Our parish was one of the first in the U.S. to be named in honor of St. Pius X, the "Pope of the Eucharist." He was so named because he established reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist by children. His life, in part, was modeled after St. Vincent de Paul with the deep understanding that "the will of God is not to live for oneself, but for all others."
Bishop Edward A. Fitzgerald, Bishop of Winona, established the Church of St. Pius X on July 1, 1954. Msgr. Warren J. Ryan was appointed the first pastor and was responsible for the planning and development of the parish facilities during the first nine years. The first liturgies were celebrated at Miracle Mile Shopping Center, which served as a temporary church until March of 1955. From that time until August of 1955, services were held in Lourdes Chapel at Assisi Heights. The first Mass was celebrated in the social hall of the new church, Roncalli (Kennedy) Hall, for the feast of St. Pius X on September 3, 1955. At that time, the combination school and church building was formally dedicated by Bishop Fitzgerald. The cost of the three structures (Kennedy Hall, Roncalli Hall, and the parish rectory) was $245,000.00. The church had a seating capacity for 600. The social hall could seat 400, and was used for basketball, school lunch, and social gatherings, much like it is today. The parish rectory was originally just one story.
The school (built at a cost of $250,000.00) was opened for the first classes a year later in September 1956 with an enrollment of 325 students in grades one through eight. Preliminary plans included construction of only eight classrooms, but demographic studies indicated much growth, prompting a decision to expand the school size to 20 classrooms. The school would eventually include 19 classrooms, a library, an office, and a nurse's room, and was able to serve up to 750 students.
During the parish's first pastorate, that of Fr. Ryan, the parish grew from 300 families to 800 families. Besides the erection of the combination church and school, the rectory and convent were completed, and preliminary plans were made for the new church. During the next eleven years, St. Pius X continued to grow in numbers and facilities, and soon became the largest parish in the Diocese of Winona. The new church was erected at a cost of $404,000.00 in 1964.
The history of our parish is an ongoing story of challenge and growth with the dedication of many people. Our parish community is much more than buildings; it is a story of a people's faith in progress.