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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 2,783 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. As plans were made for another remodeling, the former rectory is now known as the Outreach Building and houses offices for the Volunteer Missionary Movement, Southwest Interfaith, St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Greendale Food Pantry.

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 today he serves with Rev. Walter Vogel as Associate Pastor, who will retire in June, 2008. St. Alphonsus Parish gradually developed a staff of 10 people including 2 priests, 2 deacons, one sister, and 5 lay ministers.

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 December 2012, the day school has approximately 450 students: one 3K classroom, three 4K classrooms, two classes of each grade and specialists in Physical Education, Music, Art, Spanish and Computer.  A new STEM program - Gateway to Technology - was added in the school year 2010-2011 for grades 5th through 8th.  Technology needs are changing rapidly and the school is currently in the middle of a project to upgrade the Computer and Phone network infrastructure and to add a managed wireless system to the campus.  In addition, the Christian Formation program has over 700 students every year including about 200 children who receive either Communion/Reconciliation or Confirmation yearly.

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 as well as instructional rooms. 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.