History of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church

When the new Indian village of Lac du Flambeau was established around a sawmill in 1895, a new Catholic Church was also built. Fr. Chrysostom Verwyst, a Franciscan priest who had been serving the Native Americans in the old village of Lac du Flambeau, received $600 from Mother Katharine Drexel, foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Bensalem, Pa., to build a church on land across from the village's fire station.

The old church in the old village had a history that went back to 1854, when diocesan priests from Chippewa Falls provided spiritual care to the Indian people. In 1861 Fr. John Chebul began his ministry to this area, traveling 90 miles from Madeline Island on snowshoes to honor a request to assist a sick man. While Fr. Chebul was in the village he instructed and baptized about 30 people. During the next two decades the Franciscans attempted to visit Waswagoning, the name of the old village, but the distance and rapid waters of the Flambeau River made it difficult.

By 1880 the Franciscans accepted responsibility for serving the Catholic Indian population in northern Wisconsin. In 1905, Franciscan Fr. Odoric Derenthal organized the building of a new church on the present site on Pokegama Lake. Under the pastorate of Fr. Walfrid Boesche, the parish began fund raising and planning for a new church in 1960. Dedication of the new church was celebrated Aug. 12, 1977, the parish was returned to the diocese with Fr. John Drummy, as pastor.

History of Pastors:

Priest provided by Diocese was pastor from 1979 to 1999
Priest provided by Diocese was pastor from 1999-2005
Fr. Andy Anderson was pastor from 2005-2006
Fr. Lew Burden was pastor from 2006-2007
Fr. Pat Hardy was pastor from 2007-2010
Fr. Lourdu Mandapati was pastor from 2010-2013
Fr. Ronald Serrao was our pastor from 2013-2019
Fr. Maria Joseph became our pastor in 2019 and is still our pastor

Fr. Maria Joseph ordained for the diocese of Guntur on April 11, 2011 by Most Rev. Dr. Gali of Guntur Diocese, Andhra Pradesh, India. After my ordination, I worked as an assistant pastor for three years and as a pastor for another three years. I worked in the diocese of Galup, New Mexico, USA since May, 2017 as a parochial vicar in Grants, New Mexico from July 2017 to March 2018 and as parochial administrator in Snowflake, Arizona from April 2018 to June 2019. I am very happy to render my pastoral services with zeal and enthusiasm from July 2, 2019 in St. Anthony of Lac du Flambeau, Our Lady Queen of Peace of Manitowish Waters and St. Isaac Jogues of Mercer.