ST. PATRICK'S CEMETERY (8 ACRES) DONATED, 1870,
BY P. GLEASON AND MARY LYNCH CLEARY
(See Book F., p. 23, Co. Record of Deeds).
"If you want to know the condition of a parish, inspect the cemetery. The care or neglect for the dead is a good indication of the real standing of the parish". Words of an experienced missionary to the author. Cemeteries in rural parishes, especially if somewhat remote from the church, are often shamefully neglected. Fr. Hyacinth took up a collection and sought to put the cemetery in good condition. Many graves are now left unmarked and no one can tell, where some certain people, especially pioneers, are buried. He also had the cemetery platted and urged the people to keep the graves in good condition. This duty of filial piety is due to our dearly departed, who rest in God's acre, where the bodies of the departed Christians are deposited to await their future resurrection and life eternal.
REV. HYACINTH (JOSEPH) SCHROEDER, O. F. M. (1861-1909)
Joseph Schroeder was born at Jeffriesburg in Franklin county, Missouri, on November 13, 1961 (sic). After attending the St. Joseph's School at Neler, he, in 1874, entered St. Joseph's College at Teutopolis. On July 22, 1881, "Old Joe" exchanged the college for the novitiate, his investing taking place on July 19th. The novitiate over, he stayed another year to make his humanities followed by two years of philosophy at Quincy, Illinois, and a course of theology at St. Louis, Missouri. At this time his health was so precarious that none but himself expected to reach the high goal of the priesthood. Owing, however, to his courage and joyful disposition, Fr. Hyacinth was ordained by Archbishop P. R. Kenrick at St. Louis on May 6, 1888. His first appointment was to Memphis, Tennessee. After ten years of successful labors he remained five months at St. Louis (December 1, 1899, till about May, 1900), when he was sent to Columbus, Nebraska, to assume charge of St. Joseph's con-
St. Joseph's Church, Platte Center, 1924
gregation at Platte Center. He remained till 1906. From August, 1906, till July 1, 1907, he was the first superior at West Park, Cleveland; then in charge of three missions at Indianapolis (July 5,1907-July 1, 1908); of Union, near Washington, Missouri (July 2, 1908-January, 1914). He next labored at Sioux City; Superior, Wisconsin; Lindsay, in charge of Cornlea (seven months); Sioux City (until October 22, 1927). Fr. Hyacinth was sent to Memphis, Tennessee. Owing to heart trouble he was transferred to Joliet, Illinois, where he passed away November 14, 1929, being found dead in bed, but not without having received the last Sacraments of the church previously.
Fr. Hyacinth, frail and small of stature, was a jovial and amiable confere. His hobby was to make small windmills which he put up everywhere. At Platte Center he gave a windmill to every one who paid his dues. Fr. Hyacinth was a zealous priest of God and a pious religious.--R. I. P.
REV. LIBORIUS BREITENSTEIN, O. F. M.,
AUGUST 17, 1906-AUGUST, 1909
After laboring successfully for more than five years, Fr. Hyacinth was replaced by the Rev. Liborius Breitenstein. He was a young priest full of life, energy and good humor. To provide for the amusement of the people and especially the young people he built a parish hall in spite of opposition. The building was erected at a cost of $____. Many entertainments and fairs have since been held in this hall. It is also rented out to some societies, thus helping the pastor considerably in defraying expenses. A supper, etc., in 1907, netted $535.20. A hundred dollars were donated for the new building fund. The total receipts for this year were $1,780.96. The total expenditures were $1,708.98. The church property was valued at $7,000. The seating capacity was 150 to 200. A mission was preached about March 23, 1909, by Fathers of the Precious Blood. On June 29th, 1908, the deed for two lots was registered, costing $326.
REV. ANGELUS BILL,
O. F. M.
St. Joseph's Parish was incorporated April 3, 1910. The hall was painted and an ice-box was purchased in June, 1910, for the Sisters, and new chairs were bought for the hall ($108). The Cathedral assessment amounted to $500 (paid 1911).
REV. CYRIAC STEMPEL,
O. F. M.
JANUARY 5, 1911-JULY, 1912
Fr. Cyriac began to excavate for the new school in fall, 1912, and work started on the parochial school building, of brick construction with two stories and a basement boiler house, just south of the church.
The school was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Henry Tihen, D. D., Bishop of Lincoln. In 1915 the course of studies at the parochial embraced ten grades, with about 110 pupils in attendance. The eastern end of the school building serves as a Sisters' convent. The number of families was 100.
REV. MARCELLINE KOLLMEYER,
JULY, 1912-JANUARY, 1914
$1,877.49 was paid towards the new school. The church property was valued at $38,000, encumbered by an indebtedness of $15,300 against $9,450 the previous year. The seating capacity is given as 300, valued at $500 per year. The trustees for 1913 were: Max Bruckner and Edward Higgins.
P. LIBORIUS BREITENSTEIN,
JANUARY, 1914-APRIL, 1929
Social and entertainments and the hall rent in 1914 netted $1,270.25, tuition $838, donations and subscriptions for the new school, $900. The interest paid amounted to $845.85. A sum of $4,400 was paid off on the indebtedness. The priest's salary was $400.
THE FIRST MASS OF REV. WM. MAHER
Wednesday, July 19, 1916, was a festive day for St. Joseph's parish congregation, made so by the celebration of his first Mass of Rev. Wm. Maher, a former Platte Center boy. As large a gathering as ever graced St. Joseph's church was present on this occasion. The celebrant was assisted by Rev. Liborius, O. F. M., as assistant priest; Rev. Hyacinth Schroeder, O. F. M., of Cornlea, as deacon; Rev. W. F. Kreen, of Fort Wayne, as subdeacon; Rev. Maurus Eberle, O. F. M., as master of ceremonies. Present, also, were Rev. Florentius Kurzer, O. F. M., of Humphrey; Rev. Edw. S. Muenich, of Madison; Rev. Wm. Borer, of Omaha, and Rev. Vollman, of Oregon, Illinois. A beautiful and touching sermon was preached, by Rev. Hyacinth. He spoke of the origin, power and dignity and sacredness of that holy office, the greatest that God has conferred or could confer upon man. He extolled the relatives, whose sacrifices had given their brother to the altar, and urged parents to still keep in mind the glorious vocation.
After the young priest had given the large congregation his blessing, dinner was served in the dining hall of the school basement to relatives and visiting priests. In the evening an appropriate program was carried out in the hall. Father Maher was the recipient of many beautiful presents and a purse of money--Humphrey Democrat, July 21, 1916.
On August 1, Fr. Maher left for Oregon to take up the charge already assigned.
Father William Maher is a native of Platte Center. After attending St. Joseph's parochial school, William left for St. Joseph's College, Teutopolis, Illinois, where he pursued a classical course for two years, distinguishing himself for application and piety. He continued his studies at Creighton University and Montreal Seminary. Having joined the Portland, Oregon, archdiocese, he was ordained July 12, 1916, by the Most Rev. Alexander Christie, Archbishop of Portland. He has since done pastoral work and also taught for a number of years.
At the end of 1916 the church property was valued as follows: The school, $25,000; church, hall and cemetery, $15,000. There was an indebtedness of $7,700 on January 1, 1916, which was reduced to $3,000 in the course of the year.
COLLECTING FUNDS FOR A NEW CHURCH
In 1917 the indebtedness on the church ($3,000) was wiped out and $600 deposited on interest for a new church. To this must be added liberty bonds to the amount of $1,050 by members of the congregation, a liberty bond of $50 by C. O. F. (Catholic Order of Foresters) and a legacy of $1,000 by the late Thomas Mylet for the new church, or a total fund of $2,700. Besides this the congregation raised $660.50 for the K. C. war camp fund and $450 for the new cathedral.
The collection taken up for a fire-escape amounted to $208 and an entertainment for the new church netted $363.59. The house and envelope collection for the same purpose was $1,000.50. The new church building fund increased from $2,700 to $5,000. Max Bruckner and James P. Foley were the trustees.
Interior of Present St. Joseph's Church, Platte Center
First Mass of Rev. Wm. Maher at Platte Center, 1916
In 1919 a furnace was installed (or repaired) at a cost of $217.13. The priest's salary was raised to $600. New beds were bought for the school ($100.68), to enable children to board during winter. The new church fund was swelled by certificates of deposit amounting to $2,400 or a total of $7,400.
THE TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF REV. LIBORIUS' ORDINATION
In 1920 St. Joseph's Parish celebrated the silver sacerdotal jubilee of their pastor. The C. Foresters had collected a sum of $_____ to be used for the new church. A solemn High Mass was celebrated by the jubilarian.
On November 1, 1923, $524.05 were received for the new church. The annual Thanksgiving celebration netted $1,010. A sum of $123.10 was donated for the suffering children of Europe. The village of Platte Center paid $150 for a lot,
on which to erect a water tank. In 1923, $5,000 was added to the church fund. (Total $21,650).
THE NEW ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH, 1924
The plans for the new St. Joseph's church were drawn by Mr. I. C. Krajewski, of Dubuque, Iowa. The general contract was awarded to Mr. Leo Woerth; the carpenter contract, to Walter Hoth; the heating and plumbing, to A. Dussell, all of Columbus, Nebraska; the electric wiring and fixtures to David Petersen, of Humphrey, Nebraska. The razing of the old church commenced the first week in May, 1924. The cornerstone was laid on the last day of May, 1924.
Inclement weather and, at times, delay in shipment of material, somewhat held back the progress of the building; nevertheless, the united efforts of the contractors and their help made it possible to celebrate the dedication on the date mentioned. The Platte Center Radiogram of December 11, 1924, gives the following description:
ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CHURCH EDIFICES IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA
Wednesday, November 28th, 1924, will long be remembered by the people of Platte Center, Nebraska, and vicinity, for on that day the spacious and new St. Joseph's Church was dedicated.
In spite of a heavy overcast sky and a brisk northwest wind, the people assembled, whose numbers were swelled by many from afar, to witness the solemn and dedicatory ceremony, which was conducted by the Most Rev. Archbishop J. J. Harty, of Omaha, assisted by sixteen visiting members of the clergy. These services were followed by a solemn High Mass and to Rev. Father Liborius Breitenstein, O. F. M., pastor of this parish, fell the honor of being the first celebrant, an honor that was rightly and justly his. He was assisted by Rev. Father Hilarion, O. F. M., of St. Anthony's as deacon and Rev. Father Theodore Wemhoff, of Joliet, Illinois, as subdeacon. Rev. Father Flavius, of Duncan, very ably acted as master of ceremonies, as also did Rev. Father Charles, of Columbus, in conducting the choir. Rev. Father Mueller, of Columbus, and Rev. Father Brass of Madison, acted as deacons of honor and assistants to the Archbishop.
REV. TITUS HUGGER, O. F. M., PREACHES
A very appropriate sermon for the occasion was delivered by Father Titus, O. F. M., Chicago, Illinois, who was pastor of this parish from 1891 to 1894, but is now and has been for a number of years doing mission work, being at the head of the missionaries of the Franciscan Order (of the Sacred Heart Province, of St. Louis). He complimented the members of the parish for the trials and difficulties they had to undergo; nevertheless it was a day of joy and blessing of having a new church, so beautiful, so stately and spacious, situated on the hill overlooking the town at its feet, dedicated to the service of Almighty God. He spoke briefly of the parish since its beginning, stating this was the fourth church built in its history.
MOST REV. ARCHBISHOP J. J. HARTY'S ADDRESS
At the conclusion of Mass, Archbishop Harty, in his pleasant and cheerful manner, greatly lauded the parishioners in their response in this undertaking; he paid a high tribute to the Franciscan Fathers in Platte county and especially to Father Liborius for his zealous and untiring efforts and the achievements he had carried out in behalf of his parish; to the architect, who was able to conceive and draw the plans, to the contractors and their workmen, who were able to put together such an edifice.
THE VISITING CLERGY
The visiting clergy were the Most Rev. Archbishop J. J. Harty, of Omaha; Rev. Father Titus, O. F. M., of Chicago; Rev. Father Theodore Wemhoff, O. F. M., of Joliet, Illinois; Rev. Father Albert, O. F. M., of Cornleà; Rev. Father Berard, O. F. M. of Humphrey; Rev. Father Justinian, O. F. M., of Lindsay; Re Father Germain, O. F. M., of St. Bernard; Rev. Father Hilarion, O. F. M., of St. Anthony's; Rev. Father Lawrence, of St. Mary's; Rev. Father Flavius, of Duncan; Rev. Father Dennis, of Tarnov; Rev. Father Charles, O. F. M., and Rev. Father Benedict, O. F. M., of Columbus, and Rev. Father Vermeulen of Cedar Rapids.
MEMBERS OF THE CHOIR
Members of the choir were Messrs. Max Bruckner, Francis Bruckner, Charles Kaipust, and Mark Schilz; Mesdames Frank Bruckner, L. A. Lachnit and A. J. Glodowski; the Misses Madeline Gleason, Anna Kaipust, Bernice Szostak, Cecilia Burke, Alice and Leona Heeg and Sister M. Rosella, O. S. F., as organist.
REFRESHMENTS AND BAZAAR
Immediately after the services, dinner was served in the school dining hall by the ladies of the parish; supper was served in the evening.
During the afternoon and lasting until about 10 o'clock that evening, a bazaar was held in the parochial hall; however, the celebration did not end there, for it extended into the day following, Thanksgiving Day. At 10:30 a. m., solemn High Mass was offered up for the many blessings bestowed upon us, after which
each one proceeded to enjoy the day in a social way as well as attending the bazaar. Dinner and supper were also served by the ladies on that day. At 7:30 that evening the numbers were drawn and winners announced of the different prizes that were offered.
The celebration was concluded by a home talent play, a farcial (sic) comedy in three acts, by the "All Star Dramatic Club" of this city, entitled "A Regiment of Two", which as usual, drew a packed house, all standing room being exhausted.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CHURCH
The church is one of the finest and most substantial buildings in the state; it is strictly of the Romanesque style and built at a cost of $70,000-$75,000. In using the archbishop's words, it would be a credit to the city of New York, or even Rome. The extreme length of the church is 140 feet and 6 inches, the extreme width 93 feet; the length of the building itself is 130 feet, the transept is 68 feet and the nave is 46 feet wide; the ceiling 32 feet high. The belfry stands 72 feet in height from the ground and contains three bells, the largest weighing 2,000 pounds and is a donation of the Max Bruckner family; the next largest weighs 1,000 pounds and was donated by the congregation.
We subjoin here the cost of the fine church in 1924:
COST OF ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH (1924)
|Architect Fees (3 1/2 per cent)||
|Statue of St. Joseph||
|Cess pool, etc.||
|Interest, six months||
|Terrace wall, gutters and side walks||
|Insurance five years-||
|Storm windows, screens, vestment wardrobe||
According to Fr. Liborius about $5,000 more must be added for subsequent expenses.
|Money on hand January 1, 1924||
|Collected during the year||
|Borrowed money, mortgage 2,500||
|Borrowed money, notes 7,500.00||
INDEBTEDNESS ON CHURCH PROPERTY (1925)
|January 25, 1925||
|Paid off during 1925||
|Indebtedness on January 5, 1926||
|Paid off in 1926||
|Indebtedness on January 11, 1927||
|Paid in 1927||
|Indebtedness on January 1, 1928||
|Paid in 1928||
|Indebtedness January, 1, 1929||
|Paid in 1929||
|Indebtedness January 1, 1930||
|Paid off in 1930||
The indebtedness on January 1, 1931, amounted to about $10,340.
An excellent showing during six years, made possible only by the pastor's extreme economy, denying himself even necessary creature comforts.
SICKNESS AND DEATH OF REV. LIBORIUS
Building is ruinous to nerves and often shatters the health of the pastor, on whose shoulders usually the main burden falls. A short time after the dedication of the fine new church, Fr. Liborius suffered a severe hemorrhage, but after a few days his iron constitution overcame the worst and he refused to accept a substitute. But he was never entirely himself again. His ambition was to wipe out the whole indebtedness and, if possible, to die at Platte Center. Neither was to be his fate. He had received a Buick car as a partial present to enable him to get more easily to and from Columbus to his beloved St. Joseph's. But he suffered one or two accidents and early in 1928 illness forced him to spend several weeks in the hospital. But hardly able to' do his work, he returned for Holy week. The departure of Fathers Charles and Flavius, old friends, was another hard blow to him. About the beginning of April, 1929, he suffered a severe attack of sickness, probably a stroke soon after, and needed a nurse for 40 days. He was removed to St. Mary's hospital where, contrary to expectation and the self-sacrificing care of his nurse, he once more recovered and was able to resume saying Mass. But soon another stroke made him physically and mentally helpless, causing his removal on Labor day to the Alexian Brothers hospital at St. Louis accompanied by Brother Sergius Novicki, Alexian Brother from Duncan. Soon death relieved him of his sufferings.--R. I. P.
Franz Breitenstein was a native of Beberstedt (Eichsfeld), in the Province of Saxony, Prussia. He was born on July 26, 1867, and at the age of sixteen years came with Conrad Breitenstein to Teutopolis to prepare for the
Rev. Hyacinth Schroeder, O. F. M.
Rev. Liborius Breitenstein, O. F. M.
Rev. Donulus Evers, O. F. M.
Rev. Leo Mainzer, Pastor of St. Joseph's,
priesthood in the Order of Friars Minor (A. D. 1883). In October of the following year typhoid brought him to death's doors from which he recovered, contrary to all expectations. On August 10, 1888, he was admitted to the Franciscan Order and received the name of Liborius. After one year of the humanities, two years philosophy, and three years theology he was raised to the dignity of the priesthood, June 24, 1895. After one more year, upon completion of his studies, he was assigned to St. Joseph's church at Cleveland, Ohio, and given charge of the City Infirmary and of St. Joseph's Orphanage. Sent to Chaska, Minnesota, Fr. Liborius attended Chanhessen; from 1906-1909, Platte Center, then acted as chaplain of the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet, Illinois; returned January, 1914, to St. Joseph's as successor to the Rev. Marcelline, wiped out the indebtedness on the school in 1917 and in 1924 erected the new church.
Father Liborius passed away November 23, 1929, and his remains rest in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.
Fr. Liborius was a good-natured and jovial
companion, a fine singer and good musician, and despite his rough exterior, a humble religious and a zealous pastor. He loved and taught the children Gregorian chant. May his former parishioners remember their former pastor in their prayers, so that his soul, through the mercy of God, may enjoy eternal rest.
FR. EUGENE HAGEDORN, O. F. M.
Fr. Eugene Hagedorn, O. F. M., attended St. Joseph's parish for nearly three months from April till the middle of July. He introduced the Society of the Propagation of the Faith.
REV. DONULUS EVERS,
O. F. M.,
July, 1929-AUGUST 3, 1930, THE LAST FRANCISAN PASTOR
Though Fr. Donulus stay was of short duration, he endeared himself to Catholics and Protestants alike and received seven or more converts and reconciled others with their church. He also reduced the indebtedness.
During his incumbency occurred the Bishop's Drive for Membership in the Bishop Confraternity for the laity.
During his pastorate the statues of Christ the King and of St. Teresa, the "Little Flower" were donated by the Bruckner and Zingg families.
THE FRANCISCANS TURN OVER THE PARISH TO THE DIOCESE
In 1930 the provincial Council of the Sacred Heart Province decided to turn over Platte Center and three other missions in Platte county and one in Madison county, which they had so long attended, to the diocese. The change took place on August 4, 1930. This move came from the Franciscans and hence delegations to the Rt. Rev. Bishop pleaded in vain to retain the friars as pastors.
May the St. Joseph's continue to prosper under the new regime even more than in the past, both financially and especially spiritually!
ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH IN CHARGE OF THE DIOCESAN CLERGY
REV. LEO MAINZER, SINCE AUGUST, 1930
The first pastor from among the secular clergy is the Rev. Leo Mainzer. He is a native of Erie, Pennsylvania, where he was born on January 14, 1894. He attended the parochial school, made his classical, philosophical and theological studies at the Pontifical College of the Josephinum at Columbus, Ohio, and was ordained priest, May 29, 1920, by the Rt. Rev. James Jos. Hartley, bishop of Columbus. Fr. Mainzer was sent to Omaha and assigned as assistant to the St. Bridget Church in South Omaha. After seven years he was appointed pastor of Wynot, Cedar county, and remained until his assignment to Platte Center, in August, 1930. Father Mainzer has paid off $1,100 since his arrival, despite the hard times. The present indebtedness (January 1, 1931) amounts to $10,340.00.
PRESENT STATUS OF ST. JOSEPH'S PARISH
The parish numbers at present, January, 1931, about 150 families and 750 souls, with an enrollment of 100 pupils in 12 grades, who are taught by four Sisters. They are Sr. M. Virginia, M. Johannina, Sr. M. Celeste and Sr. M. Munda. Sr. M. Wenceslaus is the house Sister.
The Societies existing are: The Guardian Angel Sodality, all school children; the Young Ladies' Sodality, about 50 members; The Holy Name Men and Young Men's Society, about 75 members; the St. Anna Married Ladies' Altar Society with about 100 members. The Society for the Propagation of the Faith has -- members.
ST. JOSEPH'S SCHOOL AT PLATTE CENTER, NEBRASKA, SEPTEMBER, 1885-1930
LIST OF SISTERS SUPERIORS:
Sr. M: Modesta, O. S. Fr., 1885-1887, 40 children at opening.
Sr. Stanislaus, 1887.
Sr. Emma, 1900 -
Sr. Hugolina, -1901.
Sr. Scholastica, -1922.
Sr. Egfrieda, 1922-1924.
Sr. Loyola, 1924-1925.
Sr. Gonzaga, 1925-1926.
Sr. Bernadette, 1926-1927.
Sr. Leopoldina, 1927-1930.
Sr. Virginia, 1930-
Sr. Camilla, 1923.
Sr. Rosella, 1924.
Sr. Gonzaga, 1925-1926
Sr. Johannina, 1926.
Sr. Hermalanda, 1921-1922.
Sr. Rosella, 1924-1925.
Sr. Clarina, 1925-1926.
Sr. Heladia, 1924-1925.
Sr. Laurentina, 1924-1928
Sr. Cordia, 1924-1928.
Sr. Leontine, 1909-1918.
Sr. Johanella, 1923.
Sr. Hermana, 1885--
Sr. Gregoriana, about 11 years.
Sr. Margaret, 1922-1923.
SISTERS FROM PLATTE CENTER:
Sr. M. Rufina Carrig, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Felicia Shea, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Nothburga Gdowski, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Viola Langan, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Maura Cronin, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Geraldine Clother, Sister of Charity
Sr. M. Viola Purchal, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Gregoriana Fugger, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Nonna Fugger, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Caesaria Fugger, O. S. F.
Sr. M. Gorgonia Fugger, O. S. F.
Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Janssen.