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The Unification of Holy Trinity and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parishes



Welcome to the website of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Patrick’s Parishes on the Near South Side of Milwaukee.  The two churches have been administered by priests of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) since 2006 and 1982, respectively.  (www.jesuits.org)

Both parishes have a long history of welcoming immigrants.

Our Lady of Guadalupe began as a mission to the Spanish-speaking people of Milwaukee in a storefront located at 5th and National.  It was inaugurated by Bishop Messmer on December 12, 1926.  In 1946, the mission became a parish church located 3rd and Washington Streets.  It was staffed by the Mercedarians, a congregation of Spanish priests.

On August 28, 1966, Guadalupe Parish merged with Holy Trinity at 4th and Bruce Streets, across from Boys Tech High School (now Bradley Tech).  Trinity was dedicated in 1850, making it the 3rd oldest Catholic parish in the City of Milwaukee.  It served immigrants from Germany and Slovenia well into the 1950s, and more recently from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and other Latin American countries.

St Patrick’s dates to 1876.  Originally sharing a building with the parish school, in 1893 the church proper was dedicated at 7th and Washington Streets.  Its first several pastors has distinctly Irish surnames such as Callahan and O’Neill.

On Thanksgiving Day 1969, Mass was celebrated in Spanish for the first time.  Not long afterwards a diocesan priest with missionary experience in Paraguay was assigned as pastor, and henceforth the Mass was celebrated weekly in Spanish.

Today, St Patrick’s is the spiritual home to Catholics from Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and elsewhere.



Bienvenido a la página web de las parroquias de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y de San Patricio en la Zona Sureña de la ciudad de Milwaukee. Las dos iglesias han sido auspiciadas por sacerdotes de la Compañía de Jesús (los jesuitas) desde el año 2006 y 1982, respectivamente. (www.jesuits.org)

Ambas parroquias tienen una larga historia de haber acogido a los inmigrantes.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe comenzó como una misión para la gente de habla española en una tienda ubicada en la Calle 5ª y la Nacional. Fue inaugurada por el Obispo Messmer el 12 de diciembre de 1926. En 1946, la misión se convirtió en una parroquia situada en las calles Washington y la Sur de la 3.  Fue patrocinada por los mercedarios, una congregación de sacerdotes españoles.

El 28 de agosto de 1966, la parroquia de Guadalupe se unió con La Santísima Trinidad en la Calle 4 y la Bruce, frente a la preparatoria “Boys Tech” (la ahora Bradley Tech).  La iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad fue dedicada en 1850, por lo que es la tercera parroquia católica más antigua de la ciudad de Milwaukee. Sirvió a los inmigrantes de Alemania y de Eslovenia hasta la década de los 50, y más recientemente a los inmigrantes de México, Puerto Rico y otros países de América Latina.

La iglesia de San Patricio originó en 1876 en el mismo edificio de la escuela parroquial.  Luego en 1893 la iglesia misma fue dedicada en la esquina de las calles Washington y la 7.  Sus primeros pastores tenían apellidos bien irlandeses como Callahan y O’Neill.

El día de Acción de Gracias de 1969, se celebró la misa en español por primera vez.  Poco después, un sacerdote diocesano con experiencia misionera en Paraguay fue asignado como pastor, y en lo sucesivo se celebró la misa semanal en español.

Hoy en día, San Patricio es el hogar espiritual de católicos de Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, México, Puerto Rico, Venezuela y otros países.

The Unification of Holy Trinity and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parishes

It'a the summer of 1966. Not quite three years after the assassination of President Kennedy. Two hours south of Milwaukee, in Cicero, Illinois, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is very active in community organizing. The British rock-n-roll band The Beatles is an international sensation. And the Packers stars are named Hornung, Nitschke, and Starr.

Six months have passed since the final gathering of Catholic bishops in Rome to conclude the Second Vatican Council. Until the 1960s, the priest has had his back to the congregation, and celebrates Mass in Latin-a language heard and spoken only in Church.

Meanwhile, on the Near South Side of Milwaukee, a big change of its own is about to happen . . .

One parish needs more room. It's the only Spanish-speaking church on the South side, located on the southeast corner of 3rd and Washington. The other parish needs more members. It's located six blocks way at 4th and Bruce. Many of its German-and Slovenian-Americans members are passing away, and their children and grandchildren are moving to places like Cudahy and West Allis. Both churches are staffed members of the Franciscan Order-the friars of St. Francis.

The parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe have been told about the move a few weeks in advance by Fr. Bede Phelps, OFM Conv. At Holy Trinity, many people know what is going to happen-certainly the altar servers, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and the daily Mass goers-but also the parents of children at Holy Trinity School, where, since 1960s, the students enrollment has been at least one-third Hispanic.

But still, it is a surprise to some, when on Sunday, August 28, 1966, nearly 200 people arrive in procession to the front steps of Holy Trinity. They are from Our Lady of Guadalupe, and they carry banners with the likeness of La Morenita, Mary, the Mother of Our Lord, as she appeared to Saint Juan Diego in 1531 on the outskirts of Mexico City.

Some Holy Trinity members of Hispanic origin are on the steps waiting to greet the newcomers, encouraged to do so by the longest- standing service group at HT-the Christian Mothers. Everyone enters together for a Mass that starts shortly before 2 p.m

The merger transformed the complexion of the parish. Indeed, as one former Milwaukee, "My marriages and baptisms are now of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans; my funerals are of Germans and Poles."

From 1966 until 2000, the parishes will be known as Trinity-Guadalupe, then simply as Our Lady of Guadalupe.