Parish History

Saint Margaret Mary Parish was founded in January 1954 at 2448 S. Washington. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the present church on South Pattie were held June 11th 1954. The cornerstone was blessed on October 16th, the Feast of Saint Margaret Mary. The First Mass was celebrated on Christmas Eve that same year. The Church, Community Room, kitchen, and eight classrooms were dedicated in April 1955 by Bishop Mark K. Carroll.

School enrollment the first year 1955 was 378.  An additional wing was constructed in 1957 adding four classrooms, a library, teachers' conference room, and additional restrooms.  Enrollment rose to a peak of 525 students.  In the mid 1960s the Community Room was expanded to accommodate more persons, add a storage room, and enlarge the kitchen.

1992: The rectory at 1201 Denker was sold along with two lots between it and the existing convent (originally built and owned by the Pinaire family).  This money was used to remodel the nave, sanctuary and ceiling.  The sanctuary given greater depth by expansion toward the south. Sacristy behind sanctuary lost some area. This was remedied by remodeling storage room in main vestibule of parish/school to be main operating sacristy.  Teal carpet used in sanctuary to match the new pews, which had cushions.  The new ceiling dropped to accommodate heating and air ducts.  In the late 1990s teal ceramic tile replaced all carpet in nave of church and vestibule.

2011:  Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe donated by Cruz and Celia Navarrete.  This was framed and placed in sanctuary.

2012:  Two oil paintings of angels were obtained by Fr. Weldon and placed on each side of tabernacle.  Matt Shibley constructed wood panels for each of the 14 Stations.

2014:  Carpet removed from sanctuary and replaced with white tile polished and non polished.  All old sanctuary furniture replaced with new furniture.  New pulpit, altar, 2 credence tables, presider’s chair and 2 servers chair constructed out of oak and built by Matthew Shibley for parish.  New altar has six new candlesticks and pulpit has two new candlesticks. George McAdams created upholstery for chairs.  Maggie Dreiling assisted with rewiring pulpit for sound system.  Pat Leivian made new altar cloth.

Immigrants bring growth to the parish

Hispanics and Vietnamese have been present in the community for over 40 years.  The numbers of Hispanic immigrants grew rapidly in the late 1990s, and Bishop Gerber asked pastor Fr. Dwight Birket, a native son of the parish, to start a Mass in Spanish in 1999.

The Vietnamese and Southeast Asia community have been a stable presence in the parish for greater since the mid 1970s.  In 2000, Fr. Scott Nguyen became the pastor.  The numbers of immigrants has rapidly grown since 1999.  As of Christmas 2014, the parish is about 65% Hispanic, 20% Vietnamese, and 20% born in the United States of multi generations .  These numbers are reflected in the school, which is a K-8 school and has 190 students not including Pre-K.

TORNADO:  May 3, 1999 the Parish sustained severe roof damage.  Many homes in the neighborhood were damaged or destroyed, to include many homes of parishioners.  A parish wide effort cleaned up after the tornado.  People, young and old, cleaned debris and trash around the parish buildings and in the ball fields and playgrounds, some that had blown in from miles away because of the tornado.


Pastors of St. Margaret Mary:

1954   Fr. Robert Blanpied
1963   Msgr vincent Hogan
1967   Fr. Edward Steinberger
1970   Fr. Ivan Eck
1981   Fr. James Hoagland
1984   Fr. Leo Kerschen
1987   Fr. Charles O'Connor
1993   Fr. Dwight Birket
2000   Fr. Scott Nguyen
2003   Fr. Richard Stuchlik
2010   Fr. Eric M. Weldon