Catholic Community of Waukesha


Historical chalices donated by Monsignor Gearhard
Monsignor Gearhard served as Pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Waukesha From 1953 until he retired in 1972.

In 1918, Monsignor Gearhard served as Chaplain in the European arena during World War I with the 328th Infantry.

Discharged from the Army in 1919, Monsignor spent the next four years at St. Michael’s and “Old St. Mary’s” parishes in Milwaukee until appointed advisor and chaplain to the Fenwick club, and organization for Catholic working boys in Milwaukee, which he founded in 1922.

It was during this time Monsignor became acquainted with St. Joseph’s parish in Waukesha, helping out with baptisms, masses and confessions.  From 1931to 1941 he was Archdiocesan Director of the Propagation of Faith.

Then Pearl Harbor brought him back into action in the Pacific during World War II.  He is the chaplain that was part of the "Lost in Shangri-La".  It was during World War II that he was appointed Far East Air Force Chaplain and became a friend of Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur.

After 38 months service in the Southwest Pacific he left Japan in January of 1946.  On his return, he was in the hospital at Bolling Field, D.C., for six months because of malaria and a mouth infection.  Appointed as chief chaplain of the Continental Air Command on Long Island, he traveled extensively, visiting Air Force bases throughout the US.

From 1950 to 1951 he was Air Force chaplain in Europe, based in Germany.  During part of this tour, he was Chief European chaplain for the Army, Navy and Air Force.  In 1950 he was made a Brigadier General.  Retired from the military he was assigned to St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Waukesha, WI in 1953.

He was not overwhelmed with the changes pouring out of the Vatican council,  Part of the reason for this open-minded attitude was his firm biblical background.  He regularly reads the New Testament and “loves the Bible”.  His willingness to take on a chaplaincy of a Christian Family Movement group in the parish exhibited his ability to move down a new path.

He oversaw the building of the new grade school, the remodeling of the church and very involved with the start of Catholic Memorial High School.  He was truly moved by God’s Spirit.  And loved by the parish and interacted with the children. 

This gives you just a little insight into the dedicated Monsignor Gearhard who  donated these beautiful Chalices that he obtained from Germany and used in the parish for many years.  The chalices were not being used for some decades but were found in a closet, about 2  years ago.   Father Javier Bustos and staff were excited about the find, and had them referbished and then rededicated in October 2015.  The parish members were very happy to have these back in service.