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A History of St. Alphonsus Parish

St. Alphonsus parish was established in July of 1938 as a Mission Parish. From a beginning of 230 people who attended the first Parish Mass, we have grown to a suburban parish of 2,673 families.

After the beginnings of the community in 1938, the parish built a church and celebrated its first Mass in the new church on Easter Sunday, 1950. The School Sisters of St. Francis came to the parish in 1949 to begin their work staffing the new parish school. In 1950 the first stage of the school building was completed and occupied. The second phase of the building was completed eight years later.

In the same year, the parish built a convent for the sisters who were teaching in the school. Sisters lived in this convent until the middle 90’s. Gradually the building was also used as offices and classrooms. Today it is called the Parish Ministry Center. Likewise, the parish built a rectory early on and several priests lived there until 2002. In 2018 the old rectory was torn down to the foundation and rebuilt as the new Parish House. The Parish House now provides apartment style living space for 3 priests, a guest apartment, and houses the Greendale Food Pantry and the Parish Benefit Auction work room.

When the parish was first formed in 1938, Rev. Frederic Arnold was appointed as the first Pastor. He served until the summer of 1941 when Rev. Joseph Spangler was named resident Pastor for the parish. Fr. Spangler served the parish for 20 years from 1941 until 1961 when Rev. Louis Koren succeeded him. Fr. Koren served until 1968 when he was replaced as Pastor by Rev. Martin Gloudeman. Fr. Gloudeman served for nine years until he was replaced in 1977 by Rev. Carrol Straub. In 1991 Fr. Straub was succeeded as Pastor by Rev. Richard Aiken. Fr. Aiken served as Pastor until 2005 when Rev. David Meinholz succeeded him. In February of 2007 Fr. Dave died suddenly. In June, 2007, Fr. Alan Jurkus was named Pastor and he served until 2014. In 2014 Fr. Aaron Esch took over as Pastor and served until summer, 2020.  In August, 2020, Fr. Kevin McManaman became Pastor, and today he serves along with Fr. Patrick Magnor.  St. Alphonsus Parish has a staff of 15 people including 2 priests, 1 deacon and one sister.

After the Second Vatican Council, which convened in 1962, St. Alphonsus was in the forefront of adapting to and incorporating the changes brought about by that Council. St. Alphonsus formed its first Parish Council in August of 1970.

In the 1980’s plans were developed to build a new worship space which could better serve the needs of the growing community. The first Mass in the new church was celebrated on December 15, 1985. The community continues to explore ways to adapt to the changing world in which it finds itself.

During the 80’s and 90’s lay people and lay ministers began to take on more active and leadership roles in the parish. For the first 30 years of the school, the principal of the Day School was always a religious sister. Beginning in 1979 we have had several lay principals and the school has grown, changed and thrived over the years. As of June  2019, the day school has approximately 340 students including one 3K classroom, two 4K classrooms, two 5K classrooms, one class for 2nd and 3rd grades, two classes of each grade for 1st and 4th thru 8th, and full time specialists in Physical Education, Music, Art, Spanish, and a fulltime Director of Teaching and Learning. In addition, in 2019 the Christian Formation program has over 485 students including about 150 children who receive either Communion/Reconciliation or Confirmation.

The new millennium introduced numerous changes to our parish buildings. In early summer of 2002, the former convent, now called the PMC, was converted into pastoral and support staff offices, instructional rooms, and houses the ERA Neighborhood Outreach Program offices.  At the same time, the church and school were made handicap accessible with the addition of an elevator and ramps. The former chapel was removed and additions were made to the church. To the East we added a music ministry room and Blessed Sacrament/daily Mass chapel, Reconciliation room and family room. To the South is a new Baptismal Font, gathering space and community room and to the West we have a new entrance, rest rooms, coatroom and Parish Library. The project was completed and dedicated by Archbishop Timothy Dolan on August 2, 2003.