Holy Mother of Consolation History


Speaking of the growth of the first Christian communities that he founded, St. Paul wrote: "I have planted Appolos (a helper) watered, but God has given the increase."

During the last 150 years, parishioners and priests have bonded in Holy Mother of Consolation Church to form a strong Christian community. The first Catholic Church in the immediate area was built in the town of Fitchburg where a church building and cemetery were located alongside what today is the driveway into Oakhill Correctional Institution. The year was 1856.

The church named St. Mary’s was relocated to the village of  Oregon in 1886 and the cemetery was moved to the village around the turn of the century. The name of the Church changed to Holy Mother of Consolation about 1925. The church built in the village burned down in 1960 and the existing structure was dedicated in 1961.

Since Vatican Council II, there has been a series of three renovations of the sanctuary. The most extensive was completed in 1995 with the addition of a Gathering Area, more seating capacity, parish offices, and six religious education classrooms. In the spirit of our 1995 transformation, an extensive renovation of our parish hall was completed in March of 2009.

Over the years, a dozen priests have serviced the parish. Fr. Gary Wankerl, the present pastor was installed as Pastor in July of 2010. Fr. Bill Connell served as pastor for 8 years. Fr. Tony Schumacher who retired in June of 2002 had the longest tenure - 27 years - and Mary Klink served as pastoral minister for 25 years. Sr. Mary Frost retired as Pastoral Minister in June of 2009 after serving 5 years.

At the present time there are about 1,355 households in the parish, 4000 members and approximately 400 children in the Faith Formation program directed by Nancy Ciambrone, (grades Pk-6), and our Youth Minister, Becky Phillips (grades 7-Confirmation & Youth Ministry). Larry Thelen is our Director of Music Ministry and has been with HMC since August 2002. Beth Craig was hired in May of 2008 and serves as our Parish Care Coordinator. Lisa Butters, Business Manager has worked for HMC since 1998. Our support staff consists of Corrine Willson (Faith Formation Assistant and Webmaster), Brian Richardson ( Facility Maintenance and Cemetery). In additions to the staff, HMC also has numerous volunteers involved in many Liturgical Ministries and serving on groups such as: Building & Grounds, Art & Environment, Finance Council, Faith Formation Commission, Parish Life Committee, Welcoming, Pstoral Council, Social Justice & Concerns and Worship Commissions.

In 2006 HMC celebrated its 150th anniversary and in 2009, we celebrated 25 years with our Sister Parish in Catarina, Guatemala. In November of 2008, 6 parishioners from HMC and 3 from St. Ann’s in Stoughton traveled to Guatemala for a 25th anniversary celebration of their Health Promoters. For over 25 years we have been helping Srs. Jane & Mary Lou, Maryknoll missionaries, with donations from weekly collections, aluminum can collection and special fund raisers.

For all that has been, we give thanks to God, and beg God’s continued blessings on our Church and all the people who worship here.