Prior to this date, the Catholic population of Waukesha had begun to outgrow St. Joseph's Church. This, with the completion of the High School Chapel, Our lady of Fatima, parishioners living in the South region of St. Joseph's Parish began attending Mass at the Chapel in June of 1949. It was from this nucleolus of parishioners that St. Mary's, the second Catholic Church in Waukesha, was born. In September of 1949, our parish was officially established as "St. Mary's of the Immaculate conception Parish" with Father John Voelker serving as pastor. It was also at this time that St. Mary's grade school began operations, using classrooms at Catholic Memorial. The Fall of 1950 saw the first of St. Mary's board of trustees established, and the school enrolled 229 students. 1951 was an important year of changes for St. Mary's, until this time, Fr. Voelker served both as Pastor and school principal, but in June 1951 that St. Mary's having outgrown its areas at CMH, received permission to build a ten room grade school, living quarters for the nuns, as well as a hall and gymnasium.
Construction began in 1952, and the fall of 1953 saw 401 pupils enrolled in the new school. Archbishop Albert Meyer officiated at the official dedication of the building on October 24, 1953. With the construction complete, parishioners began attending Mass in the gymnasium. In August of 1959, Monsginor Voelker was appointed pastor of St. Catherine's parish in Milwaukee, and Fr. Robert Enders took over as pastor at St. Mary's, ushering in a new decade of growth and change.
During the Summer of 1960, construction of six additional school classrooms and the parish rectory was completed. Both the rectory and a school addition were dedicated by Archbishop Cousins on October 9th, 1960. It was in the fall of 1960 that St. Mary held its first Fall festival.
In the Spring of 1963 Fr. Enders established committees of Finance, building and Building Fund Drive. This board of consultant was charged with planning the church building. in July of 1963 final plans were approved, and on Festival Day on September 15th 1963, the sketches of the new church were put on display for parishioners.
As plans for the new building continued through the fall, a parish-wide fund drive took palace to raise pledges and donations for the construction project. Gift and pledges of over $245,000 were collected, and this culminated in the ground breaking of St. Mary's Church as we know it on December 8th, 1963, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
1964 wa a year of construction at St. Mary's and in September of that year Monsignor Voekler returned to participate in the laying of the cornerstone. On January 14th, 1965, with construction for the curch complete, Auxiliary Biship Roman R. Atkilski consecrated the marble altar, and on January 24th Archbishop Cousins celebrated the Dedication Mass of St. Mary's church.
In September of 1965, four additional classrooms were constructed in the lower lever of the church to accommodate the growing population of St. Mary's School. In May of 1966, St. Mary's established its first school board. It was at the conclusion of the second decade of St. Mary's that the first Saturday evening mass fulfill the Sunday Mass obligation was celebrated.
In October of 1970, the first Parish Council was formed. This time in our history also brought into being the Family Singers, the group that is now the Spirit Singers, representing more contemporary music in liturgy, and breaking tradition by singing at the front of the church as opposed to in the choir loft.
In February of 1974, St. Mary's celebrated its 25th anniversary as parish, marking the occasion with a special mass celebrated by Fr. Enders. During the first 25 year of her history, St. Mary's Parish celebrated 3274 baptisms, 711 marriages, and worshiped with nearly 1700 contributing members.
The Summer of 1978 marked another time of change at St. Mary's. After nineteen years of faithful leadership, Fr. Enders retired from the pastorate and Fr. John Twomey took over as pastor.
In May of 1984, Fr. Neil Zinthefer took over as pastor of St. Mary's. In 1989, Fr. Neil accepted a position at a parish in Fredonia. Fr. Ron Bandle, the St. Mary's associate pastor also moved on to another position, leaving St. Mary's without both is pastoral figures. It was in this period of change, then, that St. Mary's welcomed a new pastor, Fr. Mike Newman.
Fr. Mike's arrival on July 1, 1989, marked his first opportunity to serve as pastor of a parish. Fr. Mike faced his first year as pastor with no named associate, although Fr. Tom Mlodzik helped with weekend masses during the summer of 1989, Fr. Tom was assigned as associate pastor 1990-1993. By 1993, Fr. John Hemsing joined the staff as associate pastor.
Beginning of 1993, St. Mary's began a long term planning project, and in 1994 formed seven different committees to analyze parish needs. A Parish Building Master Plan and Capital Fund Feasibility study was in turn presented to the council in January of 1996.
In February of 1996, an informational meetin was held for parishioners regarding a new building plan, and it was also at this time that Fr. Mike began his second term as parish priest. The decision was made to hold a capital fund campaign beginning in the Spring of 1997. After a successful campaign to raise 1 million dollars in pledges and gifts, ground was broken for the new church addition on March 29, 1998.
Fr. Gordon Weber came to St. Mary's in June 1996 as part-time associate pastor, replacing Fr. Heming, who accepted a position as pastor for a parish in Wind Lake. Fr. Gordon's leadership was integral for forming the Small Christian Communities, a movement that has been very successful.
After a year of construction and planning, St. Mary's community dedicated the new facility, including school renovations, a new Narthex and South entrance, a new community room and a new north entrance with elevator access to the new Narthex, on May 23, 1999. On January 23, 2000, the faithful people of St. Mary's celebrated the 50th anniversary of our parish with a mass officiated by Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland.
In June 2000, Fr. Mike was reassigned and Fr. Brian Mason became St. Mary's Pastor. Fr. Brian took on a second capital campaign to retire the debt. The parish responded generously and paid off the debt early. In June 2005, Fr. Brian was reassigned as the Associate Vicar for Clergy.
In June 2005, Fr. Jim Volkert was named Pastor of St.Mary. Fr. Jim, during his time at St. Mary's led a pilgrimage to Italy and also in December of 2006 Fr. Jim was reassigned to St. Mary's in Burlington.
In June of 2010, Fr. Howard Haase was named Pastor of St. Mary's. Fr. Howard was part of the team of priest who started working on the new cluster staff to serve the Catholic Community of Waukesha. In June of 2016, Fr. Howard was granted a second term at St. Mary's and continued working on a cluster plan which would, by June 30, 2017, have a team of priests assigned to all 4 parishes in Waukesha, serving the entire Catholic Community of Waukesha.