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Parish History

Immaculate Conception Church

Séipéal Naomh Mhuire Gan Smál

One-half mile north of the small settlement of Custer standing on the hillside is a Catholic Church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, usually known at St. Mary’s.

The first Mass was celebrated in 1840 in the home of Owen Fehely. This home was on the north side of Highway 10 E across from the Weisbrot farm. First settlers were mostly Irish immigrants coming directly from Ireland. Some Polish families had settled in and around Stevens Point but came in greater numbers in the 1860s. The spiritual needs of the people were in the care of missionary priests, some coming from as far as Milwaukee. 

In 1853, St. Stephen’s was established in Stevens Point and the people of Custer were visited quite regularly by the priest of the congregation. In 1875 the church was built under the supervision of contractor Michael Herbert. Most of the work was done by the parishioners. On November 16, 1875, the church was dedicated by Bishop Francis Xavier Krautbauer of the Diocese of Green Bay. On January 7th, 1946 the parish was transferred to the Diocese of La Crosse under Bishop Alexander Joseph McGavick.

Since that time, the parish has undergone many changes with a new front entrance, choir loft, and bathrooms done in the 1960s. A new side addition was added in the 1970s. The parish has an active Pastoral/Finance Council, as well as Sacred Worship, Education, Family Life and Social Justice Committees: which serve the parishioners in various needs. During the 1990s many family activities were started by various parish committees, such as the coffee and doughnut social on Sundays once a month.

The parish also has many members who are active as altar servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, greeters, ushers, cantors and music ministers. Through the past 142 years many changes have occurred but the Holy Spirit has remained an intimate part of the lives of the people of St. Mary's Immaculate Conception Parish in Custer.

History of Parish Leadership

1886-1890 Fr. Joseph Geisser

1890-1892 Fr. J.D. Schwartzmeyer

1892-1894 Fr. John Hummel

1894-1899 Fr. J.A. Bourgmeyer

1899-1905 Fr. E.P. Lorigan

1905-1908 Fr. E.A. Schwaeble

1908-1910 Fr. C. Ulrich

1910-1913 Fr. George Schemmer

1913-1919 Fr. Joseph Bartelme

1919-1923 Fr. Louis Schorn

1923-1927 Fr. Victor Kaude

1927-1929 Fr. H. Van de Castle

1929-1938 Fr. Joseph Schafer

1938-1945 Fr. Harry Schuller

1945-1950 Fr. James Geyer

1950-1962 Fr. Emil Hodnik

1962-1968 Fr. Bernard Novak

1968-1969 Fr. Andrzewski

1969-1970 Fr. Ray Peters

1970-1972 Fr. Paul Fladd

1972-1980 Fr. John Wisneski

1980-1987 Fr. Dan Kozlowski

1987-1989 Fr. Herb Zoromski

1987-1992 Deacon Florian Hurrish

1989-1995 Fr. Al Wozniak

1992-2000 Sr. Annette Marie Johnson, Pastoral Assoc.

1995-1996 Fr. Lyle Schulte

1995-1997 Fr. Steve Kachel Associate Pastor

1996-1997 Fr. Joseph Konopacky

1997-1999 Fr. Steve Kachel

1997-1999 Fr. Steve Kachel

1999-2003 Deacon Art Schaller

1999-2003 Fr. Robert Schaller

2000-2003 Chris Burr, Pastoral Assoc.

2003-2006 Fr. Sotico Florida

2006-2009 Fr. George Thayilkuzhithottu, MSFS

2009-2012 Fr. Rajen Anandan

2012-2015 Fr. Jude Dioka

2015-2016 Fr. Daniel Hackel

2016-2019 Fr. Gregory Michaud

2019-2021 Fr. Alan Guanella

2021-Present Fr. Mark Miller