St. Patrick Parish was truly a pioneer parish, with the
first Mass offered in 1842 in what now is the Town of Erin. Mass was said at the home of
William McGrath by Father Martin Kundig six years before Wisconsin gained statehood.
Father Kundig also established St. John's of Monches and St. Benedict of Lake Five, now
known as St. Columba's. In 1847 a six-acre parcel of land was acquired and recognized as
Erin, Wisconsin with half of this acreage designated a burial ground. The first burial
recorded at St. Patrick's was Michael Breshlien in 1850.
The Irish settlers attended Mass at St. John's until
1852 when they started construction of their own church in what was then known as
"Thompson's Post Office". St. Patrick was established as a parish in 1855 by
Father Kundig who as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee came periodically to
celebrate Sunday Mass and to baptize children. The first child baptized at St. Patrick
Parish was Thomas Foley, son of Manion and Anne Foley on October 9, 1855
Monches pastors who served St. Patrick Parish were
Father Thomas Morrissy, 1845-1850; Father Patrick Callahan, 1851; Father William O'Brien
and Father P. Kernan, 1852; and in 1853 Father Hobbs became the first resident pastor of
St. Patrick Parish and lived in a log house near the church.
In 1856 Father Hobbs left and St. Patrick's reverted to
a mission of St. John's and was served by Father Francis McGown followed by Father John
Tiernan. The large frame church as it now exists was completed in 1857 and still has its
original structure underneath. The Ladies Altar Society, which still thrives today, was
established on June 1, 1868 and was formed to provide the necessary articles for divine
service and adorn the House of God. Also in that year, St. Patrick's along with St. Mary,
Help of Christians, became missions to St. Kilian's of Hartford. In 1873 the two side
wings were added to St. Patrick Church, and on October 31, 1895 the 12 stained glass
windows arrived. The articles of Incorporation for St. Patrick's church are dated November
24, 1899. Bishop Henni acquired four different pieces of land that Archbishop Katzer
deeded to St. Patrick's. In 1906 the Carmelite Fathers took over at Holy Hill and also
assumed responsibility for St. Patrick Parish. This arrangement lasted until Father Frank
Kelly was appointed pastor at St. Patrick's on March 20, 1922. The rectory was built in
1923 and parish priests lived there until 1928. At that time the Carmelite Fathers again
assumed responsibility for St. Patrick's until 1941.
In 1941 St. Patrick was again made a mission to St.
Kilian's and was served by assistants to St. Kilian's or chaplains of St. Joseph's
Hospital in Hartford. In 1959, five and a half acres were acquired east of the church for
additional cemetery space. In 1971, Father Oliver Zinnen was appointed pastor in
residence. Upon the death of Father Zinnen in 1973, Father Warren Abrahamson was appointed
administrator. Upon his retirement in June of 1978, Father Aloysius Ahler was appointed
pastor in residence. On October 5, 1980, all parishioners and friends of St. Patrick
Parish celebrated and gave thanks for 125 years of blessings and prosperity. Father Ahler
celebrated his last Mass at St. Patrick's on January 8, 1984. He resigned, due to illness,
and he died on March 10, 1984. The priests at Holy Hill again served St; Patrick's until
May of 1984 when Father John Rausch arrived and served until September of 1993. Father
Vincent Holubowicz became pastor on September 30, 1993 and served until June of 1996. On
June 15, 1996 Father Walter Vogel arrived and served St. Patrick Parish until June 15,
1999 when St. Patrick's was merged with St. Kilian's of Hartford and ceased to exist as a
This record is more than just a history of St.
Patrick's parish. It is a testimonial to almost 150 years of love, dedication, service and
devotion to God beginning with the early Irish immigrants. This tradition was handed down
to their Irish descendents and then came to include many good Christians of other
nationalities who were gathered into the fold along the way. With God's help and the help
of others like you, St. Patrick Parish is confident they will celebrate their 150th
Anniversary in 2005.