A BRIEF PARISH HISTORY
The parish of St. Charles Borromeo was conceived in December 1938 when Archbishop John Gregory Murray appointed Father Charles F. Doran to establish a new parish on the northeastern edge of Minneapolis. Father Doran, who named the parish after his own patron saint, celebrated the first parish Mass in the home of Roy F. Miller on Benjamin Street with about 50 people in attendance. By the fall of 1939, a six-acre tract on the southeast corner of Stinson and St. Anthony Boulevards was acquired and a church/school/convent facility was completed.
The school opened on September 15, 1939 with 115 students enrolled. Students were taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, an order of sisters that would educate St. Charles’ youngsters for the next 32 years.
The parish community, like all parishes on the metropolitan fringe, experienced accelerated growth in the years immediately following World War II. By 1954, over 1200 families were registered and 852 students were enrolled in the school. This rapid growth placed tremendous pressure on parish facilities and created a need for expansion. To meet that need, Fr. Doran directed a building program that resulted in one of the most beautiful church complexes in the metropolitan area. The convent was built in 1946 and two wings were added to the school in 1952. The church was dedicated in 1959, and the rectory completed in 1961.
Father Doran led the parish until his death in 1965. Father Robert Wittman was appointed as the second pastor and served St. Charles until his death in May 1971. The Most Reverend John Roach, then Auxiliary Bishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul, headed the parish for the next two years. In 1973, Bishop Roach, appointed Vicar For Clergy as well as Vicar For Parishes in the Archdiocese, stepped down as pastor to devote his efforts to his increasing diocesan responsibilities.
Father Francis R. Kittock succeeded Bishop Roach and remained pastor until his retirement in June 2000. During his tenure, Project 2000, the parish’s millennium gift for Jesus, was completed in May 1999 creating the current atrium, Doran Hall, Wittman Library, church crying room, restrooms, and the jewel of the project—the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.
Father Paul A. La Fontaine, the fifth pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, assumed his duties in July 2000 and retired in the Fall of 2014.
Father Brian Park served us as Parochial Administrator from the Fall of 2014-June 2015.
Father Troy Przybilla, our sixth and current pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, assumed his duties July 2015.
Today, St. Charles Borromeo parish is over 1500 families strong. Her facilities, which have been both updated and expanded, serve not only St. Charles parishioners but are also utilized by the larger church community. The people of St. Charles Borromeo continue to be noted for their generosity and willingness to take the spiritual life seriously as the parish continues to keep the flame of faith alive in Northeast Minneapolis and St. Anthony Village.
ST. CHARLES, OUR PATRON SAINT
Charles Borromeo was born in Italy in 1538 under a rainbow of light, which illuminated the darkness. Never forgetting the miraculous events of that night, his parents, true to their faith, nurtured in Charles a faith that would blossom like the “seed sown on good soil” (Luke 8:8).
Charles was a determined youth. He worked and studied diligently and in spite of a speech impediment, awkwardness, and average intelligence, he received his doctorate in Civil and Canon Law. A virtuous young man, he gained the acceptance and admiration of his fellow students. After graduation, he was urgently summoned to Rome by his uncle, the newly elected Pope Pius IV, and soon became a Cardinal, Administrator of the Archdiocese of Milan, and Papal Secretary. Charles was 22 years old.
As Papal Secretary his diplomatic skills were instrumental in reconvening the Council of Trent in 1562. That Council was sorely needed to clarify Church teaching in response to the Protestant Reformation. It also bettered the formation of priests through the establishment of seminaries, and mandated the purification of religious orders.
Later in 1566, Charles was at last allowed to leave Rome and take up his duties as Archbishop of Milan. Here he became the true pastor: traveling to bring faith to the peasants, reviving spirituality, rebuilding abandoned churches, ministering to those dying from the Black Plague, and implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent. He worked not only on outward reform but also on his own personal sanctification, delving into prayer, penance and the Corporal Works of Mercy.
So complete was his gift of self that when he died in 1584, the doctor who embalmed the body said of Charles, “he died as a lamp is extinguished when all the oil is burned out.
PRAYER FOR OUR PARISH
O God, you have made us the Church of Your dear Son.
Make our parish a family of one heart and mind in love toward You.
Grant that our common life and work
May be an example to all about us.
Guide our pastor and his assistants in their labors.
Through the intercession of St. Charles Borromeo, our patron,
Bless the work we will accomplish in Your Son’s name
And keep us secure in Your love.