Holy Spirit Catholic Church
Menominee MI 49858
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
1016 10th Avenue
Menominee MI 49858
HISTORY OF HOLY SPIRIT CHURCH
(Formerly Epiphany Church/School)
Compiled by Larry Ebsch
April 5, 2005
The Church of the Epiphany (forerunner of Holy Spirit Church) was a branch of the original St. John the Baptist Church.
St. John’s (Irish) was the first Catholic parish in Menominee (1872).
St. Ann’s (Canadian French) was the first to break from St. John’s (1886). Epiphany (German descent) was the second to withdraw from the Mother Church (1890). St. Adalbert’s (Polish immigrants) was the third to withdraw from St. John’s, making its break in 1890 shortly after Epiphany’s withdrawal.
The present church property located at 10th Avenue (old Ogden Avenue) and 10th Street (old Jenkins Street) was purchased from the Sisters of St. Agnes based in Fond du Lac, WI for the sum of $6,000.
The foundation for the church was laid in 1891 and the church was dedicated on November 13, 1892, with Bishop John Vertin officiating. Gokeche Brothers was the general contractor; E.P. Spaulding did the carpentry work; and a gentleman named Bang did the mason work. The construction costs of the church totaled out at $35,000.
The Rev. Sebastian Maier arrived as pastor at Epiphany in April 1938. One of his first moves was to install a basement in the church. Planks covered a sand floor until the basement upgrade. The older boys from Epiphany School (Grades 1-8) were recruited to shovel sand from the basement into wheelbarrows and the men of the parish then wheeled the sand on plank runways up a steep slope to dump trucks outside waiting to haul the sand away. The biggest challenge for the young shovelers came under the altar area of the church where the basement kitchen now is located. The digging and shoveling by hand was done in darkness. Only an extension light guided the men handling the wheelbarrows on the loose planking.
The Rev. Melchoir Faust, pastor at St. John’s for three years, was appointed the first pastor at Epiphany and had the responsibility of building a new congregation.
The main altar of the church (still existing in 2005) was donated by Xavier Allgeyer, a member of the parish.
St. John’s had the first Catholic grade school in Menominee (1878 with 75 students). Other congregations opened their own schools after breaking away from St. John’s Church. Epiphany purchased land adjacent to its new church and added a school. The initial four-room building was remodeled in 1902. The brick structure now fronting 10th Street on the north side of the church opened in 1922. The Sisters of St. Agnes, Fond du Lac, WI taught the school children for more than a half century. A shortage of teaching nuns forced the school to close. Epiphany, St. John’s, and St. Ann’s merged their school systems into Menominee Catholic Central in 1964. St. William’s School later follows in the merger.
SUMMARY OF HOLY SPIRIT CHURCH
Holy Spirit was formed July 13, 1972 as a part of a sweeping reorganization of Catholic parishes in Menominee.
Closed were Epiphany, St. Ann’s and St. John’s. Parishioners from the three parishes formed Holy Spirit. The Rev. Patrick Wisneske was the first pastor. The Rev. Guy Thoren was his first assistant. (Holy Trinity Church in Birch Creek and St. Mary’s Mission in Sobieski became Holy Redeemer in Birch Creek. St. Adalbert Church and St. William’s Church became Resurrection.) The sweeping changes were ordered by Bishop Charles A. Salatka.
The Menominee Catholic Area Planning Commission, which included representatives of all six parishes and one mission, studied the church issue from 1970 until 1972 when it submitted its findings and recommendations to Bishop Salatka. The Bishop approved approximately 98 percent of the Commission’s recommendations.
The combined Catholic Community had a debt of $450,000 at the time the recommendations were submitted. School operating costs were a major factor in the debt amassment. The Commission projected the debt to be retired in 10 years after the 1972 changes. The debt was retired in five years due to prudent sale of church property and equipment.
Since the 1972 merger, Holy Spirit underwent a major remodeling project at a cost of more than $200,000, built a new office/conference area facility; added air conditioning in 2004 and made other significant improvements to the physical plant.
Father Wisneske retired in July 2004 after 32 years. He was succeeded by Rev. Ron Skufca as pastor and the Rev. Augustin George as associate pastor. Our current Pastor is Rev. Fr. Mark McQuesten with our associate Pastor Rev. Fr. Mike Chenier.
NOTE: Interested persons may obtain additional details from church records and from Catholic Diocese at Marquette. The history of Epiphany/Holy Spirit is steeped in tradition.
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