The first Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish was celebrated over 65 years ago in the gymnasium of Glen Lake Public School. Monsignor Thomas R. Jude presided, and about 90 people attended that first liturgy in June 1946. Archbishop John Gregory Murray of St. Paul and Minneapolis dedicated the new parish the following month.
Before the year was out, IHM’s first church – a Quonset hut seating 250 – was constructed near Woodhill and Excelsior Boulevard, at the site of the current baseball fields. Appropriately, the first Mass in the new building was celebrated on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
In 1951, the Archbishop assigned Father Francis J. Fleming to IHM, and authorized purchase of our current site at Excelsior Boulevard and Mayview Road to accommodate the growing parish. A tavern on the site known as “Jack’s Place” was renamed “Immaculate Heart of Mary Social Center” and was used for social gatherings.
A six-classroom, two-story building was constructed the following year. The garden level served as a temporary church, and in the fall of 1952 almost 100 pupils in six grades filled the classrooms above. Four sisters from Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan came to IHM, and the order operated the school for the next 50 years. A convent was constructed in 1953, as well as a six-classroom addition known as the East Wing.
By 1960, the parish continued to grow and construction of a new church was undertaken. The first Mass in this new location was offered on Easter Sunday. Father Edward S. Grzeskowiak ministered at IHM from 1963 to 1964, and Father Anthony J Muskala served as pastor through 1972.
The next four decades saw many changes. Under Father Thomas P. Hunstinger’s ministry in the 1970’s, updates responding to changes from the Second Vatican Council were completed. Father Rinaldo B. Custodio served IHM from 1976 to 1994, and the Fireside Room and business administration offices were added in 1985.
In 1994 Father Patrick Hipwell was assigned as Pastor of IHM. The following year he led the parish in a full consolidation of IHM School with the parishes of St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins. The new consolidation was given the name of John Ireland School. The IHM campus and St. John’s campus served preschool through fourth grades; fifth through eighth grades were located on the St. Joseph campus in Hopkins.
In 2003, after much discussion with interested parties, the decision was made to dissolve the John Ireland School system. The de-consolidation gave IHM parish the opportunity to re-establish a pre-K through 8th grade Catholic school program at the IHM location in the fall of 2004. To accommodate the increase in student population, the IHM Catholic School renovated and expanded the existing school facility.
Beginning in 1991 discussion began about renovating the church which was built in 1960. After the conclusion was reached that a renovation would not be practical, plans were begun for a new church. The present worship space was completed in December 2000 and dedicated by Auxiliary Bishop Frederick Campbell on February 25, 2011. The church seats 950 people and includes a beautiful gathering space, excellent natural light and acoustical quality.
In December of 2007 Father Patrick Hipwell, after 13 years as Pastor, was transferred. Archbishop Harry Flynn assigned Father David Ostrowski in June of 2008 as Pastor. Prior to his arrival the rectory was completely renovated and brought up to code. A beautiful cross and a digital bell system were added to the church. Presently, areas of the church are being renovated.
In September of 2013, IHM School merged with St. John the Evangelist in Hopkins to form Notre Dame Academy (a regional Catholic school). The school is located on the IHM campus.
IHM continues today with a commitment to quality liturgy, strong Faith Formation and outreach. From its humble beginnings to the present, IHM parishioners continue to live and pass on the Catholic faith.