To seek Christ, Know Christ and Become Christ, each one for the sake of all
Mission and History
Our parish values any items
that provide a history of God's work here at St. Dominic. Our church has been,
and is, a place celebrating the most important moments in our lives. We are
committed to recording and archiving the history of our parish's dedication to
serving the community. To donate, contact the Parish Center at
262.781.3480. We will gratefully accept your items for preservation.
To seek Christ, know Christ and become Christ, each one for the
sake of all by:
Actively participating in the Liturgy of the Word and the
Eucharist, and the Sacraments
Extending ourselves in hospitality, lifelong faith formation
Serving human concerns of persons within and outside our
Sharing in stewardship with our time, talent and treasure
Offering lifetime opportunities for lifelong faith formation and
In 2006, our Jubilee year, a full year of events honoring the
past, celebrating our present and envisioning our future, unfolded. Sixty-three charter members were honored at a special Mass and celebration.
Several of the charter members were interviewed and their testimony has become a
part of our historical records. View their testimonies...
The Mission Years: 1842 - 1956
In 1842, Irish Catholics in the Townships of Brookfield and
Menomonee first gathered at small log cabins on the Brogan farm in Templeton
(now Lannon) and the Clarey farm on west Capitol Drive in Brookfield to
celebrate the Eucharist. In that same year, Reverend Martin Kundig, among the
first missionary priests to Milwaukee, identified St. Dominic as a 20 family
enclave in the Town of Marcy. From these humble gatherings, St. Dominic
was founded as a pioneering mission of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
in Milwaukee. The original lannon-stone church building, dedicated to St.
Dominic was located on a site at West Lisbon and Marcy Roads in what was then
the Town of Marcy. At about the same time, a small stone church was built
in Lannon and dedicated to St. James. It is arguable which church was
built first, but it is indisputable that the congregations sprung up from the
The original lannon-stone church was a small frame
building seating about 200 worshipers and was affectionately known by
the locals and the Church members as the "Marcy Church." Some
records indicate that this was the first Catholic Church in Waukesha
From 1866 until before World War II, the Brookfield area
remained stable, involved primarily in dairy farming - just far enough
away from metropolitan Milwaukee to maintain its rural flavor. Every summer people came from all over the Wisconsin and Illinois
metropolitan areas to enjoy Waukesha County's famous "curative waters"
through one of the health spas or resort hotels. Since the
population was such that St. Dominic was held to its mission status, the
care of the mission community was transferred twice during the early
years, from St. John's Cathedral to St. James in Lannon and then to St.
Agnes in Butler.
After World War II, a steady migration of people moved
from the City of Milwaukee to the suburbs of Brookfield, Menomonee Falls
and Pewaukee. The little community at the "Marcy Church" was
feeling the changes in the neighborhood and so the church appealed to
the Archdiocese to be made a parish in its own right.
Brogan's Log Cabin
Site of first Catholic Mass in Waukesha Country
Marcy Church Interior
The Parish's First Twenty Five Years: 1956-1981
Archbishop Albert G. Meyer granted their request and
established St. Dominic as a parish on June 26, 1956 to serve Catholics
in the Brookfield and Menomonee Falls areas. The Archbishop names
the Reverend Edward M. Grohall as the parish's first pastor. The
new parish boundaries were set by the Archdiocese: Silver Spring
Drive to the north, Burleigh Road on the south, Pilgrim Road to the East
and Barker Road on the west.
The fledgling community purchased the William J. Leonard farm and
the adjacent property on West Capitol Drive and the current Imperial
Drive. The congregation which, at the
time, included 150 families, met on October 16, 1956 at the Schroeder
Hotel to being the process of building their new home. As the land
was prepared for construction, the barn and the other structures were
burned jointly by the fire and civil defense departments of the City of
It was a time of rejoicing when on July 27, 1958, 150 parishioners
gathered to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for our first
Church and a new school. After more than a year under
construction, the cornerstones were set in place in a ceremony on August
18, 1959 by Reverend Monsignor Edmund Goebel, director of schools for
the Archdiocese at the time. Designed as a contemporary
ranch-style structure with an interior of block and redwood, the new
church, seating 550, was built with future expansion in mind. On
November 8, 1959, Archbishop William E. Cousins celebrated Mass to
dedicate the new Church.
In June of 1959, St. Dominic Parish purchased the property at 3935
Mountain Drive to be used as a site for its new convent. On
November 8th of that year a parish-wide dedication ceremony celebrated
its completion. The highlight of the building was its basement
chapel. Its interior was designed and built by a former
parishioner who uniquely utilized the pews from the original St. Dominic
mission (the "Marcy Church"). The chapel included a splendid
altar, European imported tabernacle and candlesticks, and a statue of
Christ which was personally delivered by Father Grohall.
The parish was by now a growing community bound in common cause by
its obligation to Church and community. Brookfield and neighboring
vicinities were bustling with added population, new businesses, housing
developments and light industry. The first parish program to feel
the pressure from this rapid community expansion was St. Dominic grade
school. The school had opened in 1959 with eight grades, eight
classrooms, a library and 259 pupils. The parish had grown to 600
families. By 1961 the school was so crowded that it had become
necessary to hold two separated daily class sessions with the grades
coming in different shifts from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Due to
the desperate need for additional classrooms, offices and educational
space, a split-level north-south wing was added to the school in 1961.
On May 20, 1962, Archbishop Cousins dedicated this new school wing
and officiated at the Confirmation of 175 students the same day. A
year later, the enrollment had risen to 577 students in the day school.
Plans to build a new rectory and administration building were not
financially feasible until 1965. Built at a cost of $125,000 and
completed in 1966 the rectory/administration building contained bedroom
study suites, accommodating parish priests, guest rooms for visiting
clergy, offices, living quarters for priests and a housekeeper,
downstairs meeting rooms and a four-car garage.
During this time the church was going through much change.
Vatican II decreed to bring the Church closer to the faithful and to
give lay people more responsibility in liturgical roles such as Lectors
and Ministers of the Eucharist, finances and governance. A
significant part of the lay-involved parish governance was set in motion
in 1971 when Father Grohall organized our first Parish Council. The council would work hand in hand with the pastor in planning,
investigating, evaluating, accounting for and coordinating various
parish endeavors, functions, organizations, committees and projects
whose aims were spiritual, educational, formational and moral.
Toward the end of the decade the fruits of these labors began to be
harvested and, as a result, in anticipation of a rise in membership, a
long look into the future was taken. At the center of this a
grander and more magnificent place of worship for St. Dominic
parishioners was envisioned. Hopes for the future new construction were given added support when,
on August 8, 1978, the parish was able to celebrate with a "mortgage
burning" ceremony signifying liquidation of the mortgage on the original
building and four prior expansions. The parish was debt free.
The rise from a mission to a full-fledged parish had been phenomenal. As we approached the eighties we had more than enough to be thankful
for: a paid-for church complex, a unified and active congregation,
continuing growth, and plans for a bigger and better tomorrow.
The idea for the new Church had been brewing for the entire life of
the parish. When the first church was built, it was deemed
temporary. So much had to be done and to be built - the school,
the convent and the rectory - and yet the parish had to keep functioning
on a daily basis. That took time and, most of all, money.
This left the parish free to commence plans for a permanent Church
building, plans for which, by the end of the seventies, were well
underway. On May 6, 1979, a campaign to raise one million dollars
for the construction of a new Church and a permanent gymnasium were
begun with a simple motto: "Equal Sacrifice - not Equal Gifts".
With the beginning of the eighties and the parish in better financial
condition than it had been in years, it was decided that the time was
right and that a new Church was needed and, therefore, should be planned
as soon as possible.
Construction began after a groundbreaking ceremony.
The octagonal structure, composed of lannon-stone, is a
completely air-conditioned building, seating 750. It houses a chapel,
children's room and full basement. The copper roof donated by John B.
Pegg was designed by Rugg & Knopp.
The altar is of green Verissorie marble, as is the pulpit. The Eucharistic altar is of
Travertine marble. The tabernacle in the main Church is a silver
cloisonn� from Belgium. A mosaic reredos of the
Risen Christ faces the main altar and was designed by Conrad Schmitt and
executed in Spilbergo, Italy.
Stained glass windows surrounding the narthex
feature European and American Saints. One panel, at the entrance
to the Church, features our Patron St. Dominic, receiving the Rosary
from Our Lady. The leptat panels in the Chapel symbolize the
Eucharist with grapes and wheat.
It is a gloriously beautiful Church for St
.Dominic Parish and we may be duly proud of what it represents. In
it is housed the warm Christian family whose contributions, efforts and
generosities made it all possible.
In 1981, the parish celebrated its Silver Jubilee
with a High Mass. Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, Reverend George
M. Retbattzki and Reverend Grohall officiated. The celebration was
followed by a brunch in the Church Hall.
The Second Twenty Five Years: 1981-2006
As the first twenty five years of the parish ended, most
of the planned construction had now been completed under the direction
of Father Grohall. What had been envisioned in 1956 by a humble
group of one hundred fifty families had now been realized. It was
also the year our spiritual leader to that point retired.
In December 4, 1983, Bishop Richard Skilba presented Father Vince Silvestri
to the community as the second pastor at St. Dominic Parish.
After much consultation and after careful
structural analysis, the parish council determined in August 1986 that
the old Marcy Church was in such ill repair that it had to be demolished
for safety reasons.
Cemetery still remains at the site. One of the oldest Waukesha
County buildings and arguably one of the oldest Catholic structures fell
to demolition equipment. However, one of its predecessor
buildings, the 1842 Brogan log cabin Church remains in Menomonee Falls
at the Old Falls Village.
In 1989, Father Grohall died leaving two gifts to the parish: the
first was seed money for the endowment fund for the purpose of educating
any parishioner in the growth of their faith; the second donation was
used for the construction of the bell tower.
Many changes were
occurring within the church, but most notably the first signs of an
impending priest shortage were becoming evident. A call for
permanent Deacons and other lay ministries to supplement the pastoral
demands of a growing parish were evident as only two priests now served
the parish. As the formal training of lay ministers was
increasing, pastors, in collaboration with the laity, were challenged to
place in writing a mission statement that would clearly define the
purpose of the Church within the community.
The Church continued to change with the times, as
priests were allowed, under a new "alternative residency policy for
priests", to live away from their parishes. In August, 1991,
Father Silvestri became the first priest associated with the parish to
exercise that option.
The community had grown in excess of 1,300 families and the school
and lifelong faith formation programs were at full capacity.
On December 3,
1992, while presiding at First Reconciliation, Father Silvestri suffered
a massive stroke and never returned to active ministry. Father
Brian Sysko became the pastor pro term until he was permanently replaced
on July 1, 1993 by Father Curt Frederick as the third pastor in parish
history. Father Brian became the associate pastor and together
they shepherded a parish of 1,450 families.
parish community continued to grow as new subdivisions were created in
Brookfield, Menomonee Falls and Pewaukee. Parish finances had not
kept pace with this growth and so, after consultation with the Parish
Council, Father Curt Frederick initiated a one million dollar fund
drive: "Share in Blessings - Grow in Faith" in June of 1995. The
objective was to retire parish debt, create a gathering space -The Marcy
Center, and create a formal Parish Office Center. as a result of
the generous contributions of the parishioners, the school was able to
offer K-4, K-5 and day care on a permanent basis.
In March of 1996, the parish mission statement was introduced to the
"To Seek Christ, Know Christ,
and Become Christ, each one for the sake of all."
The pastoral demands of the still expanding parish accompanied by the
impending priest shortage required an expansion of the parish staff to
assist in the areas of finance, adult and family formation and
bereavement ministries. This came at a cost as certain structural
problems were now appearing and there were no funds available to make
the necessary corrections. Father Curt asked the parish for
assistance in a $1.4 million fund drive to repave the parking lots and
replace the HVAC units under the banner of "Fashioning our Future -
Stone by Stone".
The fund drive generated in excess of $1.7 million and carried with
it a firm and absolute promise that the monies raised were not to be
used for operating needs nor any purpose not originally planned without
consultation with the parish. At the same time, new creative ideas
were implemented to raise funds for other operating needs not supported
The parish was approaching 1,900 families, was debt free again and
lay pastoral ministers were handling of the spiritual needs of the
parish. Archbishop Timothy Dolan announced that he had chosen
Father Curt to become the Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese of
On June 22, 2004, Father David Reith was appointed as the fourth
pastor of the parish. The population growth of the area had slowed
as land had become scarce and more costly and the parish now consisted
of 1,968 families. At the same time, national demographics had
changed as many people married later in life, had fewer children and
were far more mobile than previous generations. Naturally, the
parish began to feel the impact.
In 2006, the Jubilee year, a full year of events honoring the past,
celebrating our present and envisioning our future, unfolded.
Sixty-three charter members were honored at a special Mass and
celebration. Archbishop Dolan, as well as current and former
priests, celebrated a Jubilee Mass in June with 1,300 parishioners.
Some parishioners participated in a local pilgrimage to the roots of our
parish. A pilgrimage to Rome was made, including a trip to the
Tomb of St. Dominic in Bologna.
The Third Twenty Five Years: 2006-2031
Although this next chapter of the parish is
yet to be completed, the era began on August 8, 2006 when the first phase
of the St. Dominic Prayer Gardens was
opened with a special blessing by Auxiliary Bishop Richard M. Skilba and
an Italian bronze statue of St. Dominic was dedicated. As the seeds of
the gardens continue to grow, this will become a quiet place to reflect
on all that God has provided to the parish, the community and to each of
us as we "Seek Christ, Know Christ, and Become Christ, each one for the
sake of all."
The Master Plan for Capitol Improvements which grew from the vision
process as part of the parish Jubilee was approved by Parish Council.
Monies remaining from the Fashioning our Future - Stone by Stone
Campaign were added to by funds raised through the Archdiocesan Faith in our Future
Campaign, Dominic Days and Auction events the parish set their sites on building
community through the renovation of the current Church, constructing a
new Athletic Facility and transforming the current gym into a dedicated
Arts & Activities Center.
The construction of the Athletic Facility and Arts & Activities Center
began in earnest in the spring of 2011. Heavy rains slowed the project
in the early months and pushed the hoped for completion date into
September 2011. A
new knight logo was developed alongside the construction process and
graces center court in the new athletic facility. Newly elected Bishop
Hying celebrated the dedication and blessing of the facilities on
October 29 and 30, 2011.