The first masses were prayed in the basement of St. Margaret Mary Church in Neenah. At the first parish meeting on July 6, 1959, Don Hassler and Paul Peeters were elected trustees and the building committee was formed.
On Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960, less then a year after the Bishop’s letter Father Stingle broke ground for the church school combination. Since then the neighboring parishes and gifts and pledges raised to build a new Catholic faith community.
The original St. Gabriel committee consisted of Charles O” Meara, Bill Geher, Dick Abb, Don Hassler, Paul Peeters, Lyle Jacob, and George Strum. The altar was consecrated on March 9, 1961, by Bishop John Grellinger. On the feast of St. Gabriel, March 24, Monsignor Joseph Glueckstein, pastor of the St. Margret Mary Parish, prayed the first Mass. Later in the day, Fr. Stingle prayed a solemn high Mass in the new church. Dedication of the new church and school complex was held on September 17, 1961.
The Journey continues
In 1961 the new school was in operation and Sr. Donna Marie, with eight other Franciscan Sisters. Fr. Michael Clifford was the first Associate Pastor. Later associates included: Ronald Hopfensperger, Charles Brooks, Cyril Van Heeswyck, Michael O’ Rourke, Michael Betley, Charles Lacombe, Ronald Lhotte, Timothy Tessier, and Robert Lexa.
Fr. Stingle retired in 1985 and Fr. Richard L. Allen was named the Pastor retiring in June of 2011. Fr. Larry J. Seidl was named Pastor in July of 2011 and retired in June of 2019. Bishop David Ricken named Fr. Robert Kollath as the current Pastor of St. Gabriel Parish.