MAPLETON — St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church will dedicate a newly renovated pipe organ this Christmas.DSCN1017Dave Broskowski, left, and Jerry Borzych, organ builders, work on installing the additional pipes in the organ at St. Catherine Church, Mapleton. With the renovation, the organ will be transformed from a seven-rank instrument into a 20-rank organ, boasting about 1,600 pipes and a set of chimes. (Submitted photo courtesy St. Catherine Church, Mapleton)

During Advent 1982, a restored pipe organ was placed in St. Catherine Church through the work of David Broskowski and then-pastor, Fr. Robert Novotny. The organ was a gift from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and was taken from the chapel of the former Saint Francis de Sales Seminary/Pio Nono High School.

The small organ only housed seven ranks of pipes (about 500 pipes) and was blessed by Bishop Leo J. Brust. Fr. Thomas Lejewski played the organ in a dedication concert.  

But in spring 1987, a lightning storm struck the church and burned all of the electrical works for the organ, rendering it unplayable for some time.

Broskowski came and re-worked the organ, still in the loft of original church. In 2000, the organ was dismantled and rebuilt once again and was played for the first time on Christmas Eve that year, when the first Mass was celebrated by Fr. David Verhasselt in the new St. Catherine Church.  

During the Easter season of 2010, a new facade of pipes was installed on the exterior of the pipe chamber, and now, because of an anonymous donation, the organ will see even more improvements.

If you wish to go:

Christmas Masses will be celebrated at
St. Catherine
W359 N8512 Brown St.

Christmas Eve
4 p.m. – children’s liturgy celebrated by
Fr. John Schmitz
10:30 p.m. with a concert
preceding at 10 p.m. (Fr. Schmitz)

Christmas Day
8:30 a.m. celebrated by
Fr. Michael Strachota

Thanks to the donor, additional pipes will be added to the organ, transforming it into a 20-rank organ, boasting about 1,600 pipes and a set of chimes.

The installation is being done through the generosity of Broskowski, and his assistant, Jerry Borzych. 

According to Stephen Johnson, director of liturgy and music at St. Catherine, a dedication concert will be held for the renovated organ in the near future.

Johnson and William Frederick, the parish director of Christian formation, are organists for the church, and both look forward to using the renovated instrument to enhance the parish’s liturgical celebrations.

Fr. Michael Strachota, temporary administrator of St. Catherine, called the additions to this organ, “a beautiful gift. Pipe organs are priceless, and a timeless tradition in our liturgical celebrations, and in an age of modern electronic music, truly a blessing in our world today.”