The history of the Diocese of Superior dates back to the 17th century. Our Journey Through Faith offers a glimpse into the historic events that played a role in the growth of Catholicism in Northern Wisconsin.
Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
Franciscan Fr. Odoric Derenthal of Ashland celebrated the first Mass in Spooner in 1886. Designated a mission parish in 1888, the first church was built on land donated by the railroad company. Under Fr. Louis Nowak’s pastorate, the church was demolished and a new church and school were completed in 1958. Under the guidance of Fr. Robert Szyma, a new rectory and administrative center was added to the existing church. In 1997, an addition and renovation of the church was completed under Fr. James Jackson’s leadership. The addition provided a new entryway, gathering space, Eucharistic chapel, reconciliation room, meeting room and preschool classroom. Since opening in 1958, St. Francis de Sales School has added kindergarten and preschool to its grades one through eight. For many years the parish has been linked with a mission parish in Old Maswa, East Tanzania, Africa, which is directed by Fr. Paul Fagan, a classmate of former pastor, Fr. Richard Burzynski. St. Francis de Sales Parish has grown from 15 families in 1888 to over 500 in 2004. Under the direction of Fr. Andrew Ricci, the parish became clustered with St. Catherine of Alexandria in Sarona and St. Joseph in Shell Lake. Fr. Ed Anderson serves as pastor today.
REFERENCE: Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
by Sam Lucero, 2005.