A HISTORY OF SAINT MICHAEL PARISH COLLYER, KANSAS
It was the growth of the Kansas Pacific Railroad that attracted the westward homeseekers. In January 1878, a colony of soldiers, sailors, and citizens was formed in Chicago, Illinois. Colonel Pratt was the organizer and The Rev. Robert Collyer, D.D., was the president, and an honorary member of the colony. All who joined paid a membership fee of five dollars to be used in paying expenses and erecting a building for Colony use when they arrived in the northwestern part of Trego County, Kansas, and until they could make arrangements to settle upon their respective claims.
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In March, 1878 Colonel Pratt, accompanied by a locating committee of L. LeBron, J. W. Burns, R. G. Kessler, W. Edwards, and Frank James, stepped from a west bound train and the place they stopped was known as Coyote. This was located three-fourths mile southwest of the present townsite of Collyer. The only human habitation there was a section house and pumping station kept by B. O. Richards and family. Coyote was the terminus of the Kansas Pacific Railway. At once the committee proceeded to locate claims and erected the colony house opposite the section house, intending to establish a town there. In May, 1878, R. G. Kessler was appointed the first postmaster at the Colony House, the office being located in the south room. As more settlers arrived, Coyote became quite a little town.
These first settlers in Coyote learned and saw the need to move the town site three-fourths mile northeast, as there was more and better water at that location. This site was named Collyer in honor of The Rev. Robert Collyer, a Unitarian Minister, as had previously been agreed upon at the Colony meetings in Chicago.
Collyer was platted and settled as a soldier and sailor colony. It was located in Section 5, Township 12, range
25 of Trego County Kansas.
The plat of Collyer was filed with the Register of Deeds in Hays, Kansas on February 11, 1879.
The Plat for the City of Quinter located eight miles West of Collyer was formulated, signed by Irwin B. Chase, and recorded in Gove County Register of Deeds September 26, 1885.
The first Irish settlers who came with the Chicago Colony on March 17, 1878 were the Patrick Walshes, Patrick Gubbins, and Spicer families. These families formed the nucleus of Catholics in the settlement.
In 1880 another colony of Irish settlers came to this area. They were the Tague, Glenn, O'Toole, Galday, Wynne, Fahey, and Gilbert families. In 1889, a large colony of Catholic Bohemians settled here. Among them were the Kristof, Razak, Palkowsky, Yanda, Hladek and Thiel families. In 1901 the first Catholic German immigrants from Odessa, Russia joined the ranks with the Irish and Bohemian settlers. They included the Frank Miller, Sr., Phillip Lipp, John Weissbeck, Sr., Peter Scherr, and his brother Ferdinand Scherr and families. Because encouraging words about America filtered back to Odessa, Russia, another group followed in 1902. Among these were the families of Theodore Ziegler, Christian Ziegler, J. Malsom, and J. B.
Walt. Records indicate that another settlement of the German-Russian Catholics migrated to Kansas and located in the Collyer vicinity.
Just when the first church was built or moved into the Collyer area varies with different sources of information. In the Jubilee Edition of the Northwestern Kansas Register we have the information that the first Church was built in 1878 by Father John Fogarty, and that this Church served until 1907 when a larger place of worship was needed. THE WESTERN KANSAS WORLD on March 4, 1929 states that there was "erected a small frame building in the center of the burying ground in 1878". THE WESTERN KANSAS WORLD of March 1979 states that the first real estate for a church site was acquired Nov. 19, 1883; the ground that is now being used as a cemetery. In the center of the property a Church 26 X 40 feet was erected.
In her booklet, HISTORY OF COLLYER, Mrs. Lester Harvey in 1976 states that: "A small Catholic Church was built where the cemetery is now located and Father Fogarty came down from Junction City in 1878 and held Mass there. A Church 26 X 40 feet was erected in 1883 and 1884 . .... In 1908 a large frame church 42 X 80 was built."
Monsignor Michael P. Dreiling in THE TRUE STORY OF MY LIFE (1962) states that: "In the year 1885 the Catholics bought a little Church in WaKeeney and moved it to Collyer."
The Kansas Historical Society Collections from 1879 indicates the following: "The town of Collyer was platted in 1879. There were no structures there, except a station house, until main street was built up in
The Saint Michael Baptismal Record records the first baptism on December 10, 1884.
So it is possible that there were two small churches in the center of the present Saint Michael Cemetery.
One constructed there, the other a small building moved to the site from WaKenney. A larger Church was completed on the site of the present Church Building in 1909, and the present Church Building completed in 1942.
The growth of the Kansas Pacific Railroad and their land concessions fast attracted settlers to Northwest Kansas. The settlers' westward movement coincided with the development of Catholic centers and the wandering missionaries and priests eager to proclaim the message of Christ to the early settlers.
Bishop J. B. Miege, S. J., the first Vicar-Apostolic for what is now the Salina Diocese assigned Father John Fogarty, one of the first diocesan priests, to care for the missions in Central and Western Kansas. Father Fogarty cared for a string of missions from Junction City westward including Collyer. He may be considered the founder of St. Michael Parish who apparently visited and celebrated Masses intermittently in Catholic homes at first, then in the church building. According to the church records, Father Fogarty performed the first marriage ceremony in the Collyer mission on June 7, 1891 for Thomas Pratt and Hanna Walsh in the presence of their witnesses, William Walsh and Gertrude Pratt.
Around 1883 the Capuchin Fathers from Hays took charge of the Saint Michael Mission. Father Anastasius, O. M. Cap, administered the first Baptism in the St. Michael Mission on November 12, 1884 to John Nicholas Reding, the son of Nicholas and Anna (Weber) Reding. The first death recorded in the St. Michael records was the fortythree year old Maria Doan on May 15, 1894 with Father Martin, O.M. Cap., officiating. The Capuchin Fathers continued the spiritual charge of St. Michael Mission, and faithfully served them until
1906. During the time the Capuchin Fathers cared for St. Michael, a survey of church property and platting was conducted on August 26, 1901 with plans to purchase property on which to build a new church.
With the gradual arrival of more Catholic immigrants, a resident priest was needed. In 1906 Bishop John Cunningham appointed Father Herman F. Weber as the first resident pastor of the Collyer Parish. Records indicate he remained only a few months, but during his short tenure he started a church building fund on August, 10, 1906. In a short period of time donations totaled $1,748.31. Father lived in the parish with different families for a very short time; most of the time he resided in St. Peter, Kansas with Father Charles Weber. Father Herman Weber came to Collyer for services and to care for the missions that were attended from Collyer. These missions were Wallace, Sharon Springs, Grainfield, Grinnell, Oakley, and Seguin.
On December 31, 1906, Bishop John Cunningham assigned the spiritual care of St. Michael Parish to Father A. J. VanSpeybroeck who remained here until December 31, 1907. The second resident pastor for St.
Michael Parish immediately created interest in building a new church. Father VanSpeybroeck continued accepting donations for the church building fund which had been started by Father Herman F. Weber the previous year. Father VanSpeybroeck had a drive for special donations from March 18, 1907 to December 28,
1907 and received a total of $1,185.73.
On November 18, 1907 the south half of Block 58 where the church and rectory are presently situated was donated to the parish by Patrick J. and Grace M. Gubbins. With some funds available, construction commenced in the late Fall for a 42 by 80 foot frame church structure on the same site as the present church. This church was not completed until 1909. Part of the material from the first church building was sold, and part used in construction of other Parish Buildings.
Father Bruno Ziegenfuss, arrived in Collyer in January 1908. During the early part of 1908, the church building which had been started in 1907, and which was still under construction, was blown from its foundation by strong winds. It was replaced, and reinforced with iron bars, but remained a weak structure.
John Hemmert from Angelus, Kansas was carpenter and architect of the church structure. All labor was donated by parishioners. Many more special collections were required. When the Church was completed in
1909, an indebtedness of $1,500.00 remained. The first Mass in the new edifice was celebrated on May 2,
1909 and the public was invited to attend. The church was officially dedicated on Sunday, October 17, 1909 and the sacrament of Confirmation was administered by Bishop John Cunningham of Concordia, Kansas. In
1910 a rectory was constructed on the southwest corner of Block 58 of the City of Collyer. Before the rectory was completed, Father Ziegenfuss had established his pastoral residency in the north sacristy of the newly constructed church.
In 1913 when Father Michael P. Dreiling came to St. Michael Parish, he had had but a few weeks of pastoral experience in Gorham, Kansas. A Parish Census at that time listed forty-five families. During his first year, a payment of eight hundred dollars was made on the Parish indebtedness.
From 1913 to 1915 Father Dreiling gave religious instructions to all the children in the Parish. They ranged in age from six to fifteen. During May of 1916, Father Dreiling and two ladies, his sister Salomia, and Rose Thiel conducted religious instructions. Father did not feel that this provided enough religious education. He initiated plans for a Parochial school building. The Parishioners and Bishop John Cunningham responded favorably. Contributions were solicited, and a wheat harvest project from a rented eighty acres netted $787.82. Construction of the school building began in the Fall of 1916. On September 29, 1917, the School was dedicated.
Father Dreiling supervised the installation of electricity in the comparatively new rectory. With Father Dreiling's encouragement and spiritual guidance, three young ladies, Francesca Keller, Renilda Keller, and Catherine Scherr entered the convent, and one young man, Edgar D. Weigel began studies for the Priesthood. During the nine years he served St. Michael Parish, Father Dreiling also cared for the missions of WaKeeney, Grainfield, Oakley, Grinnell, Seguin, Wallace, and Sharon Springs.
Father Anthony Schaefer assumed the pastorship of St. Michael Parish in the Fall of 1922. During the years
1922 to June 30, 1930 he was faced with a parish indebtedness, but heroically fought the economic battle until he felt he could approach his parishioners to build a Sister's Convent. He hoped that if a convent was provided, the Parochial School would open with the St. Joseph Sisters of Concordia, Kansas to staff it. With a favorable reply from the Bishop and the kind cooperation of his parishioners, the spacious St. Michael Convent was built in 1925, and in the Fall of 1926 the Sisters of St. Joseph settled into the new convent. The St. Michael Parochial Grade Schoo! was officially opened for classes in September 1926. The Sisters of St.
Joseph continued to serve in administrative and instructional positions in the St. Michael Parish Grade School for forty-two years.
During Father Schaefer's pastorate at St. Michael, he also cared for the missions at Wallace, Sharon Springs, Grainfield, Grinnell, Oakley, Seguin, WaKeeney.
Father Christian A. Dreiling assumed the spiritual charge of St. Michael Parish July 1, 1930. Due to the crop failures and dust storms, severe economic adversity persisted through the 1930's. Father Dreiling too was faced with parish indebtedness. However, some remodeling and additions were made on the twenty year old rectory. One of the bedrooms of the upper floor was converted into a bathroom and an additional room was built on the southeast. This room served as a parlor. Also, the Parochial Grade School was equipped to connect with the city water system. The 1934 St. Michael Church records show a census of 554 souls.
Father Edgar D. Weigel returned to his home town, Collyer to serve as pastor of St. Michael Parish from July
1934 to October 1939. During his administration at the St. Michael Parish, the severe economic adversity still persisted and no material improvements could be made. So he faithfully cared for the spiritual and temporal needs of the parish and made every effort possible to liquidate the indebtedness and planned confidently for the future. Father Weigel also served Christ The King Parish, WaKeeney as a mission.
In October, 1939 Father Carl Engbarth, generally regarded as the greatest builder and organizer in the history of St. Michael Paish, became pastor. He immediately guided and inspired the parishioners to build a magnificent native rock, Italian Renaissance style church. During the months of April, May and June 1941 one hundred ninety truckloads of limestone were brought to the church grounds by the people of the parish.
This constituted for them the first concrete hope of a new church. Father Engbarth personally supervised the cutting, sawing, and dressing of the stones which were used for the walls of the church. Both the exterior and the interior of the building are finished in stone. Every man over twenty-one years of age in the Parish helped and brought truck-loads of stone to the building site from the limestone quarry seventeen miles south of Collyer.
The work of building the new church was begun August 20, 1941, after approval of the project had been given by Bishop Frank A. Thill, and after a parish meeting had been held the evening before in the old church building. The site of the new structure is that of the frame building, which was dismantled and razed during the first week of August. The new building was designed to have a seating capacity of four hundred twenty. The plans for the church were drawn by Father Engbarth and the architects, Gilbert Gerry and Ben Byrnes of Salina. Nels Jasperson of Colby directed the men of the parish in their work. His son, Floyd Jasperson, was the main stone layer. During this time of building the new church Father Engbarth acted as foreman, business manager, and purchasing agent. On the feast of St. Michael in 1942, one year after laying the cornerstone, Bishop Thill came to Collyer for the dedication.
From Father Engbarth's own hand, we have the following account of the construction of the present Saint Michael Church:
THE NEW ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH During the year of 1940 crops were not so good -- but succeeded in raising $519.56 by dinners and entertainments. Besides this a few small donations came in. This start was most difficult because the Parish had a debt of $4200.00 that they had carried for years.
During the early spring of 1941 the Pastor succeeded in getting about 30 younger men to help open a stone quarry 18 miles south of Collyer on the Smoky River. During that spring and summer the stone were brought to the parish grounds, each family to bring 2 loads of stone.
The harvest that year looked good so Stone men were employed during the summer to dress the stone and prepare them for the Church walls. I saw the Bishop at Concordia and he decided to have me come back and meet with the Building Committee. The Building Committee thought I was crazy as did the Bishop - however Father Henry Gesenhaus a member of that committee remembered what happened in Collyer some years ago. (Poor investments of parish funds and all was lost.) He succeeded in persuading the Bishop and his committee that the only way a church would ever be built in Collyer was to start. That the people of Collyer would not give their money to any priest until they saw it was being used. As a result of Father Henry Gesenhause, I was given the green light.
I came home and decided during the Octave of the B.V.M. to call a parish meeting. This meeting was called on Aug. 19, 1941. The meeting was preceded by a Holy Hour to give the opposition a chance to talk it over with their God rather than to frame the Pastor which they had already done. After the Holy Hour, we had our meeting and reached no decision except to turn it over to the Church committee.
The committee consisted of Andrew P. Scheck, Henry Lacerte Sr., George Malsom & John J. Ziegler. These men and the Pastor retired to the rectory. Ten minutes later they came out and rang the church bell which was the signal that a new church was to be built.
Two Priests: Father Charles Muller and Father Eugene Senecal, then went to the church to give all an opportunity to go to confession. While confessions were being heard the pastor was busy lining up help to come the next morning to help dismantle the old church.
The following morning the parish came, received Communion and attended the last Mass in the old church.The Mass was a Requiem High Mass for all those that had been buried from this church.
After Mass men started taking out the altars, stations, pews, communion rail, while others started on the roof. By, night the church was empty, the bell was on the ground, tower was down and the roof was partly off. It was a lot of fun.
Some of the lumber was piled to be reused, the rest was sold. The farmers came with their tractors and dug the basement. Then they helped build the forms for the foundation.
The day we ran the foundation was a big day. We had 2 big mixers and 30 men were here at 5 a.m. when the mixers started. At 12 noon 30 more men came and worked until 7 p.m. Then the rest of the parish came to finish and by 8 o'clock almost the entire parish was here. Cars were lined up like on Sundays. Many non-Catholics from the town came and helped. This was all done on Sept. 11, 1941 but we finished on the following day at 2:30 a.m.
After the boxing was taken off we started to lay stone, and the same month on the Feast day of the Parish, Sept. 29, 1941, Bishop Thill and 20 of the clergy were here and he layed the corner stone.
During this time Sunday Mass was read in the public school auditorium and week day Mass was in a class room in the school at 6 a.m. as I was foreman on the job.
The stones were layed by men from Liebenthal, Victoria, & Hays. Each man from the parish gave a day each week, thus taking the stone and cement to the wall and building the scaffolding.
The drapes for the altar were cut and put in place by the ladies of the parish under the supervision of my good friend, The Very Rev. Michael Hogan of Grainfield - Dean.
The windows came in time to be installed. The flooring was done by the men of the parish in the evenings as it was seeding time. Ben McCartney who moved to Collyer because of this job had charge of all the carpenter work.
We were terribly rushed the last two days before Dedication which was again on the Feast day of the parish as was the corner stone -This time it was Sept. 29, 1942. The pews came on Sunday morning by truck, as did the confessionals, communion rail, and vestment case - this year Tuesday was on the 29th. However, Mr.
McCartney, with the help of the men of the parish succeeded in getting all the furniture put together and in place by Monday evening at 6 o'clock.
The Big Day, Tuesday, Sept. 29, arrived. The first Mass was read by Very Rev. Richard Daily, V. G., pastor of Salina. Father Charles Muller of St. Peter was deacon and Fr. Clem Weber of Park was Sub-deacon. Father Weigel and Fr. Uhrich both former Collyer boys were deacons of honor to the Bishop. Father Michael Dreiling, former pastor of Collyer, gave a short talk of thanks & appreciation in German and then the Bishop spoke.
After the Dedication and Mass, the Altar Society under the capable leadership of Mrs. Howard Turtle served the banquet in the church hall. Scott Bailey was toastmaster for this occasion and Henry Lacerte spoke on behalf of the parish. It was a grand day.
At the time of Dedication we owed $6,000 debt on the church. Its total cost being $42,000.00. This debt included the $4,200 debt that we had when we started and during the time of building we also paid $2,500 to the Bishop to help pay off the diocesan debt.
The Church would of been much cheaper but World War II broke out during our building time. Everything went up. I started by paying 500 to 600 per hour for stone men and ended up by paying $1.50 per hour.
Another example, it cost $2.00 to have a load of stone or sand hauled when we started and before we were finished we paid $5.00 per load. So also material went up but we were fortunate in having all the finished lumber, pews, and furniture bought before the War broke out.
We were without a furnace the 1st winter 1942, but finally succeeded in buying one from a hotel.
On St. Michael's Day, Sept. 29, 1943 we finished paying for the church complete, and for the first time in many years the parish was out of debt.
Much more could be said but this will suffice as a History of St. Michael's Church, Collyer, Kan.
Father Engbarth P. S. The parish gave the Pastor a solid gold wrist watch the day we paid off the debt.
Sept. 29, 1943 C. E.
From St. Michael financial ledger pg. 113 - 120 Because of the deteriorating condition of the Rectory, a Rectory Building Fund was started in 1945, and by the end of that year $1,210.00 had been raised for that fund. Again from Father Engbarth's hand we have the following account of the construction of the present Rectory:
THE NEW ST. MICHAEL'S RECTORY COLLYER, KANSAS 1947 - 1948
On Oct. 1st, 1947 the Church Committee called a surprise meeting on me. They wanted me to drop WaKenney as a Mission and say 2 masses here on Sunday. The Bishop had no priests to give WaKeeney so their request was not granted.
Being the committee surprised me with a meeting, I decided to surprise them. So I told them that I had a surprise for them, that tonight they could vote in a new Rectory. That was at 8:15 p.m. -- it was an indurance test. At 12 midnight they decided if they wanted to go home they better vote in a New Rectory which they did.
We had $10,000.00 on hand.
The new Rectory was announced in Church the following Sunday--We started digging the basement the following Thursday Oct. 10th and 11th, it was dug by Francis Ross - Hays, gratis, with his bull dozer. We run the footing on Oct. 15th and the foundation Oct. 23rd. We started laying stone on Nov. 5th, and Ben McCartney had the partitions in and started with the roof on Jan. 20th 1948. Work was delayed because of the bad winter, so much snow and cold weather, however, by April 1st we were ready for the 1st coat of plaster and the 2nd coat was completed on April 16th. The old Rectory was sold on April 17th to John Heier--Park for $3,825.00 leaving $3,700.00 clear after advertising was paid.
We moved in to the new Rectory Friday, Aug. 18th. It was nearly 2 months late in being completed because the carpenter got sick.
by Carl Engbarth Source - Financial Records pages 230 - 231 The financial Records of the Parish show that the total cost of the Construction of the Rectory, including some new furnishings, was $27,347.00.
During the second week in February of 1948 a successful mission was preached by one of the Precious Blood Fathers, the Father Kilian Dreiling, C.PP.S. All were encouraged to make this mission and to give time to earnest prayer recollection. During the same year, a new Wurlitzer organ was installed and blessed by the Pastor on November 1. The old rectory was auctioned to the highest bidder for $3,825.00.
Because of serious illness, Father Engbarth was assigned an assistant, Father Donald J. Kneipp in April,
1949. Having regained his health, Father Engbarth with his assistant gladly took on the care of a second mission, that of Hill City in November 1951. The missions at WaKeeney and Hill City were fast approaching the time when each needed a resident Pastor.
On May 28, 1951, Father James P. Grennan was assigned as assistant to Father Carl Engbarth. He reported for work at Collyer and later that year the Immaculate Heart of Mary mission of Hill City was attended from St.
Michael Parish. During his stay in Collyer he had the honor of saying the first Mass in the new Christ The King Church in WaKeeney.
In 1954, Father Henry J. Kieffer received his first assignment from Bishop Frank A. Thill as assistant to Father Carl Engbarth. The two priests cared for three parishes; St. Michael, Christ The King in WaKeeney, and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Hill City.
Father Engbarth provides the following account for the year 1957: A little History for 1957 This has been a very hard year in many ways. No. 1 No wheat crop. No. 2 Milo was bad -- A wet year and besides being hard to get -- had to be run thru a dryer.
During 1957 a New Roof was needed on the School -- the rain was as bad inside as outside after the dry years.
We put on a new roof and yours truly was up helping shingle and trying to keep all working. The new roof cost us $1,522.78, not bad -we took in $1,582.00 for shingles and labor. To top all this off, a new furnace was needed in the school and badly. We sold the stoves at the picnic and put in the furnace. The furnace cost us $1,260.00. Of this amount the Altar Society gave us $750.00; a real help. Our picnic did not go over so well because of no crop and of the new roof on the school. We cleared $1,000.00 and $500.00 of that went on the furnace, and $350.00 to the Altar Society for money they loaned us to pay the Sisters in June. The rest went for bills. We had to borrow $300.00 to close our books because so many people could not pay their P.R. (Pew Rent). We had a debt of $700.00 on the Church basement so now we are in debt $1,000.00. Hoping for a crop to pay it all and get back out of the red.
This is a great Next Year country for most of the people. So we close 1957 - $1,000.00 in the red but we hope for next year.
Msgr. Carl Engbarth
12-31-57 This year we are getting a new Bishop -- Fr. Eclert and myself had the honor of being at his consecration in Rome Nov. 30, 1957. Fr. Eclert was a grand companion, and the new Bishop -- Bishop F. Freking will be installed in Salina Jan. 7, 1958.
Source of account: Financial Reports, pages 432 and 433, Year 1957.
In 1958 Bishop Frederick Freking assigned Father Eugene R. Stehno as assistant to Monsignor Carl Engbarth. It was during Father Stehno's stay at St. Michael that Monsignor Carl Engbarth's death occurred on May 1, 1959. On August 10, 1959, Father Stehno served as Master of Ceremonies at the ordinations of Father Henry Lacerte of Collyer and Father Norbert Kinen of St. Francis, in St. Micheal Church. Father Stehno carried on faithfully and competently with the spiritual needs of the three parishes until September
1959 when the Precious Blood Fathers of Carthagena, Ohio were appointed to assume the priestly and temporal duties of St. Michael Parish, Collyer, Christ The King Parish, WaKeeney, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hill City.
Nor can WaKeeney be forgotten. Until 1949 liturgical services were held in a basement church. When parishioners decided to relieve the inadequate situation by the purchase of a building site in the residential area of the city, Joseph Frank of Salina was hired as a contractor. Surviving a serious illness Father Engbarth guided the parish in erecting the building of Christ the King Church in WaKeeney. Delegated by the Bishop, Father Engbarth laid the cornerstone of the new structure, and in October, 1950 Bishop Frank A.
Thill dedicated the new and beautiful Christ the King Church.
Through retirements and deaths, the Salina Diocese lost a number of priests at that time and became shorthanded. Bishop F. W. Freking requested help from the Society of the Precious Blood. Arrangements were made for three Precious Blood Fathers to be assigned to the Salina Diocese in August 1959 and a fourth in 1960 for the parishes at Collyer, Hill City, St. Peter, and WaKeeney. One of the first three was Father Gabriel Brenkus, C.PP.S., who became Pastor at St. Michael Church in Collyer, August 19, 1959.
During his pastorate at St. Michael Parish a mimeograph was purchased and the first parish bulletin was issued October 30, 1960 by the name of PARANEWS. He strongly encouraged corporate communions for the Church affiliated organizations. The Holy Name Society was revived and became quite active for a number of years. Major repairs were made to the outside stone walls of the church and improvements to the church grounds.
Due to health reasons, Father Brenkus presented his resignation to his Very Rev. Provincial in August 1961. Father Gabriel Brenkus, C.PP.S. died on April 13, 1962.
Father Emil J. Meyer, C.PP.S., was the second Precious Blood Father to serve as Pastor of St. Michael Parish. During that time new statues for the side altars, a bronze tabernacle for the side altar, and bronze candle holders were obtained.
With the permission of his Excellency Bishop Freking, the Rosary Confraternity was established in St. Michael Parish. A successful mission was conducted by Father Caspar Bonifas, C.PP.S. during the first week in May 1964.
Many needed repairs were approved by the Church Committee namely: $9,500.00 to repair the Church trusses; install new doors and repair the west wall of the Church; a new roof on the convent; school repairs; and a fence around the parish cemetery.
A metal garage was erected to shed equipment--a power mower, tools, and a work bench. The sewer assessment for St. Michael Church property amounted to ten thousand dollars.
Father Walter F. Junk became Pastor of St. Michael Parish in 1964, and for three years provided strong spiritual leadership.
The Holy Name Society erected two artistic "Mass Schedule" signs along I-70 Highway.
Father Urban O. Iffert, C.PP.S. came to St. Michael Parish in June 1967. During the fourteen years he served St. Michael Parish, the material improvements were varied in nature. Comfort and convenience of parishioners were always the prime consideration of improvement projects undertaken. A parking lot was located along Old-40 Highway; landscaping was done and extensive sidewalks installed leading to the church. In 1968 new lights were installed in the church. The following year carpet was installed throughout the church. Attractive wood panel and symbols of grapes and wheat carved from wood were put on the wall behind the main altar.
The interior of the Church was painted; the baptistry moved to the north alcove, and a cry room which has two washrooms was completed. In April 1971 St. Michael Parish became the proud possessor of the I. T. Verndin no. 680 Electric Carillons, financed by the generosity of a family in the parish. These carillons automatically rang out for the first time on Easter Sunday morning. The church basement was converted into a church hall; rug was installed throughout as well as folding walls which provide separate rooms for CCD religion classes. In 1971 the parish cemetery was surveyed and re-platted by Warren Hardin, Trego County Engineer.
A Grotto was donated and erected south of the church.
Most of the photo's & this church history, taken from the Saint Michaels Church Centianial Directory.
The Trego County Historical Society has this directory & many more books, photos, histories on early day Trego County History & they are on display.
Stop by & check them out. I want to thank the Trego County Historical Society for help with providing materials & information for this web site