Parish History

"Where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them."

 

These words of Christ may have been in the mind of Stanislaus Bona, Bishop of the Green Bay Diocese, when he announced the establishment of St. Pius X Parish on September 4, 1957. Conditions at the neighboring St. Therese parish were very crowded: consequently 400 families, comprising of almost 1,600 people from the northwest section of Appleton, transferred to the new Parish under the leadership of Fr. Richard Keller (1957 - 1968). An organization meeting was held in the St. Therese Parish hall on September 1957, at which time Parish officers and Church organization officers were elected.

Operating a new Parish was not easy. Fr. Keller set up an office in his garage and said daily Mass in the basement of a temporary rectory. In November 1957, Sunday Mass was held at Valley Funeral Home.

Masses were held there until December 21, 1958, when the new building opened. The facility consisted of twelve classrooms, offices, a cafeteria and a temporary Church designed for six future classrooms. The brick and stone building occupied a ten-acre site, allowing room for future expansion. The school was staffed by the Franciscan Sisters from Holy Family Convent in Manitowoc. The school rapidly expanded and was soon overcrowded. With an enrollment of approximately 800, an additional eight classrooms were built in 1964.

In the intervening years, Fr. Thomas Mortell (1968-74), Fr. John Neuser (1974-76) and Fr. Dave Barret (1976-80) served as Pastors. In 1982, Fr. Ronald Columbo (1980-1990) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Parish. St. Pius X had grown to 1,100 families!

At the annual meeting in 1985 the original mortgage was burned. At the same meeting a discussion of long deferred maintenance items turned into a discussion of a new Church. Following a two-year building campaign begun in 1987, a major renovation of the Parish and school offices and reconstruction of a new worship space were begun. The project was completed in December of 1988 and was dedicated in 1989. Msgr. Robert Gulig served as Pastor from 1990-1991. Fr. David Schmidt was named Pastor in 1991. Fr. Donald Zuleger was appointed Pastor and served until June 2005, when Fr. Thomas Farrell was appointed Pastor of the Parish by Bishop David Zubik, Bishop of Green Bay.

The history of St. Pius X continues to unfold. In his 9th year as Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, Bishop David Ricken appointed Fr. James Jugenheimer, as the new Pastor of the Parish with Associate Pastor, Fr. Adam Bradley, joining the Parish shortly after. St. Pius X remains a Parish of vision, prayer, faith, and action and a vital part of the Appleton community since its founding in 1957. The Parish is fortunate to have some of its founding members still active in its life today. From its beginning of 400 families, St. Pius X Parish has grown to be a community of more than 2,100 families. A rich diversity of programs and opportunities continue to invite growth and make St. Pius X a family that reflects the presence of Christ in word and in action.