The History of St Mary's
St. Mary's is the first Catholic parish of the eastern part of the Diocese of St. Cloud. On June 11, 1995, the parish
community celebrated the 100th anniversary with a mock signing of the parish charter followed by Mass, dinner with
a slide presentation and comments by members of the parish.
It all began when Father John Brogan offered Mass in the home of James Goldin on June 16, 1895. Shortly thereafter
Goldin and Ambrose Cruesoe asked Bishop Marty to establish the parish. The bishop consented and named the two
men as the first trustees. Other founding families were Moses Mayhew, Mrs. Christine Cooper, James Walsh, Henry
Harrison, W. J. Lawler, John Keenan, Mary Hayes, Patrick Glynn, Thomas Powers, Mr. & Mrs. John Hayes, Mr. & Mrs.
Martin Murphy, Mr. & Mrs. Andrew McMahon, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Regan, Mr. & Mrs. John Bongaarts, Mr. & Mrs.
John O’Donnell, Mrs. Peter Zetterberg and Alexander Burnett.
Wasting no time, the parishioners began construction of a wood frame church in September of 1895, completing this
first church building, a 26 by 60 foot structure, by December 15 of the same year. Over the years the parish has been
served by 11 pastors, the first 3 lived at Princeton while serving the eastern area of the Diocese. The pastors of St.
Mary's were Father Joseph Levings 1898-1912, Father Joseph Willenbrink 1912-1914, Father John Kral 1914-1920,
Father John Funk 1920-1925, Father Adelbert Wagner 1925-1932, Father William Gumper 1932-1935, Father Wilfred
Birk 1935-1947, Father Norbert Hinnenkamp 1947-1970, Father Richard Wey 1970-1981, Father Eugene Belair 1981-
1998 and the present pastor, Father William Vos who took residence in 1998.
The continued growth of the parish demanded larger facilities, and under the direction of Father Hinnenkamp the old
church was moved and a new brick church was built in 1952. The new building, 40 by 111 feet, was built at a cost of
$150,000.00. Bishop Bartholome dedicated the church on September 19, 1954.
During the pastorate of Father Richard Wey two major construction projects were undertaken in 1972. That year the
present rectory and the parish center were built.
Some events of recent history worth noting are the following. In 1993 38 youth and chaperones from St. Mary's and
our sister parish St. Kathryn’s traveled to Denver for the World Youth Day and to meet Pope John Paul II. This largest
single group from our Diocese was lead by Fran and Sharon Kramschuster. Barb Crawford, organizer of the group said
“the journey was truly a pilgrimage with hardships, personal experiences and even miracles”.
In the summer of 1993 an attractive gathering area with an elevator was added to St. Mary's church under the
direction of Father Eugene Belair.
Other youth activities included many bus excursions planned and carried out by Father Belair along with Tom and
Mary Jo Masloski. Father Belair also took action photos at many of the Mora and Ogilvie High School sports events,
thus maintaining a meaningful contact with the youth. The Halloween Mass for youngsters was enjoyed by young and
old alike and was always well attended.
St. Mary's is very fortunate to have Sharon Kramschuster as Religious Education Coordinator. She has for years
generously extended herself in carrying out the successful religious education release time program for the parish youth
as well as the adult education program.
The parish youth program was also enhanced with the addition of Monica Johnson who, in 1997 became the first full
time parish youth minister.
On April 3rd, 1998 a 45th anniversary and retirement party was given for Father Belair. A social after the 10:30 Mass
and dinner followed with complimentary remarks by members of the parish at a short program which included music
selections by Kris Paulson leading the youth choir.
The parish has been most fortunate to enjoy well planned and beautifully rendered liturgical music under the direction
of Kris Paulson, the parish liturgy coordinator. Many volunteer musicians including the members of the children’s,
youth and adult choirs have assisted her.
St. Mary's is proud of the special vocations the parish has been blessed with: Eugene Plaistad, O.S.C. and Dougald
McCallum were ordained to the priesthood. Eustelle Burnette, Ann Burnette, Elstan Kubat and Kathy Kuchar became
Benedictine Sisters and Joycelyn Clark, Selina Hillenbrand and Mary Magdelene Golding joined the Franciscan Sisters.
Father Bill Vos, came to St. Mary's and St. Kathryn’s in 1998 after 19 years of mission work in East Africa. In addition to
being pastor, he worked as director of the Diocesan Mission Office. He was instrumental in hiring our first Pastoral
Associate Rita Clasemann in December of 1998.
Upon Fr. Vos’ retirement in 2005, Bishop John Kinney appointed Rita as Parish Life Coordinator with Fr. Eugene
Plaisted OSC as Sacramental Minister. Fr. Gene comes from the Crosier Community in Onamia, MN.
|A young Jewish woman who was the mother of
Jesus, Mary of Nazareth gave her whole self to
what God called her to be. She raised her family
with faith and stood at the foot of the Cross as Jesus
died. We honor her as the Mother of God.
"BUY A BUNDLE" OR "SECURE A SQUARE"
That's the slogan for our new campaign
to pay off the loan with the Diocese of St. Cloud,
taken out when we re-roofed the church.
We have $18,500 remaining!
Our goal is to pay it off in 3 years!
The faster we pay it off, the less interest we pay!
So you can help with a special donation:
"Buy a Bundle" - $20
"Secure a Square" - $60
or do several at time.
Simply mark your donation as "Roof Loan".
And THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!