The first Roman Catholic settlers began arriving in Wright County, reaching Maple Lake by 1860.
In the Maple Lake area, Mass and the Sacrament of Baptism were celebrated at first in settlers’ homes, by priests from St. John’s, Collegeville, and Father Magnus Mayer, from St. Michael. The surnames of the settlers included Faherty, Desmond, Connole and Butler.
Patrick Connole donated land for a church and cemetery on the northeastern end of Maple Lake, on what is now County Road 37. Bishop Thomas Grace accepted the land. Bishop Grace was consecrated the second bishop of St. Paul in 1859. Bishop Joseph Cretin (1851- 1857 was the first bishop. The diocese of St. Paul covered the Minnesota Territory.
The parishioners constructed a wood frame church with a seating capacity of 60 to 80 people on the main floor and additional seating in an upper gallery on three sides. The church was named St. Timothy in honor of the patron saint of Timothy Desmond.
After 1869, the parish membership increased greatly, including large Irish families coming from Ontario, Canada. Some additional surnames included Baker, Elsenpeter, Hamilton, Jude, Kotilinek, Labo, Leahy, Madigan, Maroney, McEachern, McCalpine, Meier, Mooney, Mullen, O’Loughlin, O’Niel, Ryan, Scanlan, Sullivan, Vadner, Ward, Welton, and White. In the early years of the parish, marriages were performed on Sundays, when priests came to celebrate Mass. Among these priests were Father Mauer, from Dayton, and Father McDermott, from Anoka.
Another Catholic congregation was forming south of Maple Lake, in Chatham Township. Mass was celebrated in settlers’ homes by Father Schaller of St. Michael.
The members built a log church on the site of the cemetery located on what is now County Road 8. The church was named St. Charles. Surnames of members included, Behrenbrinker, Carrol, Cleary, Daily, Flaherty, Fouquette, Meara, Moore, Scanlon, Kritenbrink, Ottenstroer, and Ward. Later a wood frame church was built.
Bishop John Ireland of St. Paul visited St. Timothy’s of east Maple Lake. He celebrated Mass and confirmed a large group of children and adults.
Father Ignatius Schaller was appointed pastor of St. Charles. In the following three years, Fr. Schaller served the mission church of St. Timothy’s.
St. Charles parish replaced the log church with a new wood frame church.
The official history of St. Timothy’s began with the appointment of Father Thomas Brody as permanent pastor.
Father Matthew Ryan became pastor. He directed the building of a Rectory.
Father Swift followed Father Ryan, but was soon thereafter transferred. St. Timothy’s again became a mission church under St. Charles. During this period, a railroad company was formed that would greatly influence where the center of the Maple Lake community would be located. The company planned to build a railway from Minneapolis to North Dakota. The railroad company considered routes a few miles north and south of the eventual location. Land records indicate a local landowner struck a deal to bring the railway to the present site, in the city of Maple Lake. The railway was built in 1886 -1887. In the late 1880’s, Father Savey, from St. Charles, began celebrating Mass in a vacant building in the village of Maple Lake. Soon after this beginning of worship in the village, a temporary church was built.
St. Timothy’s Church of east Maple Lake was abandoned. The altar, organ, statues, and the Stations of the cross were moved to Maple Lake.
A new church was built on the current site of the St. Timothy’s rectory. The dedication ceremony was held on December 27, 1893. Father Savey served St. Charles and St. Timothy’s, alternating mass schedules every other week.
Father Savey built a home at his own expense, on the site of the present church. He served both parishes until the fall of 1903, when he bid farewell to a grateful group in two parishes. Father Louis Simon served briefly until 1904.
Father Francis O’Brien was appointed pastor. He served St. Timothy’s for 45 years, until his death in 1949.
A new parish rectory was built at a cost of $3282. The rectory was used until 1987.
The church, built in 1893, was becoming too small for the growing parish. Additional land to the north of the rectory was purchased. Fr. O’Brien directed the task of planning and financing the new, much larger church, at a cost of $100,000, on the site of the present church.
Groundbreaking took place in the spring. The corner stone was laid in October, by Father Cullen of St. Thomas College, assisted by Father O’Brien and several other priests.
The final mass was celebrated at St. Charles. The church was dismantled in 1939. The church bell was donated to St. Luke’s Church in Clearwater.
Church construction was completed. The first Mass in the new church was celebrated on Sunday, December 15, 1923.
On June 23, 1924, the new Church of St. Timothy was dedicated by Archbishop Austin Dowling of St. Paul. 1928 A Reuter pipe organ was installed at a cost of $7800.00.
The debt on the church building was satisfied, and other requirements were met, allowing for the consecration of the church. This event took place on April 21, 1938. The ceremony included a procession to carry the chosen relics from the door of the church to the reliquary. The consecration ceremony was led by Archbishop John Murray. Bishop Murray was assisted by a large delegation of priests.
In September, St. Timothy’s church was severely damaged when a tornado struck the village of Maple Lake. The large front stained glass window burst inward, and was forced upward causing a large hole in the roof. Several other structures in the village were damaged.
After his ordination in June, Father John Brown was assigned as assistant to Father O’Brien.
Father O’Brien died at the parish rectory on January 21, 1949. Archbishop John G. Murray celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial. Father Francis O’Brien was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery in St. Paul.
Father Charles Morgan was appointed pastor. A primary focus of Fr. Morgan was the planning and construction of St. Timothy’s Catholic School.
The cornerstone for the school was blessed by Archbishop Murray, and laid on July 4, 1951. Construction was completed at a cost of $265,000. The school opened on September 4, with 80 students enrolled in six grades. Four nuns from the Order of St Benedict’s, from St. Joseph, Minnesota, staffed the school.
Archbishop Murray dedicated and blessed the school. Enrollment increased to 195 for the 1952-53 school year and the seventh grade was added. (Note: In 1956, enrollment reached a high of 302 students and the eighth grade was added.)
Father Frederick Barthelme was appointed pastor.
A convent for the teaching nuns and support staff was completed. The convent was dedicated on April 8, with Archbishop William Brady presiding.
Father Barthelme was appointed to another parish. Father Donald Westhoff and Father Vincent Colon served briefly until June, 1966.
Father George Rebiski was appointed pastor and served until June, 1986. He successfully implemented the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Father Rebiski organized an elaborate celebration for the 50th anniversary of the church.
Father Mark Juettner was appointed parish administrator in June, 1986, and installed as pastor in November, 1988.
A new parish center and rectory was built on the site of the 1893 church.
The land to the east of Church of St. Timothy, the previous site of Maple Lake Public School, was purchased by the parish. It provided a parking lot and a site for the parish maintenance building.
A church annex was built. The annex housed a lift for handicap access to the church and the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. The new church annex was dedicated by Archbishop Harry Flynn on November 20.
Father Michael McGlauchlin was appointed pastor.
St. Timothy’s reached a milestone, with a commitment to Perpetual Adoration in the Eucharistic chapel.
Fr. McGlauchlin developed a plan for the restoration of the church building and systems. He organized a successful Capital Campaign to fund the projects. He reached out to known church architectural experts and artisans for the restoration of the sanctuary and the stained glass windows.
Father McGlauchlin left St Timothy’s in May due to poor health. He died on June 25, after a battle with cancer.
Father Mark Huberty was appointed pastor in June. He assessed the progress of the restoration projects and developed a plan and timeline for completion in 2003.
The land to the south of St. Timothy’s School was purchased by the parish. It provided a parking lot and more visible access to the school building.
Father Michael Izen was appointed pastor in July and installed by Archbishop Harry Flynn in November.