In 1957, as the city of Wausau started expanding, Bishop Tracey decided that the city needed a new parish to serve the outlying area.
In the summer of 1958 on the corner of 28th Ave. and what used to be Stewart Ave. (part of the Deichsal farm),a 30-acre parcel was acquired, so the Parish idea began.
The Bishops choice for Pastor was Fr. Bernard McGarty in July 1958.
Masses started being celebrated in a box-like structure known as Wausau Auto Auction, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Ed Bembinster. Christmas Masses were celebrated in the Youth Building at Marathon Park. Masses were celebrated at this location for 2 years with approximately 180 families.
Construction of St. Matthew School began in the summer of 1959 and was completed in 1960. The construction of the church began in 1960 with an emphasis on the word tabernacle, which in its literal sense means a place where God tents among his people. The tall pillars of our Church’s interior represent the tent poles of the Arc of the Covenant. The angles on the ceiling, the folds in the tent material. The final touch on the church took place about two years later when the Bell Tower was erected.
On July 10, 1960, Mass was said for the last time at the Auto Auction. Bishop Treacy dedicated the school and the church on November 5th, 1961.
In March of 1965 the ladies of the church started a fund drive for a convent on the property. Completion of this project was in December of 1965. Construction of the gymnasium on St. Matthew School was started in June of 1979; the rectory was begun later. In the autumn of 1980 the gym and cafeteria was used for the first time.
As we think back to those days in July 1958 standing in the tall grass of the Deischel farm and imagining what we have today, there have been many many changes. As the Pastors of St. Matthew Parish have come and gone there seems to be a common thread between them all. That this is a Christian community with a deep felt commitment to God, St. Matthew Parish and to each other.