The parish of Our Lady of Divine Providence was founded in 2003, but its past reaches back to the 1890s, as Polish immigrants flooded into Milwaukee and began settling in the neighborhood west of the Milwaukee River.
They brought their faith with them and established St. Casimir Church (pictured above on left) in 1894. Some of those St. Casimir parishioners eventually moved a little farther north, and St. Mary of Czestochowa Church (pictured above on right) was formed in 1907.
As some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those founding mothers and fathers moved further away, new faces, new families, and new immigrants took their places. In 2003, to reflect the changing demographics in the neighborhood, St. Casimir and St. Mary Czestochowa merged to become Our Lady of Divine Providence. For many years, we were one parish that worshipped at two churches: St. Casimir Church on Bremen and Clarke Streets, and St. Mary of Czestochowa Church on Fratney and Burleigh Streets. In May, 2021, after several years of being unusable, St. Mary of Czestochowa Church was decommissioned.
Our Lady of Divine Providence is a vibrant worship community. Aside from weekend Masses, the parish provides opportunities for community outreach and community building. Annual events include a winter pancake breakfast, spring neighborhood flea market, summer parish picnic, Christmas Bake Sale and Bazaar, and, of course, an annual parish festival.
Our Lady of Divine Providence is part of a family of four parishes, which includes Old St. Mary Parish, Three Holy Women Parish, and SS. Peter and Paul Parish. Our family of four parishes shares not only priests, but many ministries. This creates many additional opportunities for parishioners and non-parishioners, and we get to share many great resources and personnel between four parishes – making our one parish even stronger.
Some of the ministries our parish offers include:
- Sacramental Preparation (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage)
- UPLIFT (Uniting People Living in Faith and Truth) Faith Formation
- Catholic East Elementary
- SPRED (Special Religious Development)
- Kinship Community Food Center
- Veteran’s Ministry
- Community Garden
- Support Groups of various kinds
- Music Ministry
- Prayer, Meditation, and Education opportunities for every age, at every time of day
- Senior get-togethers
As you look at the grand church building, we hope one thing stands out – we aren’t leaving anytime soon. We have been an anchor in the Riverwest neighborhood for well over 100 years. We are here for you. We are here to be a quiet, calm, and safe place in a world that is not always quiet, calm and safe. We are here to help you explore your faith. We are here to help you fall more in love with Jesus, who loves you more than anyone or anything. You are our future.
If you’re Roman Catholic, becoming a parishioner is as easy as filling out a one-page form. If you aren’t Roman Catholic, but think you might be interested in exploring what it’s all about, please contact the parish office. But please know that, no matter who you are, you’re always welcome at Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish. We’re your family, and we want you to know that our two churches are your homes too!