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Catholic Parishes

(C - N)


    A Mr. Noteware, in 1868 Superintendent of Immigration for the Union Pacific Railroad Company, lived in Cedar Hill and was a friend and advisor to the Czech settlers, who used to gather for worship in a public school building. He donated forty acres of land on which to build a church and his wife, Mrs. Henrietta Coltan Noteware, helped him in building and furnishing same. The church was consecrated in 1880 by Rev. V. Kocarnik (by other accounts in 1879 by Rev. Cyril Augustinsky, who had taken care of the congregation for some time). It was Rev. Augustinsky who got the committee together and planned the church, 40x60 in size. Until 1901 this mission was assigned to various parishes: Columbus, Fremont, Abie and Plasi. Thus Rev. Augustinsky was succeeded by the Revs. Coka, Kocarnik, Koutek, Zalud, Stutz, Hovora, Bor and Vlcek (in later years from Plasi), Rev. Vlcek being the last of these. In 1901 Cedar Hill was attached to the parish of Prague, since which time priests serve from there. During Rev. Hancik's time (when he was in Prague) the church was remodelled and a lodge hall built.


   A mixed Czech-Irish parish, Rev. A. J. Miller, present incumbent.


   The cornerstone of the church was laid August 15, 1902, when Rev. Petlach of Howell took care of the congregation, but there was no resident priest. From 1902 to 1905 Rev. Bednar (his successor in Howell) took care of the congregation until 1905, when he was succeeded by Rev. Charles Zak, also from Howell. The parish was incorporated February 11, 1907, and in that year Rev. Joseph Bata became resident priest. In 1918 a rectory was built, costing $11,000. In 1920 the church was remodelled. Rev. Bata was succeeded August 25, 1921, by Rev. Charles Z. Petlach, the present incumbent.


   From 1872 to 1875 Rev. Francis Bobal visited Crete occasionally, as a missionary priest. During his time the Czechs of Crete and Wilber wished to erect a church, but Rev. Bobal disapproved, owing to lack of Czech priests. In September, 1873, Rev. Fr. Ferd. Lechleitner (not Czech) took charge of Crete and its missions, until April 1, 1881.

   Czechs who understood German attended St. James church. In May, 1878, Rev. J. Smutny of Wilber took care of Crete, but he died the next year. From 1877 to 1885 two Benedictine priests, Rev. Vaclav Kocarnik and Rev. Siegfried Klima, aided in serving and in June, 1885, Rev. Francis Pold S. J. took charge until April, 1888, when he was recalled to Bohemia. Until May, 1889, the priests in Wilber looked after Crete. In November of that year Rev. E. A. Bouska became first resident priest. He purchased several lots with a school building thereon, which he remodelled into a rectory and built a frame church 36x64, which was consecrated by Bishop Bonacum on November 30, 1890, in honor of St. Ludmila, a Bohemian saint.

   Rev. Bouska was born November 18, 1865, in Borovany near Tabor, ordained in Chur, Switzerland, July 14, 1889. In 1891 differences between him and the bishop arose, which terminated in his leaving the church. In 1894, after due expiation, he was re-instated. The bishop in question was of a pugnacious temperament, some of his many altercations with priests resulting in lawsuits. In December, 1891, Rev. Bouska was succeeded in Crete by Rev. Alois J. Klein, he in September, 1893, by Rev. Francis Zalud, he in March, 1897, by Rev. Joseph Bartik, who was resident in Milligan and came at intervals. Rev. Bartik was succeeded in August, 1897 by Rev. Fred Henn (not a Czech) from Wilber, he in November, 1898, by Rev. Joseph Kuen (not a Czech), he in July, 1899, by Rev. Vaclav Pokorny, and he in February, 1902, by Rev. Adolph Mosler (not a Czech). Rev. Mosler was succeeded in February, 1904, by Rev. Bartik, he in February, 1905, by Rev. Anton Bednar, he in May, 1906, by Rev. Jaroslav Hancik, who used to come from Plattsmouth, and from November, 1908, to February, 1915, was resident priest. From 1915 to 1917 Rev. Mosler again had charge and in that year the parish was abolished, owing to lack of support. The property was sold and the proceeds transferred to the Sacred Heart parish, in which church Czech Catholics of Crete worship.


   A mixed parish. Priests from Brainard, Bruno and Abie come to serve the Czechs, at intervals. Rev. Francis W. Cadek, a Czech priest, was there September 7, 1922, to July 30, 1925, as assistant to Rev. Sproll, then he was transferred to Deweese.


   From July 9, 1909, to February 9, 1912, Rev. Joseph Blacha took care of the congregation and about that time (1912) built the church and rectory. Rev. Blacha was born in Silesia, Austria, February 10, 1876, was educated in Ivrea, Italy, S. Trond, Belgium, and St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland, where he was ordained June 12, 1909, by Cardinal Gibbons and served his first mass in Wahoo, Nebraska. He remained in Deweese until 1912. Between 1912 and November 21, 1915, Rev. Alois Gryc and Rev. Victor Mlejnek were incumbents. Rev. Gryc was born June 19, 1880, in Ruprechtov near Vyskov, Moravia, ordained July 30, 1905, came to Kansas in 1909, then to Iowa and then to Deweese. From November 21, 1915, to the fall of 1917 Rev. Francis Kopecky had charge, when he was succeeded by Rev. Jaroslav Hancik, who used to come from Crete and who also took care of Loucky. While in Deweese Rev. Hancik was instrumental in gathering $1,600.00 to help free Bohemia during the World War. On November 1, 1923, Rev. Hancik was succeeded by Rev. Ignac Skopal and he in turn by Rev. O. Schlachter (not a Czech) to July 30, 1925, when Rev. Francis Cadek, the present incumbent, took charge. Rev. Cadek was born August 30, 1890, in Chicago, Illinois, educated there and in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was ordained by Bishop Glennon on June 10, 1922.


   In 1883 some of the Czech parishioners of the mixed parish at Olean, Colfax County, became dissatisfied and met in F. Chudomelka's farm home, where they decided to establish a cemetery, which they did five miles east of Olean. Frank Karnik and John Stanek each donated two and a half acres for the purpose. On February 3, 1884, a meeting was held, when it was decided to build a church. The lumber was brought from Scribner and Rev. Francis Tuerk consecrated both church and cemetery. In 1886 the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad built to Scribner and the town of Dodge was established, the church building then being removed there. The first mass in Dodge was celebrated in 1889.

   In 1890 the church was made a mission and Vicar-General V. Coka and his assistant Rev. J. Macourek conducted services. On January 4, 1891, Rev. J. Rech came from Vienna, but returned there the following May. He was the first resident priest. Rev. Coka and his assistant Rev John Hodyc then served from Omaha and were followed by Rev. John Vranek and his assistant Rev. Joseph Chundelak. At this time a new church was built and consecrated on November 12, 1893. On January 1, 1894, Rev. John Stephen Broz took charge. While in Dodge Rev. Broz had charge of Howell. In 1894 a rectory was built and the church furnished and in 1911 the first Catholic school in the state, where Bohemian is taught, was erected and established, through the efforts of Rev. Broz. For biography see "Priests Who Have Achieved Distinction." In September, 1918, Rev. Broz was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Drbal, he in turn by Rev. C. Z. Petlach, on May 30, 1920, and in August, 1921, Rev. John N. Turek succeeded Rev. Petlach. Rev. Turek, of whom more detailed data was not obtainable, was an exceptionally good musician, which helped to keep the young people together. In September, 1922, he left for Lidgerwood, North Dakota, and was succeeded by Rev. Edward Cepuran. Rev. Cepuran was transferred to Omaha in January, 1923, and was succeeded by Rev. Wenceslaus (Vaclav) Havlicek, the present incumbent. Rev. Havlcek was born September 14, 1889, in Horni Lukavice, Plzen, studied classics in Budejovice, philosophy and theology in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he was ordained July 16, 1916. He came to New York April 20, 1920, to Omaha on May 7th of that year, a week later was appointed to Verdigre, then transferred to Dodge.


   A country church, built in 1881. Priests from Heun served until the parish in Schuyler was established, since which time they serve from there.


   The beginnings of this parish date from the time when at the close of 1895 several Catholic families organized to purchase a cemetery site. On February 19, 1896, the first burial was conducted by Rev. Alois J. Klein, for a child named Mary Hotovy, and he was requested to take care of the members at intervals. He hesitated until permission from the bishop should arrive to formally separate Dwight from the parish of Brainard. Rev. Joseph Bartik of Milligan was therefore invited and he served the first mass in a public school building on March 1, 1896. Upon the advice of Rev. Klein the members of the cemetery association petitioned the bishop, asking leave to establish a parish and this was granted. On April 21, 1896, Rev. Klein served mass in the school house and later was instrumental in building a church 32x68, where he celebrated the first mass on September 8, 1899. He also furnished and improved the structure, founded a number of societies, added one acre of land to the cemetery, enlarged the church site, purchased a rectory and erected a lodge hall. In March, 1900, Rev. Vaclav Pokorny began to come from Crete, but February 11, 1901, Dwight again was made a part of Brainard, Rev. Klein in charge. July 1, 1910, Rev. Michael Pazourek became first resident priest. He was born January 6, 1884, in Strelice near Brno, Moravia, studied in Old Brno, Brno and Kromeriz, finishing in St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland, where he was ordained by Cardinal Gibbons June 21, 1910. He celebrated his first mass in Nebraska in Abie, in the old church, June 29th and shortly after was sent to Dwight, although the rectory was not ready, so he lived in Brainard. On August 1 he settled there and had charge until October 15, 1924. Aside from Dwight, he took care of the parish in Bee from 1910 to 1918 and in 1920 in Loma. In October, 1924, his health being not of the best, he took a vacation and feeling that his strength was not sufficient for a large parish, was transferred in January, 1925, to Wilber. He was succeeded in Dwight by Rev. Ferdinand Suesser, the present incumbent, who was born February 8, 1867, in Kretin, Moravia, educated in Olomouc and the Gregorian University of Rome, where he was ordained by Cardinal Respighi in 1899. He came to Nebraska October 15, 1919.

   During Rev. Pazourek's time the parish prospered, the debt was paid and in 1912 a hall built. In 1914 a new church, 43x115, was built, costing with furnishings $30,000. In 1921 a school, costing over $100,000. Three lots were bought, so that now the parish owns a whole block (300x420) besides the land (125x130) on which its building stand. In 1910 there were 80 families in the parish, now there are 182.


   A mixed parish. Neighboring Czech priests come at intervals to hear confessions. Rev. J. J. Carey is present incumbent.


   A mixed parish. From March, 1907, to January, 1909, Rev. Matej Nemec took care of the Czechs and from July, 1909, to February, 1912, Rev. Blacha. The present incumbent is Rev. McTighe.


Rev. Joseph Drbal

   In the years 1871 and 1872 Rev. Ewing of West Point held services in the homes of settlers. Between 1873 and 1875 Rev. Francis Bobal and Rev. Sulak, missionaries, alternated. From 1876 to 1879 Rev. John A. Blaske served regularly. In 1878 it was agreed to build a church and establish a cemetery, for which purpose John Folda and Wilhelm Heun each donated five acres of land. A church 30x60 was built, with Rev. Blaske as incumbent. He was succeeded by Rev. Cyril Augustinsky, who used to come from Columbus, and he in turn by Rev. Francis Tuerk of Olean. Then a rectory was built and Rev. Philip Maly was transferred from Crete. He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Hovorka of Abie, who served until 1890. From 1890 to 1894 Rev. John Hodyc was incumbent, then from 1894 to 1897 Rev. John Vlcek and from 1897 to 1904 Rev. Charles Zak. During Rev. Zak's time, in 1903, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the church was celebrated. In 1905 Rev. Joseph Drbal, born April 18, 1874, in Osek, Moravia, ordained July 30, 1899, in Linz, Austria, came to the United States August 25, 1904, became incumbent, having served a few months previously as assistant in Greeley Center. In 1915 Rev. Drbal was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Bata, he in 1917 was succeeded by Rev. Francis Szczepuchowski (a Pole, called by Czechs Cechopovsky). in 1918 Rev. Bartik began to come from Omaha (where he died February 1, 1919). For a year thereafter various priests from the vicinity looked after the congregation and in 1920 Rev. Anton Folta, the present incumbent, took charge. He was born in Stara Bela, Moravia, came to this country in 1913 and worked here as a miner. Having saved some money, he studied in Milwaukee and was ordained May 14, 1919, in St. Cecilia's Cathedral in Omaha, by Archibishop Harty. He celebrated his first mass in St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha, and until January, 1920, was assistant to Rev. Vranek there, at which time he was transferred to Heun.


   During Rev. Broz's incumbency in Dodge, he used to take care of this parish. In 1901 Rev. Charles Z. Petlach began to conduct services regularly. Rev. Petlach was born January 2, 1872, in Blansko, Moravia, ordained in Vienna in 1895, came to the United States in November, 1898. At first he was incumbent in Kearney, to December 1, 1901. In 1902 he was succeeded in Howell by Rev. Anton Bednar, who in turn was followed by Rev. Charles L. Zak, in January, 1905. Rev. Zak served until his death on April 17, 1920, when the present incumbent, Rev. Joseph Drbal, was transferred from Heun. The cornerstone of the church was laid in May, 1893. The congregation has grown from 28 to 150 families.


   This postoffice is now abolished. In the late eighties and early 90's there were several fair-sized Czech colonies in Box Butte County, but the drouths drove many away. The parish of Lawn was established in 1888 by the following: Joseh Panek, Thomas Hovorka, Joseph Turek, Ignac Studeny, Joseph Stika, John Pokorny, Frank Prochazka, Joseph Sabatka, Vaclav Turek and Vojtech Melmer. The first church, built by Joseph Turek of logs brought from the Pine Ridge country, later was replaced by a nice frame building, 22x30. In the early nineties the following priests conducted services: Rev. John St. Broz, Rev. Ladislav Kloucek (born in Chrudim, came to Wisconsin in January, 1900, in 1904 went to Cleveland, Ohio) and Rev. Charles Zak. The parish now is not entirely Czech and priests from Chadron take care of it. During Rev. Broz's time the poor homesteaders suffered greatly as a result of drouth, even drinking water being scarce. Some had to bring it from the Niobrara river, six miles distant. There never was a rectory, consequently no resident priest.

   Another Czech parish in the vicinity was east of Hemingford, the same county, where Rev. Broz held services in the sod house of a Mr. Urbanovsky. Mrs. Urbanovsky arranged a table, decorated it with prairie flowers and Rev. Broz supplemented with such altar furnishings as he could bring in a valise. Later a sod church was built, the parishioners hauling cedar and fir logs from a forest thirty miles distant. Of these rafters and pews were made. These churches at Lawn and Hemingford at the time were the westernmost Bohemian churches in Nebraska, but neither remained as originally established. The parish in Lawn is now a mixed one, and the Hemingford church has been abandoned altogether, some of the parishioners now belonging to the mixed parish in Hemingford.


   A mixed parish. In 1892 the German and Czech parishioners (the latter in a minority) who were affiliated with the rural church in St. Stephen two and a half miles from Lawrence, desired to build their own church, but the incumbent of St. Stephen, Rev. Jordan Stutz, would not agree, fearing it would weaken his parish. However, they persisted and in 1893 did build a church. Inasmuch as it was a mixed parish, it was desired to get someone who could preach in several languages and August 27, 1893, Rev. Alois J. Klein, then incumbent in Crete, celebrated the first mass in the new church, preaching in Bohemian, German and English. This was repeated on November 22, 1893. Rev. Francis X. Hovora (who already in 1889 had been for several months in St. Stephen) became the first Czech incumbent in 1900. During his time a frame school was built. He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Fleckinger, Rev. B. Sproll and Rev. Chas. Becker (all non-Czechs). Rev. Becker was instrumental in building a new brick school which was consecrated October 24, 1917, and a new brick church was dedicated in 1925. When the parish in Deweese was established, the number of parishioners in Lawrence decreased.


   Prior to 1901 priests from Abie and Cedar Hill looked after Linwood. In that year a church was built and dedicated September 8, 1901. The parish was affiliated with Abie and priests from there serve.


   In 1908 a committee was elected under the guidance of Rev. Al. J. Klein of Brainard, for the purpose of building a church. In 1909 two lots were acquired in town and an acre of ground for a cemetery. In 1911 the church was built, 36x76, costing with furnishings $5,300.00. Rev. Klein used to come from Brainard every third Sunday until November 30, 1915. During his time the church was furnished and in 1912 consecrated by Bishop Tihen. On October 1, 1915, the parish was placed under Touhy and Rev. Victor Mlejnek became incumbent. It prospered, the debt was paid and the church decorated inside. In September, 1919, Rev. Mlejnek was succeeded by Rev. Alois Gryc, but in December of that year he had to resign temporarily on account of illness. Rev. Michael Pazourek used to come from Dwight until September 22, 1920, when Rev. Francis Kopecky took up the charge, coming from Touhy, until September 15, 1925. Then Rev. Pazourek again conducted services for a month and on October 25, 1925, bishop F. J. Beckman made it a regular parish, with Rev. Michael Pazourek as first resident priest.


   Rev. Vaclav Kroupa, who was in Spencer from 1900 to 1908, built the church in Lynch and conducted services there. Some time later Rev. Francis Tomanek had charge and built a Catholic hospital. In 1918 Rev. J. Krajicek (born December 24, 1889, near Lawn, Box Butte County) was sent to Lynch for a few months. He studied in Atchison, Kansas, Menlo Park, California, and St. Louis, where he was ordained June 14, 1917, by Archbishop Glennon. He served his first mass in Lidgerwood, North Dakota, and was assistant to Rev. Vranek of Omaha until July, 1918, when he was sent to Lynch. There he built the rectory. This parish now is a mixed one, those named having been the only Czech priests.


   The first priest was Rev. Joseph Bartik, who was born January 13, 1857, in Dolni Zahori near Pisek, where he studied and later in Ceske Budejovice, being ordained there July 16, 1882, by Bishop Jirsik. In this country he first had charge of the church in Cascotown, Wisconsin, in 1889, when he came to Milligan, remaining there to 1902, when he was transferred to Plattsmouth. In 1905 he was transferred to Lesterville, South Dakota, and later to Omaha, where he died February 1, 1919. In Milligan he was succeeded by Rev. A. Mosler (not a Czech) who used to come from Crete until about 1908. He was succeeded by Rev. Francis Kopecky, who became incumbent on February 28, 1914. In the interim neighboring priests served. Rev. Kopecky was born October 25, 1885, in Jicin, educated there and in Kralove Hradec, where he was ordained by Bishop Doubrava. He came to Nebraska January 2, 1914, from that time to February 28 was assistant in Crete and then was sent to Milligan. Rev. Kopecky was followed on November 14, 1915, by Rev. V. Supik who was born in Bohemia in 1868 and came to this country with his parents when two years old. He became a member of the Redemptorist Order, was a priest in New York, then Baltimore and then came to Milligan. In January, 1926, he was transferred to Prague and died in an Omaha hospital on April 6, 1926, is buried in Baltimore. The present incumbent is Rev. Verhelst, not a Czech.


St. Wenceslaus Church in Valley County

   This parish was established in 1882 and some of the founders were: Joseph Ptacnik, Matej Novotny, Vojtech Hosek, Frank S. Hosek, John Princ, Joseph Novotny Sr., Joseph Kokes, Martin and Frank Papousek, Vaclav Studlar, Jacob Kosmata and Vojtech Parkos. The name Netolice was chosen because most of the parishioners had come from a town of that name in Bohemia. The church was built on Vaclav Studlar's land, the cemetery being on his land also, about twelve miles west of Ord. The first priest who conducted services was Polish, Rev. Klaviter, who lived nearby on his homestead. Soon after that Czech priests from Warsaw (near St. Paul in Howard County) began to serve, as follow: Rev. Philip Maly, Rev. John St. Broz, Rev. John Vlcek and Rev. Joseph Chundelak. When a rectory was built in 1899, Rev. Matej Nemec became first resident priest, serving there until 1906, since which time there is no resident priest. Rev. Nemec's biography is given in the history of Wahoo parish. From 1906 to 1908 priests came from Warsaw and when in 1908 the parish in Ord was established, Rev. W. Kroupa being first incumbent, took care also of Netolice. He was succeeded by Rev. Ferdinand Suesser, and he by Rev. Bartholomew Chudacek. After Rev. Chudacek's departure, Netolice was placed under Sargent, whence Rev. Hinzman (not a Czech) served. His successor, Rev. Stockmeier, now takes care of the congregation. In 1892 the first church was replaced by a large one, built by Rev. Broz.

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