We are a family of believers who belong to God and to one another. We strive to grow in everyday holiness through prayer, Scripture and the Eucharist, and to live out our faith by being the face and hands of Christ to those we encounter.
To seek Christ, know Christ, and become Christ, each one for the sake of all.
- a vibrant Catholic community of disciples, on fire with our faith in Jesus Christ and His Church.
- faithful to our traditions and open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
- a leader in our Archdiocese.
- forming all His people in prayer, scripture, sacrament and service.
- a parish of humble excellence, giving glory to God in imitation of Mary our Blessed Mother.
Our Patron, St. Dominic de Guzman
Memorial: August 8 - Born: 1170 - Died: August 6, 1221
Canonized: July 13, 1234 by Pope Gregory IX
As with many holy men, St. Dominic’s birth contains a marvelous story. His mother, Blessed Joan of Aza, while carrying St. Dominic, had a dream that a dog leapt from her womb with a torch in its mouth, which she was told, “would set the world on fire.” This story may have “grown legs,” as the Latin word for the Dominican order can be a play of the words; translated as “dog of the Lord.” Today, St. Dominic is always pictured with a dog with a torch in its mouth who sits at the feet of the saint. To add to his special nature, his mother and godmother saw a star appear on his chest at his baptism. This star is pictured above his head on modern renditions. Because of this, St. Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers.
St. Dominic at an early age saw the need for well-educated preachers, who could refute strong heresies that had developed to threaten the Catholic faith. His call to a life of humility, sanctity, and simple living as the foundation for those who would defend the faith, helped secure a new order we know as the Dominicans.
At one point, Dominic became discouraged at the progress of his mission. No matter how much he worked, heresies remained. But he received a vision from Our Lady who showed him a wreath of roses, representing the rosary. She told him to say the rosary daily and teach it to all who would listen then eventually the true Faith would win out. Though Dominic is often credited with the invention of the rosary it actually pre-dates him, but he certainly spread devotion to it and he used it to strengthen his own spiritual life.
Legend says that Dominic received a vision of a beggar who, like Dominic, would do great things for the Faith. Dominic met the beggar the next day. He embraced him and said, "You are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us." The beggar was Saint Francis of Assisi.
Our parish values our history. It has been, and is, a place we celebrate the most important moments in our lives and the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us. We are committed to recording and archiving the history of our parish. To donate photos, videos, or memorabilia, contact the Parish Center at 262.781.3480. We will gratefully accept your items for preservation.
The Mission Years 1842-1956
In 1842, Irish Catholics in the Townships of Brookfield and Menomonee first gathered at small log cabins on the Brogan farm in Templeton (now Lannon) and the Clarey farm on west Capitol Drive in Brookfield to celebrate the Eucharist. In that same year, Reverend Martin Kundig, among the first missionary priests to Milwaukee, identified St. Dominic as a 20 family enclave in the Town of Marcy. From these humble gatherings, St. Dominic was founded as a pioneering mission of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee. The original lannon stone church building, dedicated to St. Dominic was located on a site at West Lisbon and Marcy Roads in what was then the Town of Marcy. At about the same time, a small stone church was built in Lannon and dedicated to St. James. It is arguable which church was built first, but it is indisputable that the congregations sprung up from the same roots.
The original lannon stone church was a small frame building seating about 200 worshipers and was affectionately known by the locals and the Church members as "Marcy Church." Some records indicate that this was the first Catholic Church in Waukesha County.
From 1866 until before World War II, the Brookfield area remained stable, involved primarily in dairy farming, and just far enough away from metropolitan Milwaukee to maintain its rural flavor. Due to the area population, St. Dominic was held to its mission status and the care of the mission community was transferred twice during the early years, from St. John's Cathedral to St. James in Lannon and then to St. Agnes in Butler.
After World War II, a steady migration of people moved from the City of Milwaukee to the suburbs of Brookfield, Menomonee Falls and Pewaukee. The little community at "Marcy Church" was feeling the changes in the neighborhood and so the church appealed to the Archdiocese to be made a parish in its own right.
THe First 25 years: 1956-1981
On June 26, 1956, Archbishop Albert G. Meyer established St. Dominic as a parish to serve Catholics in the Brookfield and Menomonee Falls areas. The Archbishop named Reverend Edward M. Grohall as the first pastor. The parish boundaries were set by the Archdiocese: Silver Spring Drive to the north, Burleigh Road on the south, Pilgrim Road to the East and Barker Road on the west.
The fledgling community purchased the William J. Leonard farm and the adjacent property on West Capitol Drive and the current Imperial Drive. The congregation, which at the time, included 150 families, met on October 16, 1956 at the Schroeder Hotel to begin the process of building their new home. As the land was prepared for construction, the barn and the other structures were burned jointly by the fire and civil defense departments of the City of Brookfield.
It was a time of rejoicing on July 27, 1958, when parishioners gathered to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for our first church and a new school. After more than a year under construction, the cornerstones were set in place in a ceremony on August 18, 1959, by Reverend Monsignor Edmund Goebel, director of schools for the archdiocese at the time. Designed as a contemporary ranch-style structure with an interior of block and redwood, the new church, seating 550, was built with future expansion in mind. On November 8, 1959, Archbishop William E. Cousins celebrated Mass to dedicate the new church.
In June of 1959, the property at 3935 Mountain Drive was purchased to be used as a site for its new convent. On November 8 of that year, a parish-wide dedication ceremony celebrated its completion. The highlight of the building was its basement chapel. Its interior was designed and built by a former parishioner who uniquely utilized the pews from the original St. Dominic "Marcy Church." The chapel included a splendid altar, a European imported tabernacle and candlesticks and a statue of Christ, which was personally delivered by Father Grohall.
The parish was by now a growing community. Brookfield and the neighboring areas were bustling with new homes, new businesses, and light industry. The first parish program to feel the pressure from this rapid expansion was St. Dominic Catholic School. The school had opened in 1959 with 259 pupils, eight grades, eight classrooms, and a library. The parish had grown to 600 families. By 1961 the school was so crowded that it had become necessary to hold two separated daily class sessions with the grades coming in different shifts from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm. Due to the desperate need for additional classrooms, offices, and educational space, a split-level north-south wing was added to the school in 1961.
On May 20, 1962, Archbishop Cousins dedicated this new school wing and officiated at the Confirmation of 175 students the same day. A year later, school enrollment had risen to 577 students.
Plans to build a new rectory and administration building were not financially feasible until 1965. Built at a cost of $125,000 it was completed in 1966. The rectory/administration building contained bedroom study suites for accommodating parish priests, guest rooms for visiting clergy, offices, living quarters for priests and a housekeeper, downstairs meeting rooms, and a four-car garage.
In 1971, Father Grohall organized our first Parish Council.
Toward the end of the decade in anticipation of a rise in membership, a vision for a new church took shape. Hopes for the new construction were given added support when on August 8, 1978 the parish was able to celebrate with a "mortgage burning" ceremony signifying liquidation of the mortgage on the original building and four prior expansions. The parish was debt free.
The idea for the new church had been brewing for the entire life of the parish. When the first church was built, it was deemed temporary. On May 6, 1979, a campaign to raise one million dollars for the construction of the new church and to create a gymnasium was begun with a simple motto: "Equal Sacrifice - not Equal Gifts." Construction began after a groundbreaking ceremony.
The octagonal structure, composed of lannon stone, included air-conditioning, a chapel, a children's quieting room, a full basement, and seating for 750. The copper roof donated by John B. Pegg was designed by Rugg & Knopp.
The altar is of green Verissorie marble as is the pulpit. The Eucharistic altar is of Travertine marble. The tabernacle in the main church is a silver cloisonne from Belgium. A mosaic reredos of the risen Christ faces the main altar and was designed by Conrad Schmitt Studios and executed in Spilbergo, Italy. Stained glass windows surrounding the narthex feature European and American Saints. One panel, at the entrance to the Church, features our Patron, St. Dominic receiving the rosary from Our Lady. The leptat panels in the chapel symbolize the Eucharist with grapes and wheat.
In 1981, the parish celebrated its Silver Jubilee with a High Mass. Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, Reverend George M. Retbattzki, and Reverend Grohall con-celebrated. Our church was made possible through many generous donations of parishioners. it was a labor of love for the community.
The Second 25 Years: 1981-2006
As the first twenty five years of the parish ended, most of the planned construction had been completed under the direction of Father Grohall. What had been envisioned in 1956 by a humble group of 150 families had now been realized. It was also the year Father Grohall retired.
On December 4, 1983, Bishop Richard Skilba presented Father Vince Silvestri to the community as the second pastor at St. Catholic Dominic Parish.
After much consultation and after careful structural analysis, the parish council determined in August 1986 that the old Marcy Church was in such ill repair that it had to be demolished for safety reasons.
The original St. Dominic Cemetery still remains at the site. One of the oldest Waukesha County buildings and arguably one of the oldest Catholic structures fell to demolition equipment. However, one of its predecessor buildings, the 1842 Brogan log cabin church, remains in Menomonee Falls at the Old Falls Village.
In 1989, Father Grohall died leaving two gifts to the parish: seed money for an endowment fund for the purpose of educating any parishioner in faith formation and monies for the construction of the bell tower.
The Church continued to change with the times as priests were allowed under a new "alternative residency policy for priests" to live away from their parishes. In August 1991, Father Silvestri became the first priest associated with the parish to exercise that option.
The community had grown in excess of 1,300 families, and the school and formation programs were at full capacity. On December 3, 1992, while presiding at first reconciliation, Father Silvestri suffered a massive stroke and never returned to active ministry. Father Brian Sysko became the pastor pro tem until Fr. Curt Frederick was installed as third pastor on July 1, 1993. Father Brian became the associate pastor and together they shepherded a parish of 1,450 families.
The parish community continued to grow as new subdivisions were created in Brookfield, Menomonee Falls and Pewaukee. The school began to offer K4, K5 and extended care. After consultation with the Parish Council, Father Curt initiated a one-million-dollar fund drive in June of 1995: "Share in Blessings - Grow in Faith." The goal was to retire parish debt, create a gathering space, now known as the Marcy Center, and create a formal parish office center.
In March of 1996, the parish mission statement was introduced to the parish community: to seek Christ, know Christ, and become Christ, each one for the sake of all.
The pastoral demands of the still expanding parish accompanied by the impending priest shortage required an increase in parish staff to assist in the areas of finance, adult and family formation, and bereavement ministries. This came at the same time as funds were needed to address certain campus structural problems. Father Curt asked the parish for assistance in a $1.4 million fund drive to repave the parking lots and replace the HVAC units under the banner of "Fashioning our Future - Stone by Stone." The fund drive generated in excess of $1.7 million.
The parish was approaching 1,900 families, was again debt free, and lay pastoral ministers were assisting with the spiritual needs of the parish. Archbishop Timothy Dolan announced that he had chosen Father Curt to become the Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Therefore, on June 22, 2004, Father David Reith was appointed as the fourth pastor of the parish. The parish now consisted of 1,968 families. At this time, population growth in the area was slowing, national demographics were changing as many people married later in life, had fewer children, and were far more mobile than previous generations. The parish began to feel the impact.
In 2006, the Jubilee year, a full year of events honoring the past, celebrating our present, and envisioning our future, unfolded. Sixty-three charter members were honored at a special Mass and celebration. Archbishop Dolan, as well as current and former priests, celebrated a Jubilee Mass in June with 1,300 parishioners. Some parishioners participated in a local pilgrimage to Rome and to the Tomb of St. Dominic in Bologna.
The Third 25 Years: 2006--
Although this next chapter of the parish is yet to be completed, it began on August 8, 2006, when the first phase of the Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic were opened with a special blessing and a dedication of the Italian bronze statue of our patron St. Dominic by Auxiliary Bishop Richard M. Skilba.
The Master Plan for Capital Improvements, which grew from the Jubilee visioning process, was approved by Parish Council. Monies remaining from the "Fashioning our Future - Stone by Stone" campaign were added to funds raised through the Archdiocesan "Faith in our Future" campaign, Dominic Days and dinner auction events. The parish set their sights on "Together, with God Building the Faith Community" through the renovation of the current church, constructing a new athletic facility, and transforming the current gym into a dedicated arts & activities center.
On December 5, 2010, Archbishop Listecki blessed the newly renovated Church during a special Mass. The construction of the Athletic Facility and Arts & Activities Center began in earnest in the spring of 2011. Heavy rains slowed the project in the early months and pushed the hoped-for completion date into September 2011. A new knight logo was developed alongside the construction process and graces center court in the new athletic facility. Newly elected Bishop Hying celebrated the dedication and blessing of the facilities on October 29 and 30, 2011.
In 2017, Fr. Dennis Saran was assigned as the 5th pastor of St. Dominic Catholic Parish, which had reached over 2100 households. The parish was in the 2nd year of the "Sharing the Vision" 3-year capital campaign. The goal of the campaign was to address specific project needs to strengthen God's ministries at the parish: debt reduction from the capital improvement projects from 2010, deferred maintenance, campus-wide safety & security, school revitalization. Marcy Center revitalization, south narthex expansion, and campus-wide updates. Results of the campaign allowed for funding the first three projects, and significant projects for the school.
In 2018, with the proceeds from the 2018 Gala and a generous anonymous donation, new lit signage on the Capitol Drive side of campus was installed to improve our brand presence in the community and in 2019, after 2 years of planning, a bronze Risen Christ sculpture was blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Listecki for our campus.
Our Commitment to Vocations
Teaching Parish program
The Teaching Parish Program at St. Francis de Sales Seminary is a systematic approach and sequential formation process that leads seminarians to experience and understand the totality of parish life. With praise and thanksgiving, St. Dominic Catholic Parish continues to be recognized as a host site for this program. Our faith community has a love for the priesthood and welcomes seminarians into our parish family. Through this program, we are proud to have helped the priestly formation of the following men:
- Fr. Kevin McManaman
- Fr. Hugo Londono
- Fr. Luke Strand
- Fr. Phil Bogacki
- Fr. Michael Thiel
- Fr. Nick Baumgardner
If you are discerning a possible call to the priesthood or religious life, please contact one of our pastors to help you begin the journey of discernment. If you are interested in the permanent diaconate, please contact Deacon Greg Diciaula. You can also find information on women's orders, the diaconate, lay ministry and priesthood at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Vocations page.
Please join us in celebrating and supporting these men currently in formation:
Aaron will complete Pre-Theology III in 2022, his third year of formation at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a life-long member of St. Dominic Catholic Parish.
Alex, our teaching parish seminarian, was ordained to the transitional diaconate in 2022. We will continue to walk with him during his final year of preparation for ordination to the priesthood.
Scott Zarling will complete Pre-theology I at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in 2022.