Transfiguration’s history started quite humbly when, in 1939, Archbishop John Gregory Murray appointed Father Cornelius Normoyle pastor and instructed him to offer the first mass “at whatever center you may find convenient.” The gathering was at Landy’s Café on Tanners Lake with approximately 20 people attending. Sunday Mass was offered at this location for several weeks until a home for Fr. Normoyle was purchased at 2633 Harvester Ave. in Maplewood, Minn., doubling as a place of worship.
In September 1939, construction began on a temporary frame church on the southwest corner of Harvester Ave. and Ferndale St. It was completed in early 1940 and used until 1953.
A First Communicant in front of Transfiguration’s first church
Plans for Transfiguration’s faith community included a school, and so in 1952 the Archbishop approved a building program. Ground was broken for a facility consisting of a chapel, social hall, kitchen, eight classrooms and administrative space. Construction was completed the following spring with the first mass celebrated on Easter Sunday 1953.
The new chapel was considered a temporary solution, but resources were not available to begin another major building program for a permanent place of worship. The old frame church was converted into a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph who staffed the school. Later, the convent would be converted into a parish center.
It was in 1974 that a building committee was formed and started working to identify a permanent worship space. It wasn’t until 1985 that ground was broken for the present worship space on 15th Street in Oakdale, Minn. The first mass was celebrated July 12, 1986. In 1998, the main church campus was expanded to double the size of the worship space, add a gathering space, eight classrooms, a gymnasium, full kitchen and school offices.
With the completion of construction in spring 1999, the Oakdale site became home to fifth through eighth grade students as well as the parish offices and programs. Meanwhile, the Maplewood site housed first through fourth grades in the school, a temporary classroom was added for kindergarten and the former parish center was converted to a youth center.
With the day school and Faith Formation classes growing and the buildings in Maplewood aging, the decision was made to consolidate the two campuses and create more space. In 2004, the Maplewood campus was sold and construction began on the main campus to expand the education facilities, which opened in Fall 2005.
Today, nearly 2,000 families call Transfiguration their faith community. Faith Formation programs reach more than 700 youth and hundreds of adults, and more than 330 students attend Transfiguration Catholic School.
The Spiritual Leaders of Transfiguration
- Father Cornelius Normoyle – 1939 to 1951
- Father Brian Keany – 1951 to 1967
- Father Richard Schmitzer – 1967 to 1969
- Father James Holl – 1969 to 1976
- Father Patrick Ryan – 1976 to 1981
- Father Charles Brambilla – 1981 to 1994
- Father James Smith – 1994 to 2002
- Father Robert Hart – 2002 to 2010
- Father William Baer – 2010 to present