The history of St. Malachy's Parish in Madrid dates back to 1885, when Fr. Smith offered Mass to the faithful in a room over a saloon. There were only two Catholics in Madrid. From time to time thereafter until 1923, Mass was held in various homes and in public meeting halls.
In 1923, a small frame church was built in Madrid on East Ninth Street. The Catholic Parish in Boone donated the lumber from their old building which was to form the framework of the new church. The building was 30' x 50', with a garage attached for the pastor's car. The basement was dug by the Burke boys of Madrid. The basement was 9' high, finished off, and had a seating capacity of 130. The men of the parish helped in the construction of this church. On December 16, 1923, the first Mass was said by Father Nuel in the basement of the new church on an altar which was a gift of Father Nuel's home parish of LeMars, Iowa. The pews were purchased from St. John's Lutheran Church in Madrid.
The first resident Catholic pastor of St. Malachy's was Father Neuman Flanagan. It was during his time as pastor (1927-1933) that the congregation paid off the mortgage on the church, purchased the rectory at 815 South Union Street and enlarged the church because of the steady growth in the congregation. The priest had formerly rented the house at 211 East Ninth Street as his residence.
The enlarged church needed a new altar, and this was donated to St. Malachy's by Father Mastersons of Boone. This altar, which was dedicated in October 1930, was unique in that it was a duplicate of the altar in the first Cathedral of Iowa, located in Iowa City which was copied by a Boone architect. Father Samuel Mazzuchelli had been the architect for the first Cathedral and Iowa's first Capital building.
Father Arthur Poeckes succeeded Father Flanagan in 1933 and served until 1940 through times of economic stress. The Church continued to grow and was remodeled during his pastorate.
In 1940, Father Louis J. Lynch became pastor and served until he entered the Armed Forces as Chaplain in 1943.
Father A.J. Huewe served St. Malachy's from 1943 until 1950. During his pastorate a program of teaching religion to Catholic children in two or three grades every week in the public schools was instituted. The parish also acquired, through individual donations in the amount of $2,278.40 for the purchase of a Hammond electric organ. St. Malachy's choir, under the direction of Mr. Charles Hummer, with Mrs. Helen Bozich as organist, was known to be one of the finest choirs in the area.
In 1950, Father James A. Kane was appointed pastor. During his pastorate he instituted continuing programs to minister to the needs of Catholics at the Woodward State Hospital. In addition, he began a fund drive for a much needed building program for St. Malachy's.
Father Kane's successor, Father John Doherty, continued this drive for funds and made the first step toward the building program by purchasing ten acres in the northeast section of Madrid. Father Doherty was appointed Vice-Rector of Mt. St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque in 1959.
Father Karl P. Hansen became the new pastor in 1959. In the Spring of 1960, he officiated at the ground breaking ceremonies for the new church. Construction was by the Milani brothers. On Palm Sunday in 1961, the Most Rev. Joseph M. Mueller, Bishop of Sioux City, blessed and dedicated the new church, which was used the next Sunday, Easter Sunday by the congregation. In 1962, Father Hansen was able to move into the new rectory built at 207 Gerald Street, south of the church. The old rectory and church on the south side of town were sold. In 1964, the pastor of St. Malachy's was also named pastor of St. John of God Parish at the Woodward State Hospital School. On September 20, 1969, Father Karl Hansen was diagnosed with leukemia. Though he was in constant failing health from that time on, it was indeed a shock to all those who worked with him to learn on December 5, 1969, that he had passed away.
Father John F. Cain was appointed to become the pastor of St. Malachy's Parish in Madrid and St. John of God Parish at the Woodward State Hospital - School. He assumed responsibilities for the parishes immediately and moved to Madrid on December 19, 1969 until 1980.
Father J. Charles Yetmar was appointed pastor of Madrid on July 29, 1980. During the 1980's many remodeling projects had been accomplished with a number of parishioners donating their time and labor. The sanctuary was moved from the stage area to the west wall, enabling the cry room to be turned into an enlarged stainless steel kitchen with commercial equipment. Classrooms were constructed within the building and furnished with desks and cabinets. The Parish Center also received a face-lifting including new windows, lowering of the ceiling, paint, wallpaper, and new restrooms.
Father Yetmar served as the catalyst to build the new Catholic Church which was dedicated on October 6, 1985. The beautiful church as it stands now finally provided the parishioners of St. Malachy's with a permanent sacred space to worship. Many hours of labor, many hours of prayers, and much financial support was contributed by parishioners in getting the church built.
Father Edmund Tiedeman was appointed pastor in July of 1987 and was faced with a new church and much church debt. He played a large part in keeping the parishioners contributing and reducing that debt while at the same time organizing parish groups to help support the diocesan priest retirement program "A Time To Remember" and also being active in the RCIA program. Father Tiedeman loved the children in the parish and actively supported their activities.
In 1993, Monsignor Louis Kollasch replaced Father Tiedeman as pastor. He was a big supporter behind the heating/cooling system in the parish hall. He dedicated the parish hall in the memory of Father Karl Hansen and formally renamed it Hansen Hall. Monsignor Kollasch was responsible for bringing the old bell back to our parish from Gordon Wholesale in Des Moines. The bell was traded for silverware and dishes when money was scarce in the parish treasury. Gordon Wholesale felt that the people of St. Malachy's should have their bell back. The bell was brought home and placed permanently on the base in October of 1995. A Bell Tower was then erected with an electronic carillon system which still plays today, beautiful chimes from the tower and inside the church.
In 1998, Fr. Marvin J. Boes replaced Monsignor Louis Kollasch as pastor. He led the people of Italian and Croation heritage.
Fr. Brian J. Danner was appointed pastor in July of 2001.
In 2009, Fr. Timothy J. Boekelman replaced Father Danner as pastor.
Fr. James A. Bruch was appointed pastor in November of 2010. While at St. Malachy's Parish, Fr. Bruch installed a new rubber roof on the gable roof that currently had rock, installed the new rubber roof on Hansen Hall, the gable roof and the kitchen roof and installed new gutters on the east and west sides.
As we continue on... we must water and cultivate the life of our parish. God's word must prosper here by our activity, our watering and our listening to the Holy Spirit and we must respond as he works in us all!