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Catholic Parishes(O - P)
This is a mixed parish. In the early eighties the members met for services in each other's homes, Rev. August Rausch (a Silesian) and Rev. Philip Maly coming at intervals. In 1886 a church was built by Czech and Irish parishioners, and in 1888 Rev. Maly became incumbent. A year and a half later he returned to his native land. From that time until 1902 priests from neighboring Czech parishes used to come, but since then there has been none. The present incumbent is Rev. J. F. Bonenkent, who comes from Lincoln.
St. Wenceslaus--The first Czech priest to conduct services was Rev. Francis Bobal, as missionary. In July, 1877, when Rev. Vaclav Kocarnik arrived, it was decided to provide for a church. Rev. Kocarnik was born March 8, 1845, In Kutna Hora and in 1866 entered the St. Vincencius Monastery of the Benedictine Order in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where he was ordained July 17, 1874. He came to Omaha in 1877 and in 1880 was transferred to Plasi, Saunders County, from there going to Chicago in 1885, where in 1894 he was made prior of the Bohemian Benedictine Monastery of St. Procopius. He died there May 14, 1912.
Bishop O'Conner of Omaha, in 1877, bought the dance hall and saloon owned by Vaclav Kucera situated on South Thirteenth Street, between William and Pierce. Rev. Kocarnik made the hall over into a church, the saloon into a school and Kucera's home into a rectory. Rev. Kocarnik was succeeded by Rev. Siegfried Klima O. S. B., who had charge until 1881, but the income was small, the parishioners few and poor, so he could not stay. As an example of those times, Rev. Kocarnik, in order to gain a sustenance, conducted a grocery store in Plasi. In the interim between 1881 and 1885--priests from St. Joseph's Hospital assisted, with Rev. Kocarnik coming from Plasi once a month. In 1885 Rev. Vilem (William) Coka came from Chicago and took charge. He was born in 1840 in Cernovir near Olomouc, ordained in the latter city on July 5, 1866. He came to Omaha from the largest church then in the United States, that of St. Procopius in Chicago. In 1887 the new church, in use at present, was built through his efforts. In 1889 he was named vicar-general and when Bishop O'Connor was ill, he was named administrator of the Omaha diocese. Later, owing to unfortunate circumstances caused by dissension, he left the Czechs and was priest in Monterey, Cuming County, serving also in Snyder, German communities. He did not do this because he ceased being a Czech at heart, for he never did, but because he desired to find peace amid other surroundings. He died in an Omaha hospital on July 16, 1902, and left the memory of a kindly priest who preached and lived the gospel of love.
Rev. Coka was succeeded on January 8, 1893, by Rev. John Vranek. For biography see "Priests Who Have Achieved Distinction." At his death he was succeeded by the Rev. Edward J. Chapuran (Cepuran) M. A., who was born in Omaha, Nebraska, January 30, 1898, his parents being John Cepuran and Josephine Fanferlik. He studied in Creighton University, Omaha, St. Procopius College and Seminary, Lisle, Illinois, and was ordained in St. Cecilia's Cathedral, Omaha, on July 1, 1922, by Archbishop Harty. He offered first mass on July 2, 1922, in St. Wenceslaus Church, where he had been baptized as a babe and where he was appointed assistant to Rev. Vranek. From September 1, 1922, to January 12, 1923, he was in Dodge, when he was recalled to Omaha to assist Rev. Vranek, whom he has succeeded and is the present incumbent. During Rev. Chapuran's college and seminary life, he helped to organize various activities for the benefit of Czechs. Himself a musician, he was active in music and orchestra work in the St. Procopius' College, Lisle, Illinois, and his work in constructive and practical sociology earned him the title of Master of Arts, conferred upon him by the Creighton University, Omaha, May 2, 1924. In cooperation with Professor Charvat he succeeded in putting the Czech language on par with others taught in the University, being director of the Czech Department there and also has charge of the Apologetic and Latin Departments at Mt. St. Mary's College, Omaha.
This church is situated in what is called South Omaha, although now a part of Greater Omaha. In 1893 Rev. Vranek called a meeting of those who were interested and who had been organized by Rev. Coka, and it was decided to buy the northwest corner of 22nd & U Streets, two lots for $1100.00. In 1894 Rev. John Hodyc built the church which cost $3,000.00 and was consecrated January 6, 1895. For biography see "Priests Who Have Achieved Distinction".
Rev. Hodyc was succeeded by Rev. Charles C. Zak (born August 31, 1869 in Krnsko near Mlada Boleslav, and ordained in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 9, 1893). He first served in western Nebraska, then in Heun and then in South Omaha, where he was succeeded in January, 1905, by Rev. John Vlcek. Rev. Vlcek was born November 16, 1866 in Mladikov near Vimperk, ordained in Budejovice, July 17, 1892, and came to the United States March 22, 1893, participating in service in West Point, St. Paul, Heun and South Omaha. In 1900 he was transferred to Plasi, and died February 5, 1923, in Hora, Vlkovnice, Bohemia. His successor in 1900 was Rev. Anton Bednar, born in Chvalkovice, Vitkov, Moravia, studied in Prerov, theology in Olomouc, where he was ordained July 5, 1893, by Cardinal Fuerstenburg. He came to the United States January 20, 1900, and South Omaha was his first incumbency. In November 1902 he was sent to Howell, and in December 1904 went to Pennsylvania, where he died February 15, 1907. He is buried in South Omaha. His successor in 1902 was Rev. Joseph Chundelak, born January 20, 1868, in Kamenne Zbozi, Mladoboleslavsko, ordained in Omaha, January 5, 1893, where he was appointed assistant to Rev. Vranek. In January 1894 he was transferred to St. Paul, Nebraska, and in October 1902 to South Omaha, where he died September 9, 1918. He was succeeded by Rev. John St. Broz, who too died there a year later, September 2, 1919. Rev. Broz was succeeded by Rev. J. Krajicek, present incumbent, whose biography is given in the history of Lynch parish.
In September, 1916, about forty families, living south of Hanscom Park, petitioned Archbishop Harty for permission to establish a new parish in their territory, which was granted. On September 25, 1916. three and part of a fourth lot on South Thirtieth Street, between Gold and Wright Streets, were purchased by the committee consisting of: Anton J. Barak, Anton B. Chapek (Capek); Joseph and John Kotrba, Joseph Pecha and Frank Novotny. In October 1917 the Rev. Leopold Blaschko, at the time assistant to Rev. Vranek of St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha, was appointed pastor of the new parish to be organized. On October 10, 1917 the parish was incorporated under the name of St. Adalbert's Church of Omaha, Nebr. In April 1918 the present rectory and part of a lot on 30th. & Wright Streets were purchased and contract let for the erection of a two story brick building. In May 1918 the cornerstone was laid and on Christmas Eve, 1918, the first mass celebrated in the new church, located in the basement of the new building, the two upper floors serving as a school and residence of the sisters. The solemn dedication did not take place until September 12, 1919, by Archbishop Harty. In 1919 an auditorium was erected and enlarged in 1921. On August 28, 1924 an additional lot on 31st. & Wright Streets was purchased, making the total value of the property to date about $65,000.00. During the school year 1919--1920 two sisters were in charge of the school, in the fall of 1920 the Ven. Sisters de N. D. took charge.
Rev. Leopold Blaschko, the first incumbent, was born October 31, 1885 in Lomy, Bohemia, a village near Jindrichuv Hradec. On May 17, 1902, he came to this country, locating at Stuart, Nebraska, and worked on a farm for several years. He was anxious to obtain a higher education. After attending the Stuart High School, he studied classics in Conception College, Conception, Missouri, philosophy in St. Procopius' College, Lisle, Illinois, and then Bishop Scannell of Omaha sent him to Almo Collegio Capranica, Rome, Italy, from where he attended the Gregorian University. On account of the World War he was recalled by the bishop after a two years' sojourn in Italy and completed his theological studies in St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. There he was ordained on April 3, 1917, by Bishop J. Trobec and the day following was assigned assistant to the late Rev. (Monsignore) Vranek of St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha, where he remained to January 1, 1919, when he became incumbent of St., Adalbert's. Easter Sunday 1917 he celebrated his first mass in St. Wenceslaus Church, Omaha, and April 10, 1917, his first solemn high mass in St. Boniface Church, Stuart, Nebr. While assistant at St. Wenceslaus, he organized St. Adalbert parish and built the church and school. As president of the Hanscom Park Improvement Club, with the cooperation of City Commissioner Joseph Koutsky, the streets adjoining the street property were graded and paved in the spring of 1925, changing Sheeley district into a fine residence district. Rev. Blaschko died in the spring of 1927.
This is a mixed parish, although Rev. Francis B. Tomanek, a Czech priest, established it in May 1918, and services were held in the German Home, on South Thirteenth Street. The present incumbent is Rev. A. M. Senger, not a Czech.
The parish was organized July 19, 1908, with Rev. Vaclav Kroupa as first resident priest, he being transferred from Spencer. Previous to that time, priests used to come from St. Paul and Warsaw in Howard County, and from August 1899 Rev. Matej Nemec, who had become incumbent in Netolice (Geranium) attended to the wants of the congregation. Re was succeeded by Rev. Jooka (not a Czech) from Sargent and Rev. Macourek from St. Paul, Nebr. In the fall of 1908 Rev. Kroupa began building the church, which was finished the following winter, at a cost of $6,000.00. In the meantime services were held in various places. In 1913 Rev. Kroupa built the rectory, at a cost of $4,000.00. In March 1914 he was succeeded by visiting priests until August, when from August 1914 to October 1919, Rev. Ferdinand Suesser served. From October 1919 to June 1921 Rev. Bart. Chudacek was incumbent, and he was followed by Rev. Michael Lawler (not a Czech) for the parish now is a mixed one. Since his coming Netolice have been annexed to Sargent and Rev. Lawler devotes his entire time to Ord.
This parish was originally called Plzen (Pilsen), then changed to Plasi, as it conflicted, in mail delivery, with Pilger, Stanton County. Rev. Francis Sulak, a missionary priest, served the first mass in the farm home of a pioneer, Joseph Simanek, in September 1871. He alternated with Rev. F. Bobal, serving in homes or school buildings. In 1873 forty acres of land were bought and a cemetery established. In 1877 building of a church was begun and in March 1878 the first services were held by Rev. Vaclav Kocarnik, the first resident priest. After his departure in 1885, the parish was without a priest for six months, Rev. Coka coming from Omaha. In October 1885 Rev. Jordan Stutz (not a Czech) took charge. He was succeeded for a short time by Rev. Philip Maly. During Rev. Stutz's time, inasmuch as he was a German, dissension arose, and it was not until the latter part of 1889, on October 4, when Rev. Francis Hovora came, that peace ensued. In 1900 Rev. Hovora left for Lawrence, Nebr. and later for Pennsylvania. He was born Nov. 21, 1865 in Ceske Budejovice, came to the United States in 1888 and was ordained in Lincoln, Nebr., on February 5, 1889. His successor was Rev. John Vlcek. On April 14, 1901, the church burned and Rev. Vlcek built a larger one. In April 1910 Rev. Vlcek was succeeded by Rev. Victor Mlejnek, to August 2, 1914, and he by Rev. Alois Gryc, who served from December 14, 1914 to July 20, 1919. From October 1919 to November 10, 1920, Rev. Francis Kopecky was incumbent, from December 1920 to January 24, 1926. Rev. Vaclav Pokorny. From January 24, 1926, Rev. Ignac Skopal, the present incumbent. Rev. Ignac (Hynek) Skopal was born December 14, 1884, in Nasoburky near Litovle, Moravia. He studied in Olomouc, theology in Oboriste near Pribram and became a member of the Redemptorist Order. He was ordained in 1909 and served a while in his native land. During the war he was in hospitals and on the Italian front, as a field curate, and received a silver cross (piis meritis) for his services in comforting wounded soldiers, Austrian and Italian (prisoners) alike. After the war the bishop in Lincoln, Nebraska, requested two Bohemian priests and Rev. Skopal came in October 1923, first as assistant to Rev. Matej Bor in Weston. His first charge was in Deweese, from where he took care of the mission in Loucky, to August 1924. He was then transferred to Prague, and on January 24, 1926, to Plasi.
The first Czech priest in Nebraska Rev. Bobal lived in Plattsmouth for some time in 1872 and thereafter, and he built a church dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk (although there was no Czech parish then) in the place where the German-American church of St. John The Baptist now stands. In those days it was the church for all the Catholic inhabitants of the town. After his departure, Rev. Philip Maly, S. J., used to come from Wilber, to serve Czechs. The first Czech priest to come regularly was Rev. Koutek, who came from Abie and during whose time, in 1890, the present church was built, 1510 West Pearl Street. In 1891 Rev. Bouska used to come from Crete and from 1892 to 1901 Rev. M. Bor used to come from Wahoo. He was succeeded by Rev. Vaclav Pokorny from Crete, during whose time, in 1902, the rectory was built. In February 1902 Rev. Joseph Bartik was made the first resident priest, and he stayed until January 1905. After his departure, Rev. John Novotny used to come from Prague, and succeeding him, Rev. Anton Bednar from Crete. In 1906 Rev. Jaroslav Hancik was appointed resident priest, taking care also of Prague, Touhy and Crete. In 1908, when it was thought necessary to abolish the school in the neighboring parish, for lack of attendance, Bishop Bonacum requested the parents of Bohemian children to send the latter there and the majority obeyed. In November 1908 Rev Hancik was transferred to Crete, which at the time was a mission belonging to Plattsmouth, and Plattsmouth was left under the parish that is in charge of Monsignore M. A. Shine. On June 1, 1910 Rev. John Vlcek was made incumbent. In October 1919 he was succeeded by Rev. Ferdinand Suesser, who came from Ord. Rev. Suesser stayed until August 5, 1924, and was succeeded by Rev. Jaroslav Hancik, the present incumbent. Among the founders of the parish are the Nasil, Svoboda, Janda, Vostrejs, Novotny, and Vetesnik families and their descendants. The strike in the Burlington & Missouri Railroad Company shops in 1922 caused many families to move to Sedalia, Mo. and other places. At present the parish numbers about 70 families. During its existence, all of the time Cyril Janda has been organist.
Prior to 1901 the Catholic inhabitants of Prague attended the church in Plasi. In 1901 the church in Prague was built and Rev. John Vlcek used to come from Plasi to hold services. In 1904 Bishop Bonacum made Prague a regular parish, with Cedar Hill annexed to it. The first resident priest was Rev. John Novotny, who was born in Boskovice, Moravia, in 1873, ordained July 31, 1898, in Brno, Moravia. He came to the United States on October 7, 1904. Rev. Novotny had charge of the church in Plattsmouth, besides of course that in Cedar Hill. In 1908 he was transferred to Abie, having also Linwood in charge, and then he moved to Chicago. In 1908 Rev. Vaclav Pokorny succeeded Rev. Novotny, and he in turn was succeeded by Rev. Martin Bogar in 1920. Rev. Bogar was born September 5, 1877, in Blatnice, Moravia. He studied in Uherske Hradiste, where he graduated with honors. He finished his studies in Olomouc, where he was ordained in 1900. For fifteen years he labored in his native diocese, then after a severe illness, while recuperating, he travelled in Germany, Belgium, England and America. In Chicago he learned that there was a dearth of Czech priests here, so he applied to the Lincoln diocese. From 1920 to 1923 he was in Prague, then to 1925 he visited in his native country and since 1925 he has been in Touhy. While in Prague he built a school that cost $30,000. Notre Dame sisters teach, Czech being a part of the course. Rev. Bogar was succeeded in 1923 by Rev. Jaroslav Hancik, who was succeeded in 1925 by Rev. Ignac Skopal. In January 1926 Rev. Vaclav Supik succeeded Rev. Skopal, who went to Plasi. Rev. Supik died in Omaha, April 5, 1926.
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