Home » News » Loving Your Neighbor: St. Michael and St. Rose of Lima Parishes in Milwaukee

Loving Your Neighbor: St. Michael and St. Rose of Lima Parishes in Milwaukee

Saint Francis Borgia will be focusing on our twinning relationship with Saint Michael and Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Parishes this Lent. These two parishes are located in the heart of the City of Milwaukee. As part of our Lenten focus on “Love your Neighbor”, we are inviting parishioners to participate in several opportunities at St. Michael and St. Rose of Lima.

St. Rose of Lima Parish was founded by Irish immigrants who originated from Canada and from the Eastern States in 1888. A year earlier, in 1887, Archbishop Michael Heiss entrusted the Rev. Patrick H. Durnin with the formation of the parish. Fr. Patrick Durnin had been appointed pastor of St. Francis Borgia Parish in Cedarburg eight months after his ordination in 1880. He celebrated the first Mass at Saint Rose of Lima on February 19, 1888. We have great ties to our neighbor church, St. Rose. Throughout its history, Saint Rose of Lima has been the spiritual home of Irish, African Americans, Puerto Rican, Mexicans and, since fall 2021, a faith home for French-speaking Catholics from Africa and other latitudes. St. Rose of Lima offers Masses in English, Spanish and French.

St. Michael Parish was founded as a Catholic congregation in 1892 and has always been a welcoming place where immigrants and refugees could find a spiritual home. Originally founded by German immigrants, the parish also received displaced German-speaking persons from Eastern Europe after World War II. In the 1980s, they welcomed new demographics, Southeast Asian Immigrants (both Lao and Hmong), Latinos from the Caribbean and all the Americas. In the last seven years, they have opened their doors to the most recent immigrants from Myanmar (formerly Burma), who have arrived in Milwaukee after being forced to leave their country after a war that lasted decades. Currently, St. Michael Parish offers Masses in English, Hmong, Karen, Karenni, Lao and Spanish.

Today, St. Michael Parish is challenged to continue keeping its faith communities active and growing, offering their parishioners safe and well-maintained worshiping spaces. St. Michael Parish inherited a beautiful church from its founders and that building requires significant investment. Currently, the impressive bell tower needs tuckpointing, repositioning of loosed massive brick stones, cleaning of the interior and repairing veneer windows. The northern section of the church needs a new roof and the historical parish rectory building needs new windows to remedy significant energy waste. St. Francis Borgia Parish has set a goal of raising $70,000 for these needs, about a third of the total cost needed to make these repairs. We will be communicating different events throughout Lent that you can participate in and assist in helping achieve our goal of serving those less fortunate than ourselves.

St. Michael and St. Rose of Lima Parish have served immigrant populations for over 130 years. These parishes have truly done the work of the Holy Spirit throughout this time. The parishioners at these two parishes use their experience as refugees to help fulfill the mission of the Catholic Church to “welcome the stranger” (Deuteronomy 10:19). We will be communicating different events throughout Lent that you can participate in and assist in helping achieve our goal of serving those less fortunate than ourselves. This Lent, our main focus will be to financially assist St. Michael’s roof repairs and window repairs. Parishioners of St. Francis Borgia are invited to Mass at St. Michael on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at 9 a.m. After Mass there will be a gathering for parishioners to learn more about St. Michael and St. Rose parishes.