The parish of St. Charles Borromeo was established in December 1938 when Archbishop John Gregory Murray appointed Father Charles F. Doran as pastor of 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’ children 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, Father 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.
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 succeeded Father Kittock, assuming his duties in July 2000 and continuing until his retirement in the fall of 2014.
Father Brian Park, the Parochial Vicar under Father La Fontaine, was appointed temporary Parochial Administrator, and served in that capacity through June of 2015.
Father Troy Przybilla was appointed the new pastor of St. Charles and began his assignment at the parish on July 1, 2015.
Today, St. Charles Borromeo parish is more than 1,400 families strong. Her facilities, which have been both updated and expanded, serve not only St. Charles parishioners but are also used 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 SCHOOL ALUMNI
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