A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF THE ASSUMPTION PARISH
Bishop William P. O'Connor launched the initial building drive on August 17, 1953, to raise $100,000 to build a new Catholic church and grade school on Beloit's northeast side. The founding pastor was Msgr. Robert J. O'Hara. Through a lot of hard work and dedication from the founding members, the school, all-purpose room and rectory were completed in 1955. The all-purpose room was appropriately named as it served as the church, gymnasium, classroom and meeting room, with the present sacristy housing the kitchen.
Ground breaking for the church/school complex was held in 1955. The school opened in mid-October, 1955, with grades 6-8. The Sisters of Mercy lived in the present classrooms on the east end of the school, until the convent was completed in 1960. At that time the school was expanded to include grades 1-8 as the sisters' living quarters, in the school, were converted to classrooms. The Sisters of Mercy were involved in teaching and administration in the school until 1974, at which time the Brigidine Sisters began a ten-year ministry in our school. In 1984, a lay principal was hired and the school continues its excellent academic tradition under that leadership. In November 1990, an educational endowment fund drive was initiated to insure the continual and perpetual viability of our education programs from childhood to adulthood.
Between 1975 and 1979, the second pastor at OLA, Rev. John Urban, initiated a fund drive that resulted in the conversion of the old church and school's multi-purpose room into a permanent new church. In 1980, the Rev. Donald Murray, the third pastor, initiated a $400,000 fund drive to add an addition to the school which included a kindergarten room, an enlarged library, gym with full basketball court, locker room, shower and rest rooms, kitchen and a multi-purpose room that doubled as a music room and general parish center. The complex was completed in 1981. The Rev. Daniel Finnane was the fourth pastor of OLA, arriving in 1984. The fifth pastor, Rev. Thomas Monaghan, arrived in June 1988. OLA's current pastor is Rev. Gary Krahenbuhl, who arrived in June of 1996.
In 1995, the convent no longer housed any sisters and was remodeled and designated as the OLA Education Center, containing offices for the Director of Religious Education and 4/5 year old kindergarten classes from the school. Further development and remodeling took place in 1997 with the addition of a Child Care Center serving children from 24 months to 12 years of age.
As the parish prepared to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, further evaluation and study led us to continue to define our mission and needs. On August 15, 2004, a new parish church was dedicated. This building project also included a remodeling of the old church, an addition to the school office, a parish hall, and positioned ourselves to be a strong Catholic presence in the Beloit community and the surrounding area.
The parish continues to thrive due to the time and talents shared by the parishioners, and its dedicated staff.