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Catholic Parishes

(R - T)


   The church was built in 1887 and Rev. V. Coka and Rev. Philip Maly used to come at intervals. Between 1890 and 1893 it was a mission belonging to St. Paul, Howard County, and Rev. Broz and his assistant Rev. Vlcek used to take care of it from there. In 1894 it was annexed to Grand Island and Rev. Hodyc took care of it. Following that it was placed under Broken Bow and in 1895 put back under St. Paul, when Rev. Chundelak from there served. Between 1897 and 1899 Rev. Anton Duda used to come from Broken Bow. Rev. Duda was born June 11, 1871, in Hostice near Vyskov, Moravia, ordained in Louvain, Belgium, June 29, 1895, and came to Nebraska in that year. In 1900 he moved to Iowa, now living in Winona, Minnesota. Rev. Duda was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Chundelak (1899--1902) and he by the first resident priest, Rev. Jaroslav J. Hancik. Rev. Hancik was born May 14, 1875, in Tabor, of an old patrician family. He studied in Tabor and later in an agricultural academy, where he graduated (in Tabor) in 1895 and obtained a position on the estates of Count Harrach in Sadova. In 1897 he accepted the offer of John Rosicky of Omaha, for he wanted to learn English, and so he became assistant editor of Rosicky's farm paper Hospodar. He found he did not care to continue that work, so six months later he entered the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was ordained in Omaha, by Bishop Scannell, on November 29, 1901. He was made assistant to the priest in O'Neill, where he took care of the English-German parish in Clearwater and the English one in Stafford. Three months later he became assistant in West Point, where he took care of the German parish in St. Charles and the English in Stanton. Five months later he was sent again to O'Neill. In February 1903 he was made first resident priest in Ravenna, where he took care of the German mission in Schneider and the German-English in Prairie Center. He served in both every other Sunday, making the trip of forty miles by wagon, the alternating Sundays in Ravenna, where he preached in English and Czech. Rev. Duda had tried to have a rectory built in Ravenna, but was unsuccessful. Rev. Hancik, with the aid of the missions, was able to do it. He also took care of the station in Mason City and a German station on the open prairie, where there were but a few frame buildings and a sod schoolhouse. After three years he wished a change and was transferred to the Lincoln diocese. In February 1906 he was made incumbent in Plattsmouth and his activity from that on is listed in the various parishes where he was incumbent.

Rev. Joseph Macourek

   Rev. Hancik was succeeded in Ravenna by Rev. Joseph Macourek, the present incumbent. Rev. Macourek, vicar-general of the Grand Island diocese, was born October 5, 1867 in Troubky, near Prerov, Moravia. He studied in Prerov and in 1888 went to Belgium, where he studied four years and in June 1892 was ordained in Louvain. On September 10, 1892, he came to Omaha, where he assisted Rev. Coka. Rev. Macourek attended to the needs of Czech Catholics in South Omaha, who at that time had no church and met in St. Agnes Church to have mass and sermons in their language. At that time too Rev. Macourek took care of Dodge, which was a mission belonging to Omaha. Four months later he was sent to Creighton, Knox Co., where he served nine years in a German-Irish parish, going from there to Verdigre (Czech), Pierce (German), Bloomfield (Irish and German), Osmond (German) and Schoolcraft (Czech) missions. He built the church in Pierce. He was assigned Lynch and Spencer in Boyd County, eighty-five miles west of Creighton, where he used to go by wagon for two years, twice a year, to preach and hear confessions in Czech, German, English, Polish and French. In 1901 he was made resident priest in Verdigre, where he built a rectory. In 1902 he was sent to St. Paul, in 1906 to Ravenna, where he now is. He used to travel 260 miles west to Lawn, Box Butte County, also to Lodge Pole, Cheyenne County, 277 miles west. Each place had about twenty Catholic families, whom he served thus. From Ravenna he goes twice a month to Schneider Township, where the church of St. Wenceslaus is situated, serving twenty families, and thirty families in the German church of St. Joseph, in that township.


   A mixed parish. Rev. Jos. Hinzman (not a Czech) is incumbent. Priests from neighboring parishes take care of the Czechs at intervals.

   ST. ANN, FRONTIER COUNTY. A mixed parish, the priest from McCook serving.


   A mixed Czech-Polish-Irish-German parish. In 1889 a brick church was built at a cost of $3,500.00 by the Czechs and Poles. At the time there were only about three Irishmen, later more came. The first priest, Rev. Eugenius Geary (Irish) came in July 1889, but the first resident pastor was Rev. John St. Broz, from October 1890 to January 21, 1894. Rev. Broz had in charge also the St. Wenceslaus parish in Warsaw and missions in Custer, Valley and other western counties. His assistant was Rev. John Vlcek. Rev. Broz was succeeded by Rev. Jos. Chundelak, he in 1902 by Rev. Jos. Macourek, who was transferred to Ravenna in 1906. Rev. Macourek was succeeded by Rev. Jos. Rose (German), he in September 1908 by Rev. P. Groeble (German). Rev. Groebel began to plan the building of a new church and in his time the old building was torn down. But this priest was succeeded, after dissension arose, mainly with his German parishioners, by Rev. C. E. Hovorka, an energetic Czech priest, who effected harmony. The church was built at a larger cost than was contributed and the parish labored under a debt. Rev. Hovorka was born February 11, 1884 in Montgomery, Minn., studied in Atchison, Kansas and St. Paul, Minn., was ordained June 11, 1908. He was assistant priest in Grand Island, then resident priest in St. Paul, to October 1911, when he returned to Minnesota. He was succeeded by Rev. Jos. Gebauer (Polish), who in September 1912 was succeeded by Rev. Michal Gruppa (Polish), he by Rev. Manning (Irish), he by Rev. Jasczynski (Polish), and he by Rev. John Gleason, present incumbent. This parish never had much significance for the Slovania colony.


   In the fall of 1913 Rev. Francis B. Tomanek came to Schuyler to organize a Czech parish. Rev. Tomanek was born June 25, 1882, in Moravia, educated there and in Pozony, Hungary; Innsbruck, Austria; Fribourg, Switzerland and St. Paul, Minnesota, where he was ordained May 29, 1913, by Bishop Lawler. In 1914 he was assistant to the pastor of the Holy Family Church in Omaha. After leaving Schuyler in 1915 to 1918 he was absent on leave, between 1919 and 1921 he was pastor in Lynch and in 1922 he left the state. Before a church could be built, services were held in the old church of the Irish congregation, which building was rented for the purpose. In the spring of 1914 a site was purchased by Mrs. Anton Svatora and Mrs. Agnes Lapacek, for $1,100.00, on 11th and Banner streets and donated to the newly organized congregation. Before the year 1914 came to a close, services were being held in the new church. In the early part of 1915 Rev. Tomanek was transferred and was succeeded by Rev. Jan St. Broz, during whose incumbency the church was decorated and two bells purchased, the parish debt amounting to $3,000.00 cleared and progress made under his able leadership. Rev. Broz was transferred to South Omaha in September, 1918, and for a time there was no resident priest until the appointment of Rev. John Krajicek, in the early part of 1919. He was also transferred to South Omaha a year later and in October, 1919, was succeeded by Rev. John Vlcek, who left for Europe in October, 1920, and for a few months again there was no resident priest. In January; 1920, Rev. John Turek took charge and left eight months later. Rev. John Sekera was assistant during Rev. Turek's incumbency, attending to the mission in Wilson. In August Rev. Turek was succeeded by Rev. Bata and in that year Rev. Sekera returned to Bohemia. In January, 1923, Rev. Bata was succeeded by Rev. Joseph J. Vitko, the present incumbent. Rev. Vitko was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 22, 1897. He made his classical studies, two years of philosophy and one year of theology in St. Procopius College, Lisle, Illinois, two years of theology in Ssts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, Michigan, and his final year of theology in St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. He was ordained on July 1, 1922, for the Omaha diocese. He received his first appointment in August, 1922, as administrator in Schuyler, during the absence of Rev. Bata, who was visiting his native land. Upon the return of the latter, in December, 1922, Rev. Vitko was assigned to assist in St. Wenceslaus Church, Omaha, from where he was appointed to take charge of the congregation in Schuyler. The present value of the church property amounts to about $16,000.00, no debts. At present there are about sixty-five families in the parish.


   Established in 1913 and taken care of twice a month by Rev. Joseph Macourek of Ravenna.


   This is at present a mixed parish, taken care of, as far as Czechs are concerned, by the priest in Verdigre. The first resident Czech priest was Rev. Vaclav (Wenceslaus) Kroupa, who was born April 24, 1874, in New York City, N. Y., educated there and in Cincinnati, Ohio, ordained in the Cathedral of New York by Archbishop Corrigan on June 24, 1898. He was assistant to the priest in Chadron from July, 1898 to 1900, when he became incumbent in Spencer. He stayed there until July, 1908, when he was transferred to Ord. From Spencer he served in several other places. He built a large church in Spencer, to replace the little one, and a fine rectory. In Lynch he also built a church, where he used to serve, fifteen miles east of Spencer. He built a church in Baker, ten miles northwest of Spencer, another in Butte, ten miles west of Spencer, and took care of Basin, twenty-two miles west of Spencer. All of these parishes were partly Bohemian, and since his departure have dwindled, for he was a gifted organizer and builder. From Ord he went to New York where he now lives.

   STRATTON, HITCHCOCK COUNTY. A mixed parish, Rev. Jos. Haskamp (not a Czech) serving from Benkleman.


   A country church situated six miles east of Howell, in Colfax County. In May, 1870, two covered wagons left Omaha with the families of Joseph F. Sindelar, Thomas Sindelar, F. J. Jonas, Thomas Dostal and Vaclav Sindelar (single). They settled on Maple Creek, in Colfax County. On Christmas Day, 1871, those of the Catholic faith met for the first time in the sod house of Joseph F. Sindelar, for service. In that year Rev. Ewing, a German priest, came a few times from St. Charles (near West Point) and served on the farm of Peter Schad, five miles northwest of Tabor. Later in the year he went to the farm home of Peter Lodl for the purpose, as did Rev. Sulak and other missionaries. Inasmuch as in 1871 the settlers came in large numbers, they endeavored to build a church the following year, but all were poor beginners; they could not raise the money. So on Sundays and church holidays they gathered in the home of Joseph F. Sindelar. He was known as Joseph Sindelar then, but later another of the same name came and he added the initial. They came from far and wide, so that by ten o'clock a goodly crowd had gathered. At half aften ten, when the bell hung on the window-frame had been rung by Joe (Jos. B. Sindelar) they entered for worship. The altar was a plain wooden cross. After a song by the congregation, one of the older men conducted mass, which was sung, then another read from the Scriptures. This was followed by the sermon. Joseph Krajicek, a settler, used to be bell ringer in Bohemia and had received from a priest two old books containing sermons, which were very useful in this emergency. Joseph B. Sindelar (son of Joseph F.), who has furnished data for the history of this church and the names of the founders given below, was born in Jickovice, Milevsko, Bohemia, November 11, 1853, and came to the United States when fourteen years old. He attended public schools in Chicago and Nebraska, moving to the latter place in 1870. Later he took a homestead near Howell, which he still owns. When the town of Howell was established, he moved there and engaged in general merchandise and creamery business, being now retired. He served two terms as justice of the peace, one term as county assessor and nineteen years as precinct assessor, besides serving in the legislature as representative from the twenty-seventh district. The following are the names of the founders of the parish of Tabor: Joseph F. Sindelar, born in Jickovice, Milevsko; Joseph Sindelar, born in Stehlovice; Thomas Sindelar, Stehlovice; Vaclav Sindelar, Stehlovice; John Sindelar, Jickovice; Joseph Krajicek, Rimovice; Joseph F. Krajicek, Rimovice; Frank Strudl, Jickovice; John Strudl, Jickovice; Joseph Mejstrik, Vilimov, Habry; John and Joseph Prusa, Kostejn; Joseph Kaspar, County of Tabor; Matej Dostal, Velka Volesna, M. Brod; Joseph B. Svoboda, Vsehrdy; Joseph Houfek, Knezice, Caslav; Herman Mestl, Strejckovice; John Nemec, Spacice, Chotebor; Vaclav Janous, Hors. Tyn, Plzen; Frank Spevak, Spacice, Chotebor; Joseph Brichacek, Jickovice; John Pojar, Stryckovice; Joseph Misek, Okresanec, Habry; Vaclav Hruska, Stuparovice, Habry; Frank Konvalin, Habry, Caslav; Frank Evert, Stryckovice and Frank Semerad, Frydnava, Habry.

   In 1874 a public school was built and services conducted therein. By that time the members were able to build a church. However, a church had already been built in Heun, eight miles west, and those living near joined that congregation, which depleted the ranks of the one in Tabor. Later they succeeded in building a church which was consecrated September 1, 1880, by Rev. Francis Tuerk, who named the settlement Tabor, because it is easily pronounced in English. Joseph Sindelar (not the Jos. F.) donated three acres of land for the church and cemetery and also made the first contribution in money. Joseph Kaspar brought the first load of brick from Schuyler, Joseph Krajicek the first load of lime. Jos. B. Sindelar, as an officer of the church, laid the first brick (only one), Joseph F. Sindelar drove in the first nail. Frank Strudl did the masonry work. Miss Barbara Hajek, now Mrs. F. K. Sindelar, made the first wreath when the church was roofed, and the first child to be christened there was Frank, son of Jos. B. Sindelar. The first couple to be married there were Joseph F. Krajicek and Anna Vlasak. The first burial was that of the infant of J. B. Svoboda and the first adult Joseph Sindelar, who had given the site.

   From this church issued the first procession of pilgrims, after the fashion in the old country, to Heun and Olean. The young girls came first, carrying the statue of the Virgin on a litter pedestal, then came Mr. Frank Vondruska's band, then the choir with its leader, and the remainder of the participants followed. The procession walked thus about half a mile, then got into wagons and proceeded. There were no buggies or carriages in those days, to say nothing of automobiles.

   There has never been a resident priest. The following have served from Heun: Rev. Joseph Hovorka, to 1890. Rev. John Hodyc, 1890--1894. Rev. John VIcek, 1894--1897. Rev. Charles Zak, 1897--1904. Rev. Joseph Drbal, 1905--1915. Rev. Joseph Bata, 1915--1917. Rev. Francis Szczepuchowski (Cechopovsky), 1917--1918. Rev. Joseph Bartik, 1118--1919. The following year various priests took their turn and in 1920 Rev. Anton Folta, the present incumbent in Heun, serves. Rev. Szczepuchowski was born January 24, 1864, in Wittenburg, East Prussia, educated in Baden, Fribourg, Switzerland, and ordained July 13, 1913, in Geneva by Bishop Bouvet. In 1914 he was assistant to Rev. Fr. Gluba, the Polish priest in South Omaha, in 1917 he was in St. Joseph Hospital, Omaha, and in 1918 in Primrose. In 1919 he left on a leave of absence.


   A mixed parish, the priest from McCook serving. In 1889 a small church was built and the parish named Tasov at the request of Rev. Philip Maly, for his native town. The first mass was celebrated by him July 30, 1889. Rev. Anton Dada took care of it later, but there is no Czech priest there now.


   A mixed Czech-Irish parish. Established in 1913 by Rev. Adolph Mosler of Crete, who used to come. The priests from Odell used to come to the close of 1914. In 1915 Rev. Francis S. Kopecky used to come from Milligan each Sunday, once for early mass, once for high mass, thus alternating. In 1916 Rev. Vaclav Supik, also of Milligan, served in the same manner, until January, 1926, when Rev. Verhelst (not a Czech), present incumbent in Milligan, succeeded him.


   The first step toward organizing the Czech Catholics in Touhy and vicinity was the founding of a lodge of the Catholic Workman, in 1897, by Anton B. Chapek and Rev. Alois J. Klein. It was under the spiritual guidance of St. John's Church in Weston. In 1902 a parish was organized, with Rev. Matej Bor of Weston, chairman; Frank Hruby, secretary and F. J. Hakel, treasurer. The name of St. Vitus was chosen. The site was purchased from Mr. Widman, plans were made by Jacob Ort of Wahoo and the church erected by James O'Donnell of Wahoo. It is a frame building inside, surrounded by a brick wall outside. The cornerstone was laid May 6, 1903, and the church completed in September. On October 7, 1903, the church was dedicated by Rev. Rippenberger, who acted in the capacity of the Bishop of Lincoln. The cost of the site, building and furnishings was $8,000.00. The first pastor was Rev. M. Bor, who came every third Sunday from Weston. Later other priests have rendered their services, some for a longer period, namely: Rev. John Vlcek, Rev. Victor Mlejnek, and some for a shorter time, as Rev. Jaroslav Hancik, Rev. Anton Bednar, Rev. Alois Gryc. In 1913 a rectory was built and Rev. Francis J. Kopecky became first resident priest. Rev. Kopecky was born in Jincin, October 25, 1885, educated there and in Kralove Hradec, where he was ordained October 31, 1909, by Bishop Doubrava. At present Touhy is an independent parish with Rev. Martin Bogar as incumbent, and over eighty parishioners.

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