Pax Christi History

Pax Christi Catholic Community grew out of a grass-roots drive in the late 1970s to create a Catholic community in the growing southwestern Minneapolis suburbs.  It was a time of explosive growth for the suburbs of Eden Prairie and West Bloomington, and Eden Prairie/West Bloomington did not have its own Catholic community. The Catholic families moving into the area became members of churches in surrounding communities, including Bloomington, Edina, Chanhassen, and Glen Lake.

The desire for an Eden Prairie/West Bloomington community, however, began to emerge and grow. This desire grew stronger when St. Edward's in Bloomington allowed a group of parents in Eden Prairie's Preserve area to conduct home-based religious education. Within a week, the parents had organized a program with 30 teachers serving nearly one hundred students.

Two of the key families behind the religious education program were the Paulings and the Buckmans who, during the Spring of 1979, got together with Fr. Jerome Fehn, associate pastor of St. Edward's, to discuss a new parish. Fr. Fehn agreed to bring their request for a new parish to the Archdiocesan Vicar General, Msgr. Ambrose Hayden. When Fr. Fehn had his discussion with Msgr. Hayden in September of 1979, Msgr. Hayden was receptive to the idea. However, Msgr. Hayden made it clear that the new parish would not be initiated by the Archdiocese - the families themselves would need to start the formal process.

By November of 1979, Diana Pauling and Mary Beth Buckman had begun the formal process of petitioning the Archdiocese for a new parish. They presented a viability study to the Archdiocese in March of 1980. In August of that year, the Archdiocese gave its official blessing to the new parish.

Diana and Mary Beth requested that the Archdiocese allow their New Parish Committee to name the parish and choose the pastor. While Archdiocesan officials readily allowed the committee to select the name, pastor selection was reserved to the Archdiocese.  At this time, Fr. Tim Power was ending his term at St. Timothy's in Blaine and was looking for a new community; the New Parish Committee was also looking at him as a candidate. The Archdiocese assigned Fr. Tim to the new parish.

The new and yet unnamed community celebrated its Mass of Consecration on June 21, 1981 in the Radisson South Hotel in Bloomington. After the Consecration Mass, the community held a liturgy of celebration at the Eden Prairie High School. At that time, the community had no permanent home; it celebrated in three different rented spaces, including a warehouse, the Radisson Hotel, and the Eden Prairie High School.

Due to the many locations Pax Christi called home, the early years became known as the “Traveling Salvation Show.” But word spread, and the Community grew. In the beginning, Pax Christi had about 150 households, two full-time staff, and many volunteers. During the first year, the number of households grew to over 500. In May of 1983, the community broke ground on its current worship structure. By the time the building was completed in May of 1984, there were over 1,000 households.


Today, there are over three thousand households – nearly 10,000 parishioners, 19 full-time staff members, and hundreds of volunteers who work together in community to provide welcome to all who come through our doors. Pax Christi welcomes all to join us and celebrate the Eucharist at one of our four weekend liturgies, at daily Mass in our Thomas Merton chapel, or spend some quiet moments in adoration in our Reservation Chapel.

Pax Christi is home to over 115 ministries and activities, something for almost every type of talent, from prayer groups to quilters, companion ministers to gardeners, catechists to musicians, and so much more.  We encourage our members to share their gifts in ministries and activities that fit with their time and talents.

We are a vibrant community, as evidenced by our excellent worship and faith formation opportunities, and we strive to live our motto of All Are Welcome by providing Christian hospitality to all who come through our doors as well as building strong relationships with those in need through one of our many social justice or pastoral care ministries.


Fr. Tim Power was the founding pastor of Pax Christi Catholic Community and remained pastor until his retirement in June, 2004.

On July 1, 2003, Fr. Doug Dandurand joined Fr. Tim in a year-long transition period that would culminate with Fr. Tim's retirement. Fr. Doug was installed as pastor of Pax Christi Catholic Community on October 25, 2003 and he fully took over as pastor July 1, 2004.

On June 12, 2005, Fr. Patrick Kennedy, the third pastor in Pax Christi's 23 year history, celebrated his first Mass here.  He resigned as Pastor of Pax Christi and relocated to Arizona in June, 2012.

On July 1, 2012, Fr. William Murtaugh became the 4th Pastor of Pax Christi.  No stranger to Pax Christi, he had been an associate pastor here from July 2006 – June 2008 and again beginning July 1, 2011.  The celebration of his installation as pastor was September 8, 2012.

On July 1, 2018, Fr. Michael Byron became the 5th Pastor of Pax Christi.  Archbishop Hebda installed Fr. Mike as pastor at a Mass of celebration on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Fr. Mike passed away on Friday, May 20, 2022. His funeral Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Hebda on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

Pax Christi welcomed Fr. William Murtaugh back as Pastor once again. Archbishop Hebda officially installed Fr. Bill back during a Mass of celebration on Sunday, December 4, 2022.

Important Celebrations

Pax Christi celebrated its first Community liturgy on Sunday, June 21, 1981 at the Radisson South Hotel in Bloomington.

June 20, 2004, twenty-three years after they celebrated their first liturgy, the entire Pax Christi faith community came together to pray as one in a joyous celebration named Jubilate (u-be-lah-tay). The celebration included 3,500 community members and took place at the Eden Prairie High School Activity Center. Jubilate also signified the close of the year-long pastor transition.

In 2006, Pax Christi celebrated its 25th Birthday with a yearlong celebration. “Honor, Embrace, Celebrate” was the theme of many wonderful events which included a Cana Dinner, Art Crawl, spaghetti dinner, pancake feed, Holiday Tea and Boutique, and the biggest event of them all, the 25th Birthday Party and Mass celebrated June 21, 2006.

May 21, 2011, Pax Christi celebrated its 30th anniversary with a Mass and community celebration.

On the weekend of Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20, 2022 Pax Christi launched A Year With The Saint John's Bible.

Buildings and Building Projects

1984:  The church was built to move our faith community out of the warehouse and permanently establish our presence in Eden Prairie on the corner of Homeward Hills and Pioneer Trail.  The initial building housed worship, social, and office space and  served multiple needs to facilitate the ministries of the Pax Christi faith community.

1989:  Expansion of worship and social space and the addition of eight meeting rooms on the west and south side of the facility were completed.

1998:  Phase I of a two-phase expansion was completed resulting in a two-story north expansion and an expansion to the west which provided much needed meeting, classroom, and activity room space, and expanded parking lot.

2007-2009:  A Master Plan Committee consisting of parishioners and staff was formed and began the process of identifying the needs of the community.  A Renovation Committee was formed to start work on putting the Master Plan into effect.  As the plan was moving forward, the national economy worsened, and the plan was tabled.

February 2010:  The Crossroads Fund was established to meet urgent, prioritized needs identified by leadership and staff of   the parish in the earlier Master Plan.

May 2011:  The Crossroads Fund Campaign culminated in reaching nearly $2,600,000 in gifts/pledges, 65% towards the $4,000,000 goal. Pledges and gifts will continue to be made until the end of 2014.

2011-Present:  Benefits of the Crossroads Fund have been felt in every area of our facilities and grounds including: improved accessibility and sightlines in the worship space; relocation of the Thomas Merton Chapel to a larger space to accommodate daily Mass, small funerals, and weddings; addition of a Reservation Chapel for reservation and adoration of the Eucharist; replacement of carpeting and flooring in the worship area, gathering space, and hallways; replacement and inter-connections of our heating and cooling mechanisms; repair and replacement of sidewalks and installation of gardens at the main entrance; correction of water line damage in north parking lot;   remodeling of the kitchen, adding a new walk-in cooler/freezer, new cooking and dish washing equipment, and bringing ventilation up to code

Pax Christi Catholic Community

12100 Pioneer Trail
Eden Prairie, MN 55347


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