In 1999, St. Sebastian launched its most ambitious building campaign – more than $3 million dollars to update the church and school facilities. With the theme, “Our Faith, Our Family, Our Future, “parishioners Bob Pauly and Ginney Haas Pauly wrote a hymn, “Giving Faith Room to Grow,” and parishioners chipped in to make it happen.

And as of June 15, 2019, the future is here. Thanks to the commitment of hundreds, we have paid off our mortgage.

The campaign involved a great deal of planning. For several months, mass was held in the Church Hall, a throwback to gatherings in the same location in the 1970s and before the original church was built in 1928.  The old convent was torn down (the few remaining sisters had already planned to move), and the Gathering Space was built as a welcoming presence for functions from weddings and baptisms to the Auction and Donut Sunday.

We’ve celebrated mundane things like a new roof, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning. And we’ve gathered around a circular altar in a more central location, separated from the decades-old communion rail. Updates to the school, such as an expanded office, health room, resource center, Faith Formation room and snack bar, helped meet the needs of an increasing student population.

Payoff took years of contributions from generous parishioners, school alumni, family members who wanted to honor loved ones, and others who recognized the importance of this parish to the west side of Milwaukee and east side of Wauwatosa.

While our parish has physically changed since 1999, what has remained is a loving group of people dedicated to our mission to proclaim Christ and grow believers through the sacramental life of the church as an inclusive and responsive Catholic community.

For several years, a number of generous people have donated a special amount each month toward paying off the debt. We’re asking those who registered for automatic giving to let us continue to use their monthly donation to cover our mortgage payments for the year, then we are establishing a building improvement fund. Details on that – and a celebration – to come!

If you have any questions, please contact Joann Perleberg, Cluster Finance Director, 453-1061 x 113 or

If you would like to contribute to our mortgage payments, click on “Debt Elimination” here.

Breaking ground on the new Gathering Space. L-R: Mike Bartel, Marion VonRueden, Jerry Leow, Michael Klein, Jeff Gunderson, Fr. Chuck Schramm, Bob Duffy.

2 thoughts on “After 20 Years, Campaign is Complete

  1. I noticed in the bulletin today that the balance on the loan was $0.00. I am so excited and hope I did not misunderstand the final $5,283.57 from last week’s bulletin is no longer waiting to be paid off. Could we have a big announcement about this? Or can we just silently thank the final donor(s) for getting it off our shoulders. The entry above notes it is one of the best things we have done to our physical parish which has provided us with a space to be the community that we want to be, both in the church building as well as the school facility. We are open and welcoming.

    Note: Marion did not change her name.

  2. It is with much joy that I read this article! There are so many good memories of this time, especially of the people who worked so hard to provide for the future of St. Sebastian. One person who was part of the core efforts who was not mentioned is Bill Volz. Bill was instrumental in bringing key groups to consensus on which parts of the renovation were feasible. He has since gone on to join the rest of the local saints who have gone before us.
    Fr. Chuck Schramm

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