Church History 1852 to present
The first Mass is believed to have been celebrated by Father Godthart in a little school building once numbered 420 Clark Street. The first St. Stephen Church was completed in 1856, a wooden church, a block west of the present St. Stephen Cemetary on east Clark St. It served the Catholics of Stevens Point and the towns of Hull and Stockton. In the period of 1856-1866, an addition of 18 feet in depth was made to the church. On January 12, 1866, the present site of Clark and Pine Streets was purchased and the deed issued to Bishop Henni of Milwaukee. The new Church at this location was built under the leadership of Father M. Schwebach. This wooden church served the people for 53 years. Under the pastorship of Father James C. Hogan, the cornerstone of the present Church was laid on October 20, 1923. The Church stands as a symbol of faith and hope in the future. The architecture is of English Tudor Gothic. The stained glass windows enhance the beauty of the Church. The marble altars and stained glass windows were the last of the refurbishing of the church done under the pastorate of Rt. Rev. Msgr. John R. McGinley. On the Saturday before Palm Sunday, 1972, a dissastrous fire was extinguished before any appreciable damage was done to the structure. However, the smoke damage was considerable. We are grateful that the Church was not destroyed. Extensive work on the exterior is being done in tuckpointing the stone at the present time.
- from "Designated Pilgrim Church Holy Year Brochure", 1974.
A PIECE OF PARISH HISTORY….
A PIECE OF PARISH HISTORY….
Did you know that in the late 1860’s and early 1870’s, many pastors made requests to the superiors of the School Sisters of Notre Dame for Sisters to come to St. Stephen’s Parish and provide a Catholic education for the children? Rev. Fr. Tanguary, a good and caring pastor, finally succeeded in this endeavor.
On September 2, 1873, one School Sister of Notre Dame with three novices and one candidate arrived in Stevens Point from Milwaukee. Several days later, on September 8, 1873, sixty-eight students (Catholic and Protestant) were welcomed into the new parish school which Fr. Tanguary dedicated to the protection of Our Lady. The enrollment grew daily, and by November 1, there were 180 students with 24 music pupils.
- from the chronicles of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
As the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady approaches on September 8, we give thanks for God’s blessings on our Catholic schools, particularly St. Stephen’s, over the past 137 years. We are also grateful for all those who sacrificed time, talents, and resources to build this parish school in the 1800’s, and others who have continued to support Catholic education in Stevens Point to the present day. Our parishioners can be proud of this piece of St. Stephen’s 158 years’ history.