A Brief History
Today, St. Aloysius (1920), Immaculate Heart of Mary (1948) and Mary Queen of Heaven (1958) are part of a tri-parish cluster, the West Allis Catholic Parishes-West. As a cluster, both pastoral staff, Fr. Jeff Prasser (St. Als & IHM) and Fr. Thomas Vathappallil (MQH) and other staff such as the Director of Religious Education, Director of Adult & Family, Parish Secretary and Business Managers are shared. The bulletins were combined in October of 2012 to enable the same bulletin to be used by all 3 parishes.
St. Aloysius History
St. Aloysius Congregation has a long history at the corner of 92nd Street and Greenfield Avenue in West Allis, Wisconsin. The parish was established at this site in November 1920, in two old military barracks which housed both the church and the school. In just a little over 5 years the community had grown so quickly that both buildings became far too small to fit the needs of the congregation. In January 1926 a decision was made to take down the barracks and to build a custom two story brick building on the existing concrete foundation. The new facility would include a church, with seating for up to 700 and a school of 5 classrooms, which was expected to serve 300 parish youth.The 1937 addition increased the available classrooms from 5 to 13, an expansion long needed as the enrollment had exceeded 500 students. As enrollment in the school continued to increase, so did the need for classrooms and just 10 years later, Rev. Winninghoff oversaw the first of many construction projects during his 27 years as Pastor which added more classrooms to the 93rd street side of the building. Over the next 17 years the parish would see construction of new Rectory (1949), Convent (1953), Church (1957) and new Gymnasium and Parish Center (1964).
Currently, the two story brick building still exists. It is the core of the school building which is now home to the only Catholic grade school in West Allis and West Milwaukee. In the fall of 2004 Mary Queen of Saints Catholic Academy began serving the educational needs of our youth from 3k all the way through 8th grade in the building which had been St. Aloysius Grade School for nearly 80 years.
Immaculate Heart of Mary History
On Mary 25, 1948 the Decree of Erection of the Parish was issued. The first church building was a barn on the parish property, and the pastor resided in the original farmhouse. In February, 1954 permission was given for construction of a basement church with plans for a future addition of a school. The church was dedicated on May 8, 1955. In 1993, due to low enrollment, the school was closed and in November 1994 Marian College of Fond du Lac began renting classrooms.
A renovation of the church was necessary due to the changing needs of the parish and new liturgical norms. This was undertaken during 2001. On May 8, 2001, halfway through the church renovation project, a fire struck the parish offices and pastor's residence resulting in 1/2 million dollars damage.. Parish offices were reopened in January of 2002 after considerable repairs and rebuilding.
The first Mass was celebrated in the renovated church facilities on December 2, 2001. Many changes and improvements were made in the church including adding a baptismal font, a gathering area, a bell tower, and a handicapped entrance and elevator providing access to the church and hall. The stained glass window in the Eucharistic Chapel was added in 2004.
Mary Queen of Heaven History
On September 19, 1958, Archbishop Meyer officially established Mary Queen of Heaven Parish. An architect was hired and plans drawn to build a temporary church and 6 classrooms. On June 28, 1959 the cornerstone of the present school was laid. School opened with grades 1-4 in September and the first Mass was celebrated in what is now the gym on October 14, 1959. The new building was dedicated by Archbishop Cousins on June 5, 1960. In 1961 construction started on a convent and a 4 classroom addition to the school. During 1966 it was decided that it was important for the parish to build a permanent church, so on June 25, 1967 ground breaking ceremonies were held for the church, administrative offices and rectory. On May 24, 1968 the altar stone was set in the altar, and on June 17 the cornerstone of the newly constructed church was laid.
Recently, through the generosity of many parishioners, there is now a Eucharistic Chapel on the east side of the church. This allows parishioners to participate in Eucharistic Adoration through the week. Although MQH no longer has a stand-alone grade school, it participates in the consolidated school, Mary Queen of Saints Catholic Academy. We share resources with IHM and St. Aloysius and have also consolidated the Religious Education program, Adult and Family programs, the business office, and the parish and bulletin secretaries.