Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church History
The history of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish begins with John J. Hof. Hof sold land, mainly to Polish immigrants from 1877 through the early 1900's. In the beginning, the faithful walked eight miles to Hofa Park where a Polish center thrived since 1877. A priest came from Seymour once a month to minister to the people.
The Pulaski area people who were Catholic, approximately 35 families, began to gather funds and materials in order to build their own church. Mr. Hof offered his land office in Pulaski as a temporary chapel. From time to time, a priest from Seymour or Menasha would celebrate Mass in Pulaski.
In 1877 Mr. Hof donated 120 acres of land to the Polish Franciscan Friars. A Franciscan brother, Augustine Zeytz, and area settlers began clearing this land. A monastery was finished in September of 1888.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Pulaski, Wisconsin was canonically established on April 27, 1887. In fall of 1888, a wooden church was built and roofed over for the use of the parish, which now numbered about 100 families. Franciscan Fr. Erazem Sobocinski became the first resident pastor. The church construction was completed in 1892.
In 1893 a temporary frame building was constructed for a school. By 1895, the parish numbered 256 families. The Sister's home was completed in 1899. In 1901 a stone and brick four classroom school was built. The school had a full basement and a hall on its second floor.
The parish was growing and soon the existing church building was too small. It was also in need of repairs. In 1906 the Franciscans transferred twenty acres of land to the parish, and in September of 1907 work began on the foundation of a new church. This new building was partially completed in the spring of 1908. The people of the parish dismantled the old church and put a roof over the new basement.
On June 3, 1923, work began anew, with the removal of the temporary roof. The walls and foundations were raised. The existing walls were not sturdy enough to support the new structure. New walls began to rise in their place. Much of the labor was donated by the parishioners. They hauled the gravel and sand with their own teams of horses and used their own tools and equipment. While construction was in progress, the hall in the school was used for church functions.
Construction on the church came to a temporary halt at the end of 1924. Much the same as they did in 1908, workers put a temporary roof on the upper, unused church. It remained that way for several years.
Finally, the church building, including a side chapel for use by the Franciscans, was completed in September of 1931. The present church building measures 198 feet by 74 feet. The twin towers rise to a height of 135 feet!
A new parish school and convent was completed in the fall of 1957. At this time the parish, which numbered about 700 families, began busing some students with the one bus it owned.
The rectory was built in 1968. At that time the school was filled to capacity. A room was built in the church basement (St. Francis Hall) to accommodate the overflow from the school. That room was later used as one of the first pre-school classrooms in the Pulaski area. Now called the St. Clare Room, that room offers space for a variety of functions, including parish meetings, REaLifE religious education classes, and RCIA sessions.
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