Parish History

HISTORY OF ST. CATHERINE’S CATHOLIC CHURCH

THE FORMATION

July 21, 1880 –First Mass offered in private homes until December 1883 when the first church, St Virgilius, was completed. It was built on land donated by J. W. Dolan.

December 1886 – Purchase of 2 ½ acres for a Catholic Cemetery.

1906 –In the annual report, the parish was referred to for the first time as Sacred Heart.

IN THE BEGINNING – ST. CATHERINE’S CHURCH

1910 – Father Charles A. Stricker arrived and plans were being made for the building of a new church due to the growth of the parish.

September, 1919 – Land (approx. 6 acres) was purchased from Joseph Junker, trees were planted and money was raised for the building fund.

January, 1925 – Letter received from Mr Dolan saying he would like the pleasure of furnishing the money for the church and leave the rectory for the Parish. He requested that the new church be named St. Catherine’s for his Mother.

May, 1926 – Work began by James McAdams Construction Company of McCook.

August, 1926 – Cornerstone was blessed and laid by Rt. Rev. F.J. Beckman, Bishop of Lincoln.

Early 1927 – Exterior of the church & rectory were completed. Contract for the Art Glass Windows was awarded for the sum of $16,600. The windows were made in Linnich, Germany. Theresa Kircher donated the 1500 lb bell costing over $700. On it is written, “When I sound my angels rejoice.”

Sept 1927 – Mrs Dolan donated $5000 for the pipe organ. The Stations of the Cross were donated by Frank Dolan.  The church pews were delivered by James Christiansen of Benkelman, who was awarded the contract to build them for $3,000.00.        

Oct, 1927 – Dedication of St Catherine’s Church. When the building was all completed and finished, the total combined cost of the church and rectory came to an astounding $140,000.00.  Of this cost, Mr. J.W. Dolan gave $111,111.09.  The parish gathered almost $29,000.00.   A bronze tablet was placed in the vestibule in honor or Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Dolan.

March, 1934 – After the dedication of the new church, the old Sacred Heart Church had been remodeled for a parish hall and meeting area.  This facility was destroyed by fire.

Nov, 1938 - The church hall was completed and dedicated.

The Golden Jubilee of St. Catherine's Parish; with a Solemn Pontifical Mass, was celebrated by  Rt. Rev. Kucera, Bishop of Lincoln.

 

PROGRESS & MAINTENANCE

Thanks to the hard work and generosity of those early parishioners, we were blessed with a beautiful facility for worship.  The next generations have been tasked to grow and maintain what was provided for them and they have admirably fulfilled that task.  During the years that followed, the wonderful parish priests and church leaders have led the updating of the heating and air conditioning, flooring, parking, roofing, church steps and ramps, and other maintenance projects.

Updating was needed to keep pace with procedural practices including the addition of a new altar so the priest could face the parish during Mass. Renovation of the west sacristy into a confessional  was completed so that the priest is able to offer confessions either face to face or privately.

Major projects included restorations of the stained glass windows, tuck-pointing of the exterior of the Church and the rectory, painting of the interior of the church to the current shades of blue and white with gold trim, and repainting of all the church statuary.

The major growth project was the addition to the church hall of the Catechetical Center and a modern new kitchen which was dedicated in December 1967.  Cemetery projects included the addition of the Crucifixion Altar, flag poles, cemetery directory, expansion of the south area for burial spaces, and fencing.

RECENT PROJECTS

As all those who came before us, we are busy making needed updates to maintain the beauty of our beloved Church.  Some of the more recent projects include reshingle of the church and rectory, repair of the interior and exterior of our beautiful windows, replacement of the driveway and sealing of the parking lot, upgrade to the church hall and catechetical center with new HVAC, floors, room dividers, kitchen, etc.

We have been blessed to have this historic place for worship and are committed to maintain it for future generations.