St. Patrick congregation was established during the missionary days in 1850. Catholics in the area were served as a "station" by visiting priests from old St. Raphael in Madison and St. Mary Church in Westport. In 1869, Bishop John Martin Hennie of Milwaukee attached this territory of Catholics as a mission to Sacred Hearts Parish of Sun Prairie.
In 1882, under the direction of Fr. A.J. Kuehne, pastor of Sacred Hearts Parish of Sun Prairie. 1 1/2 acres of land were purchased from ex-Governor W.R. Taylor for $50. The land was to be used for the site of a Catholic Church and cemetery for the congregation. Parishioners contributed $1,300 to build a small frame church. It was the first church in the village of Cottage Grove.
After Fr. Kuehne's death in 1905, Fr. Henry Blum became paster and remained the mission's priest until 1910. Fr. Christian M. Nellen was the next pastor and it was during his tenure, approximately in 1912, that St. Patrick became a mission of St. Mary Church in Marshall.
The size of the parish grew and in 1916, under the guidance of Fr. Nellen, with $1800 in parishioner donations and a $500 loan from the Cottage Grove State Bank, construction began to increase the size of the church. A rear addition and a new belfry were erected, increasing the seating capacity to 150.
By 1929, St. Patrick Church had 85 adult Catholic parishioners. Annual contributions were about $650 with expenditures almost equaling that amount.
In 1944, a census conducted by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee revealed that 29 families were members of St. Patrick Church. Sixteen families were of German descent and 13 Irish, for a total of 130 people. Along with the increase in the number of parishioners, there came a need for more land. In 1947, the parking lot across the street from the church was purchased from Bruno Kautz for $500.
The parish continued to grow. By the mid-1950's everyone realized that more room was needed. Suppers were held once a month and an annual chicken dinner was hosted to raise funds for the new church. In the first years, the suppers and dinners were in the old Town Hall, then in Marshall, and later in our own parish kitchen. People worked hard to pay off the old church debt and by 1960 a building fund for a new church totaled $24,000. Then, with many individual pledges and a $50,000 loan from the Madison Diocese, the project moved forward. An architect was hired, plans were developed, and construction was underway.
The final Sunday Mass in the little white Catholic Church was celebrated on June 11th, 1961. The white frame church was torn down, and on July 1st, 1961, Chase Inc. of Sun Prairie began construction of the new church. Mass was celebrated in the Village Hall.
The cost of the church was $88,000. It was considered a striking combination of traditional and contemporary architecture. Instead of the customary balcony, the choir space was located to the right of the sanctuary, directly across from the sacristy. The large window in the front wall is dedicated to St. Patrick, shown in full figure and garbed in the vestments of his day, AD, 387-493. The front wall (in which the window was located) was made of California redwood designed so that it could be removed easily for future expansion.
Construction was completed in a year. Dedication ceremonies were held on July 8th, 1962, by Bishop William O'Connor. Mass was celebrated by Pastor Fr. Howard Finnegan and former pastors Fr. Joseph Dries and Fr. Mark Mueller. Fr. Finnegan had been appointed pastor of St. Patrick on June 8th, 1956, with residence at St. Mary Church in Marshall. With as eye toward future expansion, on August 13th, 1965, the parish purchased the house and garage of Edwin and Emile Freudenberg and approximately one acre of land for $15,900. The intention was that the house might one day serve as a pastor's residence. The parish center and parking lot now site on that property. While Fr. John Flanagan was pastor, a petition was signed by more than 100 people requesting that St. Patrick be established as an independent parish. Bishop Cletus O'Donnell approved the request and in June of 1970, incorporation papers were filed. At the same time, Bishop O'Donnell appointed Fr. Anthony J. Schumacher, then associate pastor of Queen of Peace Church in Madison, as the first full-time pastor of St. Patrick Church.
Following Fr. Schumacher's appointment, the parish council held a meeting with local builders to discuss the renovation of the "old house." The house had been used for religion classes since its purchase. Now, in 1969, it was deemed unsafe. The cost of renovation would be extremely high, so in August of 1971, the house was demolished and the garage sold. Financial concerns discouraged any immediate plans for building on the vacant site. It was converted to a parking lot until November of 1974. It was then that construction began on a rectory at a projected cost of $75,000. The rectory was dedicated on September 7th, 1975.
During the pastorates of Frs. Gerald Vosen and Robert Gille, the parish enjoyed continued growth. Fr. David Runde was appointed pastor in June of 1983. In the early part of his tenure, the parish moved from a part-time director of religious education to it first full-time DRE, Sandra Dunn. Years later, Peggy Weber joined the staff as a parish nurse. In 2001, Lenny Komorowski also joined the staff as a part-time youth minister.
In June of 1985, tragedy struck and the rectory was destroyed by fire. Within a year, a new parish center was designed - a design to accommodate parish growth and educational needs. In addition to living space for the pastor, the design included classrooms, public restrooms and administrative offices. It was a great day when the new center was dedicated.
In 1993, as addition to the church was completed. It included a new front entrance, an elevator, restrooms, additional hall space, and a gathering space, all of which made parish facilities accessible to the handicapped.
In the fall of 2002, some remodeling took place in the parish center to create more office space for the parish nurse and the parish secretary, the newest member of the staff, and to incorporate a modern computer network and a multi-line phone system as well as laying the ground work for future technological expansions. This website was also created at that time.
In June of 2002, Fr. Runde retired from active ministry. He was succeeded by Msgr. Raymond N. Kertz, Fr. John J. Sasse and the present pastor, Fr. Michael Tarigopula.