Parish History

St. Charles       1906 - 1960

 St. Charles was founded in 1906 when a group of Hartland area Catholics, under the direction of Fr. Charles Keyser, planned a church at the crest of the village hill, on land purchased in 1863 by some unnamed persons for a Catholic church.  Construction began in 1906 with most of the work done by parishioners, and was completed in 1908.  St. Charles remained a mission to St. Mary's until 1916 when Archbishop Messmer established St. Clare in North Lake and appointed Fr. Leo Scheuerell pastor.  That directed St. Charles become a mission of St. Clare.

 In 1917, Fr. Louis Zirbes became pastor of both parishes and remained so until 1950.  Under his direction many improvements were made to the church building, including installation of electrical lighting, central heating, and water and sewer systems.  The parish also expanded its Sunday Mass schedule, offering parishioners four Masses instead of just one.  It became apparent that further expansion would soon be needed.

 In 1950, Fr. Francis McGarry became resident pastor and the longtime desire of people of St. Charles became a reality.  Almost immediately, the various organizations of the parish began planning for a new church and school.  Land was purchased in a new Hartland subdivision, a fund drive was organized and the new church and school were completed to celebrate the golden anniversary of the parish in 1957.  The school opened in 1959, staffed by Sisters of the Precious Blood.

 St. Charles      1960 - 1990

Early 1960 saw the appointment of Fr. John Cullen, who remained as pastor until 1964 when Fr. Felix Taterczynski became the third resident pastor of St. Charles.  Under his direction, the school was expanded to include all eight grades.  During these years, English replaced Latin as the language of the Mass, the sanctuary was remodeled and the altar turned to allow the priest to face the people.

 Fr. Robert Graves became pastor in 1970 and with him came the many changes that were implemented in the Catholic church as a result of Vatican II.  The laity became more active in the celebration of the Mass assisting with the distribution of Communion and the proclamation of the Liturgy of the Word.  The 70's saw the school faculty change to an all lay staff led by a lay principal and school board, the establishment of the Parish Council, and the expansion of the religious education programs.  In 1980, the mortgage was burned.  The parish celebrated its diamond jubilee in 1982 by blessing and dedicating the bell and name plate from the original church on the hill in a special ceremony, at which old time members and past priests were honored.

 Fr. Michael Grellinger became pastor in 1985, at a time when St. Charles was growing rapidly.  Soon the facilities would need to be enlarged to accomodate the high influx of people and the many new religious programs for children, teenagers and adults.

 St. Charles   1990 - 1998

With growth came the necessity for more space.  In the early 1990's, plans to expand the church and other areas of the complex were explored.  Plans were presented by the architect for a new sanctuary and office space.  The successful fund drive in 1990 meant that construction could begin on the building we see here today.  On a snowy Sunday in February in 1993, the new church was dedicated and blessed by the Most Reverend Richard Sklba, Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee. A few years later, in 1996, the Archbishop appointed Fr. Tom Demse pastor of St. Charles.