We acknowledge that the land on which Good Shepherd stands, is the ancestral land of the Menominee and Chippewa tribes, part of the Algonquin language family. We honor their elders past and present and thank them for the stewardship of the land.
First Pastor: Fr. Fran Eschweiler
Good Shepherd in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, began with the arrival of their new pastor, Fr. Fran Eschweiler, on June 21, 1957. Created from roles of neighboring St. Mary Parish by Milwaukee Archbishop Albert G. Meyer, those who resided east of Appleton Avenue stayed at St. Mary and those west became Good Shepherd Parish.
Fr. Fran or simply Fran as he wished to be known, spent the first days of his 28-year sojourn in the Falls living with his brother, Fr. Carl Eschweiler, pastor of the St. Mary community. The late Reverend Carl was a cleric dedicated to helping Fr. Fran adjust to his new surroundings.
Fr. Fran adapted easily to his fresh environment. Vocationally aggressive, he quickly established his persona when he greeted a new parishioner with the salutation, “Here I am. What’s the challenge? I can handle it.” This was neither a flippant boast nor a courteous gesture. It was a declaration of faith. As part of getting to know his congregation, Fr. Fran visited every home in the parish the first year he was there. Charter member Dan Hanrahan explains, “He [Fr Fran] followed through [on his initial proclamation] from the day he came into Good Shepherd until the day he left.” And his flock, in general, responded in kind to his message. They did indeed.
Finding a Worship Space to Call Home
A physical place of worship was needed following the arrival of Fr. Fran. The thirteen acres of barren land acquired by the Archdiocese west of the Falls had little to offer. There was no village water. At that time, it wasn’t part of the village. In 1958 this parcel of land was annexed to Menomonee Falls.
The acreage boasted little more than a small, two-story house, the former home of the App family who farmed the property. It became the residence of Fr. Fran and his housekeeper, Anne Haskett, until the rectory was built three years later. Three sisters of St. Francis who staffed the parish school occupied the dwelling until the Convent was erected four years later. As one parishioner recalls: “I can remember going over there a week after Fr. Fran came. The plumbing wasn’t working. We put in a septic system to see if we could get something started that was half-way livable for the new residents.”
Negotiations were begun with Frank Blaney, owner of the Menomonee Falls Theater (since destroyed by fire), to use his building on Main Street for two Masses on Sunday. The first celebration was held on July 21, 1957, on a portable hand-made altar. (Wherever you are gathered in My name, I am.) There were flashlights for the ushers and the marquee proclaimed it, “The Dangerous Hour.” (Actually, that was the name of the feature.) But at the time, Good Shepherd may have had the only air-conditioned church in town. With cushioned seats, as someone once wrote, “Not all that bad.” The parish’s first Midnight Christmas Mass was held in the showhouse. Subdued, it was nevertheless an occasion to remember.
During this period weddings and baptisms were held at St. Mary. The Falls theater might have had difficulty explaining a baptismal font in the foyer. Good Shepherd used the theater until September 1958 when the school-with-church on Christman Road was finished.
The rectory or “administration building” as Fr. Fran would call it, was given a vote of confidence at a parish meeting held on Thursday, November 22, 1959. An office and consultation room were needed to meet the demands of a growing parish. Decent facilities for a future associate pastor and a housekeeper had to be provided. Were it not for the generosity of the developers of the Shepherd Hills subdivision in which the rectory is located, Mortgage Associates, Inc., the good pastor’s quarters might have been long delayed. But following the gift of a double lot and a $1,000 in cash, the rectory went up.
The rectory was built on a lot just off the parish property (where it remains today but no longer a rectory) behind a barn, which then served as Fr. Fran’s garage. It was finished with a price tag of $29,400. A bargain, even at that time.
Good Shepherd Church Building Effort
The combination church-school was next on the list of priorities. The theater was a gracious interlude, but necessity prompted new activity. With the parish outgrowing the confines of the theater, the spotlight fell on the vacant grounds on the west side of the Falls. Sorely in need of larger quarters in which to worship, Good Shepherd turned their attention to fund raising to implement their need for a new house of worship, a combination church-school building.
In September of 1957, the campaign to raise finances was started. The goal was $75,000. Experienced fund raisers trained volunteers on how to go out and solicit. The volunteers went through two or three of these courses and on Sunday afternoon partners were assigned a certain number of visits to make and away they’d go. Fund raising moved from the buildings to the societies. The Ladies Altar Sodality was formed, and the Holy Name quickly followed.
For the most part a social organization, the Ladies Altar Sodality gave the women of the parish a chance to get acquainted with each other. In the beginning, meetings were held monthly at Lohmann’s Steak House. The Sodality’s main concern was helping the school. They held an annual Christmas Fair with craft items hand-made by parishioners. There were bake sales as well. All proceeds went to buying books for the school library and teaching tools for the classroom.
The Holy Name Society quickly followed as a social and spiritual organization. Dan Hanrahan was elected the first head of the Holy Name. Not in office a week, Hanrahan as confronted with queries about the first breakfast and the first meeting. Unfortunately, there were no pat answers. Said Al Lohmann, a member of Good Shepherd, “Why don’t you use the steakhouse?” They did and the first breakfast at the restaurant accounted for “about 110% turnout,” says Hanrahan.
The Sunday bulletin of January 12 announced the groundbreaking:
“After 11:15 mass several hundred people, including eager children, gathered on the snow-covered grounds” to witness the occasion.
The congregation found the speed of construction (from January to September 1958) almost unbelievable, and school opened that year on September 21.
Next came the church-school dedication. On Sunday, May 24,1958, Archbishop Cousins performed the consecration. In witness and well represented was the Eschweiler family of Fr. Fran: Fr. Carl, Fr. Ed, Fran’s mother and numerous brothers and sisters, two of which were nuns.
The cornerstone was laid on May 25, 1958. Sealed in the cornerstone was the first bulletin, the 1959 first annual report, a list of the trustees, Jerome Brinckman was secretary and Howard Fleming was treasurer, copies of the Catholic Herald, the Menomonee Falls News, and the Milwaukee Journal.
Good Shepherd School
The Good Shepherd school faculty consisted of three School Sisters of St. Francis and three lay teachers. The late Sr. Cathana was the first principal. From 1958 until 1962 she made her mark as an administrator. A total of twenty-five nuns taught at Good Shepherd for periods of one to eight years. One-hundred-fifty students attended, a number which the Good Shepherd flock felt was a worthy start. In August of 1963, a parish lay school board was formed, one of the first in the Archdiocese.
The closing of the school in September of 1970 was another emotional and disappointing time. The Parish Council in a 12 to 1 roll call voted to close the school. The Council felt it had a moral obligation to practice fiscal responsibility in the light of its fiscal position. In conclusion, Fr. Fran defended the action as a faithful commitment as a parish to meet the faith-development needs of our people with special emphasis on liturgy and adult education programs that could be provided.
Church Art, Environment & Liturgy: Good Shepherd Style
Someone once wrote, “We have pause to think, we will have cause to thank.” This is especially true of Good Shepherd in the artwork and design present in its makeup and the music of its liturgy.
Karl Giehl was the guiding genius behind the artwork. Fr Fran in his book best describes it:
“True to its contemporary makeup and design, it had no frills or gaudy adornments to distract the worshipper from the essential. These were constructed from Lannon Stone which was hewn from the local quarries. The bronze cross tabernacle, baptismal font, candlesticks and torches were handcrafted by Karl Giehl, a skilled and talented Milwaukee liturgical artist and craftsman, who also provided for the sanctuary layout and drawings for the stone appointments.”
The entire layout, says Fr. Fran, including beautiful wood-constructed pieces of white oak from which were fashioned sanctuary louvers, sacristy cabinets, tester (the canopy over the altar) and kneeling benches were built by a parishioner at a very modest cost. “We had an estimated $50,000 sanctuary at a total cost of about $15,000.” The pews, refugees from the old vacated Holy Redeemer Church in Milwaukee, were obtained for $2,000 and installed by parishioners.
The seven crosses on the south side of the church building are a memorial from the Schiller family: Bob, Loma and their son, Greg, who were very active in the parish – Bob as a trustee, Loma in education. The family was killed in a private plane crash in 1977.
Music was something else. Congregational singing was encouraged as a means of expressing and deepening the truer Christian spirit. The Men’s Choir was invited to help people sing their parts of the Mass. A bulletin of the times noted “the choir approaches its work with a sense of reverence and dedication. By their singing, they participate … in the Eucharist as they give glory to God … [thus] disposing the people to pray and worship with reverence.”
The “sign of peace,” Good Shepherd style, may have been introduced July 15, 1957. The session was opened with a prayer and Fr. Fran then asked the people present to “fraternize and greet one another.”
Parish Council & Social Action
The Christian Family Movement (CFM) was formed by Fr. Fran in 1960. It consisted of small groups who met twice a month in homes to study Scripture and apply it to life in the home, at work, in the community and the world. These groups became the first apostolic lay leaders at Good Shepherd. They were responsible for many of the projects and some ideas that are still with us today.
– Parish nursery
– Corn Roast
– Political forums
– Campaign For Human Development
– Toys and money for the House of Peace
– Good Shepherd version of Habitat for Humanity
– Lauach Project (literacy program)
Parish Council & Social Action
The first Parish Council in 1968 consisted of seven elected members (one being a woman, rare in the church at that time). The executive officers were Fr. Memmel and Fr. Fran. There were trustees and a teaching sister and one Charter Member, “The Holy Spirit.” Fr. Fran and the CFM had taken what some deemed an ill-advised stand on low-cost housing. They favored it, fought for it and eventually lost forty families in the parish because of it. Those opposed didn’t feel as though he was moving in the right direction.
Simply put, Fr. Fran’s credo dictated the village should be able to entertain people that have substandard incomes and local citizens should be able to accommodate them through subsidized low-cost housing. Many couldn’t agree, particularly the forty families that left. However, a guesstimate places the number of replacement households close to sixty. This to some degree may explain why there’s a multitude of zip codes represented at Good Shepherd. It’s truly cosmopolitan.
To quote a witness to the hostilities, “Fr. Fran wasn’t about to back off. He’d go down to those village-board meetings and express himself.” In some subtle forms, this conflict still rages long after Fr. Fran has retired.
Associate Pastors of Good Shepherd
As the church grew, so did its obligations accentuating the need for an associate pastor. One of several who would follow, Fr. Michael P. Hauer served in that capacity from June 1961 to spring of 1965. Newly ordained, Fr. Hauer was welcomed at an informal reception on the parish grounds. He was quickly involved with the young people of Good Shepherd and established the Y.C.S. (Young Christian Students) groups in the process. These organizations were more of an apostolic formation than social. Young adults were taught how to be responsible Christians capable of reaching out to others. Fr. Fran describes Fr. Hauer as “personable, friendly and hardworking.” He transferred to St. Frederick parish in Cudahy in 1965.
Fr. Jerry Memmel arrived in July 1965 and served until July 1971 at which time he left to take a job as counselor in the Germantown school system. A favorite of the young people, Fr. Jerry earned their respect and kept them coming during the restless post-Vatican II years. One of the tools he used was the Mass widely celebrated for its deafening sound of “loud” and “rockish” music. These last descriptive words originate with Fr. Fran. Fr. Jerry summarized his tenure as a period in which he was “born again,” one in which he likened Good Shepherd to Camelot: a time in which Fr. Fran permitted him to develop his personality, exercise his creativity, think his thoughts, feel his feelings, and make his mistakes. Fr. Fran was to him truly a namesake – a “father.”
You could say August 17, 1971, through 1980 was Fr. Roger Boesch’s day in the sun. A veteran of St. Joseph, Racine and St. Mary, Port Washington, Fr. Roger was welcomed warmly by the members of Good Shepherd. He agreed with Fr. Fran that their foremost duty was to serve. Like all newcomers, it took him a while to match the cadence of the community. Fr. Fran describes these stages of development: “Fr. Roger did this through a special fidelity to the Word in his preaching and counseling; by working in the field of social action, which was one of his great loves, with music; on the Liturgy Planning Committee; and with slide programs. He was effective in working with the children and his ministry to the elderly deserved special notice.” The Falls Nursing Home was a target of his devotion to the elderly. His weekly Friday visits to celebrate mass were exceptionally well received.
Fr. Brian Beno was the last of the line. He arrived in early March 1980 and stayed until mid-1986. With two terms in the archdiocese Priest Senate, he was active in Marriage Encounter at Archdiocesan level, a fact greatly appreciated by many couples in the Milwaukee area. Notoriously a hard worker, he was co-chairperson on the Good Shepherd Jubilee Committee and a member of the RENEW “Core Group.” Well remembered, his term at Good Shepherd was far too short.
Fr. Paul Daniels
It’s inevitable that all good things must end. Fr. Fran was forced to retire in January 1985 despite vehement arguments to the contrary. A number of valid reasons to stay on failed to sway the decision of the archbishop. A final request was granted the senior pastor, however. He could choose his successor, someone spiritually similar and with convictions molded in his likeness, i.e., social justice.
Fr. Paul Daniels of Racine (St.Patrick), was chosen for a lot of reasons: He was a people’s person with strong administrative capabilities. A gracious person, he assimilated well into the lay body. Outstanding organizational skills set him apart. His humility shined through in his actions. And a most positive plus, a wonderful sense of humor. Fr. Paul could find comedy in the eye of a hurricane. But like St. Joseph, what greater accolade can you offer than “he’s a just man.”
Fr. Ken Mich
As Fr. Paul moved on from Good Shepherd in 1998, Fr. Kenneth Mich took his place as pastor. Fiercely committed the call to serve the poor and marginalized, Fr. Mich brought awareness to campaigns such as “Destination Justice: The Principles of Catholic Social Teaching.” His call to seek God’s justice and bring the kingdom of heaven here on earth were a great challenge in our parish committed to social action.
He introduced pre-Mass talks to welcome visitors, recognize personal celebrations and highlight themes from the readings and rituals of the Mass. Fr. Mich would often intersperse his homily throughout the Liturgy of the Word to cue the assembly to specific readings and words before the readings.
Parish Director Deacon Sandy Sites
With the retirement of Fr. Ken Mich, a new era began in pastoral leadership. Good Shepherd was first blessed with the ordination of Sandy Sites as deacon in 2005. Deacon Sandy was well groomed as a minister with the mentorship of Deacon Gene Christensen, and Fathers Fran Eschweiler, Paul Daniels, and Kenneth Mich. As Fr. Mich’s time in parish ministry came to a close, Deacon Sandy was asked if he would consider taking on Good Shepherd as the new pastoral leader, a canonical appointment by the archbishop.
He accepted the role of parish director on October 1, 2012, and was blessed with the help of archbishop appointed assisting priests. In chronological order, our assisting priests have been; Capuchins Fr. Al Veik, Fr. Marty Pable, and Fr. Richard Hart; followed by archdiocesan priests Fr. Tom Suriano and Fr. Peter Drenzek. In addition to the appointed assisting priests, a number of help-out priests combined to serve the spiritual needs of the faithful under Deacon Sandy’s pastoral leadership.
Parish Director of Good Shepherd & St. James
From 2012 to 2017, Deacon Sandy served as the parish director of both Good Shepherd and St. James. The collaboration between parishes was particularly highlighted while trying to maintain the unique qualities of each individual parish. The amount of assisting priests doubled to four – 2 at each parish – and the parish leadership of both parishes did much together in faith formation, coordination of Mass schedules, prayer and worship services and other collaborative efforts. On July 1, 2022, Deacon Sandy at his request, was appointed to Good Shepherd alone.
St. Ben’s Ministry & Work with the Capuchins
Brother Booker Ashe, a black Capuchin monk worked tirelessly at the House of Peace for the poor of Milwaukee’s central city. Brother Booker’s ministry fit neatly into the mold of Good Shepherd’s core charism of assisting the needy through donations of money and toys at Christmas. St. Ben’s Meal Program has been a long-time ministry at Good Shepherd.
Once a month a meal is prepared and delivered to St. Benedict the Moor to feed the hungry and unfortunate. Each year for Matthew 25 Workcamp, youth collect hygiene products that are delivered and distributed to the clients of the House of Peace. As well, the day after Thanksgiving, a large group of parishioners spend the day in the basement of the House of Peace putting together and organizing holiday food boxes for thousands of residents served by Capuchin Community Services.
Outdoor Mass Celebrations
Pentecost celebrations were initiated in 1996. An outdoor Mass was held on Pentecost Sunday. An estimated 1,000 people gathered at these Masses. They were wonderful turnouts with blankets spread, lawn chairs favored by the elderly, God in His heaven and His spirit liberally distributed throughout the crowd. Everyone shared a prelude prayer to these occasions: May the weather be favorable. And it usually was. The outdoor Mass tradition continued as it was moved to accompany the annual corn roast celebration in August.
Hartfel House & Children’s Community Center
Homer, born to Ed and Alice Hartfel in 1952, was cognitively disabled. Alice, with degrees in nursing and social work, was the perfect mother to pursue his health problems. Homer was Alice’s pride and joy. She needed no official position to push for services for Homer and other retarded citizens. She was assertive, persistent and tactful. She was a professional who challenged other professionals and didn’t accept “no” as an answer. She was a strong advocate and an activist when necessary. Alice was a co-founder of the Menomonee Falls chapter of ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) in 1956 and was active in ARC at the county and state levels for over 20 years.
Alice challenged the outmoded education standard of the time and got Homer mainstreamed thru the Menomonee Falls school system. She pushed for a full public education requirement for all cognitively disabled students and was with the Governor again in 1970 when he signed that into law.
In 1962 Alice and Phyllis Waters opened the Menomonee Falls Center sponsored by the Menomonee Falls ARC. Patsy Baer was the only paid teacher. Phyllis was the unpaid Director and Alice the unpaid Parent Counselor. The philosophy was that a handicapped child should have a program in their own community. It started in one room at United Methodist Church and expanded to many rooms at Riverside school. It was incorporated in 1975 as Children’s Community Center; it’s work integrated with the ARC program. In 1992, Children’s Community Center built a 20-classroom school on Christman Road right next door to Good Shepherd and the Hartfel House on land purchased from Good Shepherd.
When Good Shepherd closed its school in 1971, its vacancies came to Alice Hartfel’s attention, she had the ARC approach Fr Francis Eschweiler, Fr Roger Boesch, trustee Don Schneiders and the Parish Council. The Council quickly approved the use of the convent as a group home. It was to be Waukesha County’s first. Alice and the ARC put Good Shepherd in contact With New Concepts Foundation of Wisconsin, a nonprofit corporation established to organize and operate group homes. Negotiations succeeded and in January 1974 the county’s first group home opened. When discussion got around to what to call this group home, Phyllis Waters replied “The Hartfel House” and so it was.
Later, the Waukesha County ARC rented 10 classrooms, hall and kitchen from Good Shepherd for teaching young people, male and female, the simple tasks like crafts and hygiene. The venture was well received by the community. The financial advantages to Good Shepherd were pronounced and the ARC met the parish’s requirement of a sound social purpose. The parish hall has always been the site of the Hartfel House and ARC parties.
Adult Faith Formation a Good Shepherd Hallmark
Adult Education was an integral part of Good Shepherd from its beginning to as it is today, helping adults grow in their faith life. There have always been speakers, educators, bible study classes, retreats, etc.. It is the belief that children learn from their parents, so the parents need to be informed. To assist the parents, high school students were taught in the evenings and grades 1 through 8 came after school and on Saturday mornings.
This schedule proved cumbersome, and it gave way to Saturday evening and Sunday morning liturgy times. Eventually, Saturday was dropped as attendance declined. Liturgy time with prayer service became popular with the parents. The Christian Formation effort began with volunteer coordinators and teachers, Grades 1 – 12. The first parish paid coordinator arrived on the scene in 1971.
Children & Youth Christian Formation
After the school closed, there was increased emphasis on Religious Education classes. With the growing parish membership, it became necessary to hire two coordinators in 1978 for preschool through Grade 6 and another part-time for Junior and Senior High.
The program continued to grow in volume with activities for all ages. Examples included Son-Days, “Breakfast in Bethlehem” for the younger children to Workcamp and retreats for the teens. It went beyond with the College Care Connection for the college bound.
Church Modification & Plans
Several modifications to the church have taken place over the years. In the early sixties, blueprints were drawn which envisioned a free-standing church to be built east of the school and what was then considered to be a “temporary” worship space. Priorities changed and financial restraints left these plans unfilled.
Talk of remodeling the existing building resurfaced in November 1984. The Hospitality Room (our present Mary of Magdala Chapel) was used for after-Mass socializing but was found inadequate for the need. The Parish Council set up a study committee in February 1987 to review renovation options. The result of the study was five options ranging from a minor fix-up to the originally envisioned free-standing church. An in-home, small-group presentation was given which included a video prepared by the committee and architect. The members then voted their preference and overwhelmingly chose a “major renovation” of the existing space with a cost of roughly $800,000. This included creating new office space and hall remodeling. The project was completed in 1989. A new cornerstone was added near the new main entrance marking this major renovation. This cornerstone bears the Good Shepherd friendly Micah 6:8 passage: “Act justly. Love tenderly. Walk humbly.”
One stumbling block, literally, was the fate of the Lannon stone altar. Weighing well over two tons, it was a gift from early church members and taken from a nearby quarry. The new church design called for flexible and movable furnishings, but several members wanted the altar to be left undisturbed. The final solution was to link the past to our future in a symbolic support. The altar was taken back to the Lannon quarry to be cut and reused as the new cornerstone as well as the exterior base of the windows in the new lobby. The new cornerstone was added near the new main entrance marking this major renovation. This cornerstone bears the Good Shepherd friendly Micah 6:8 passage: “Act justly. Love tenderly. Walk humbly.”
Good Shepherd Personnel History & Milestones
We have had just three pastors and one parish director/pastor in our history: Fr. Fran Eschweiler, Fr. Paul Daniels, Fr. Ken Mich, and Dcn. Sandy Sites. In May 1984, a permanent personnel committee was formed. Reflecting our outreach priorities, Good Shepherd was one of the first to have a full-time human concerns minister.
In February 1985, early in his tenure, Fr. Paul proposed a team ministry concept. It evolved into today’s uniquely developed pastoral team including both our professional and support positions as well as the ordained and lay ministers.
Reflecting the growing complexities of managing a parish and with the numbers of assigned priests reduced to one, the position of Director of Administration Services was established in February 1987. (At that time there were only about four such positions in the Archdiocese.)
It was determined a liturgist was needed following discussions begun in November 1987. In July of 1989, a part-time position was established evolving into a full-time director of liturgy and music in July of 1995.
Our first permanent deacon was ordained in November 1990. Deacon Gene Christensen served for many years in a number of key roles at Good Shepherd and fulfilled well the deacon charisms of Liturgy-Word-Service. In Deacon Gene’s honor, our ongoing Christmas Toy Drive offering outreach to the House of Peace is now called “The Deacon Gene Toy Drive.”
The Christian formation commission showed the need for more help in youth ministry at the same time the parish council explored the possibility of developing a coordinator of volunteers. Discussions led to the July 1995 addition of one more position in Christian formation and a part-time coordinator of volunteers.
In 1998, the personnel committee made a dramatic overhaul of the compensation offered to our employees. They may have felt it was necessary both morally and competitively. Using a basic premise that we can only have positions that we can fairly compensate and using the guidelines of salaries at 80 percent of comparable jobs in the community, Good Shepherd went from keeping up with other Catholic churches which historically paid very low salaries, to a model of just compensation. The flexible benefits approach also was unique in the Archdiocese.
Parish structure was reorganized over a period so that all activities flow into four commissions: Administrative Services, Christian Formation, Human Concerns, and Prayer and Worship. The Commissions meet on the Monday after the Parish Council meeting.
Collaboration with Neighbors & Beyond Our Borders
Good Shepherd acquired a sister parish in Milwaukee’s central city in 1988. It evolved into the sharing of talents, socializing and financially assisting St. Thomas Aquinas. This cooperation ended in 1995 when St. Thomas was closed. Good Shepherd collaborated with St. Thomas Aquinas on our first Habitat for Humanity project, renovation a home near the corner of Garfield and 33rd Street.
In 1986, Parish council linked with neighboring parishes to start a collaborative effort known as “Four Saints and A Shepherd.” The original members were St. Anthony, St. James, St. Mary and St. Boniface. St. Agnes of Butler eventually replaced St. Boniface.
With the birth of a new year our interest shifted south of the border to the grisly murder of four Jesuit priests and their housekeeper in El Salvador. The Central American Study Group was established with the prodding of then Pastor Fr. Paul Daniels as a response to the crimes. Fr. Paul and the committee asked that our local community respond. Since then, there has been an involvement with the community of Ellacuria (named for one of the murdered Jesuits, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuria). With the approval of the Parish Council in July 1992, the parish dispatched delegates to the troubled land. And since then, several of their people have reciprocated sending delegates to visit us. Good Shepherd has funded essential projects needed to re-establish their reclaimed homeland.
Outreach, Outreach, Outreach
At the end of 1987, a Special Needs Fund was established to help parishioners in temporary emergency financial crisis. This fund complemented the long-established policy of donating five percent of parish income to outreach beyond our parish. Good Shepherd was one of the first parishes to commit a five percent tithe to others. By our 40th Anniversary year, we passed the $200,000 mark for outreach.
June 1989 was a banner date in Christian charity. How can the spirit be exalted when the stomach’s growling? The one is going to drown the other out. At this time, true to the tradition of the seas, Good Shepherd answered an SOS, a home-grown acronym for Stock Our Shelves. Food brought weekly to mass is distributed to area food pantries.
The end of ’92 saw the first Good Shepherd Combined Collection take place. Three times each year members are invited to support our special relationships. The three causes were the House of Peace, Ellacuria and St. Thomas (since replaced by the parish workcamp). This Workcamp, made up of teens and adult leaders, started in August 1993 to aid those living in blighted areas of the country. They work one week of each summer rehabilitating homes.
The New Century Fund authorized by the Parish Council October 1991 is an endowment for future ministry at Good Shepherd. The Fund’s directors also provide an educational component by teaching the importance of wills and other important documents. Upon the death of our founding pastor Fr. Fran Eschweiler, the fund name was changed to the Eschweiler New Century Fund.
Good Shepherd Fun Facts
In May of 1986 Good Shepherd bought its first ticket to the Information Highway, a state-of-the-art computer. Keeping pace with current technology, the staff was well able to communicate with the people of the parish. All census, contribution, and accounting were computerized. The Bulletin was done in-house and transmitted via modem to the bulletin company. Several tasks were done online, and soon we were part of an Archdiocesan online connection.
In September of 1994, the old tradition of weekly envelopes was ended in favor of an innovative monthly Stewardship Letter mailed directly to the homes. Each month there was a pastoral letter, update on donations for the year, the Newsletter “Breaking Bread” and a return slip for donations to the regular funds and any special causes. It was well received and led to more regular donation patterns and increased income.
Let us remember, Good Shepherd has become a gathering place for the entire community, parishioners and visitors alike. We share our facilities with non-profit groups that fit our Covenant beliefs. We currently are home to the Menomonee Falls Preschool Co-op, Hope Network and the AA/Alano Club. We have made our space available for voting, village meetings, and police assessment centers.
The history of our past would not be complete without a mission for the future. Good Shepherd has been blessed with just three outstanding pastors and one outstanding parish director. However, the future holds many changes. Preparing for them now is vital. With God and the Holy Spirit, borrowing on our rich history and ever building for the future, we are excited about what God has in store for us next!