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St. Casimir Parish - Krakow WI

A short history of the Parish from the 1978 Jubilee Book

With the celebration of the first Mass in the Krakow area on November 7, 1892, by the Reverend Jerome Schneider, O.F.M., and after almost eleven years of unselfish devotion of the Franciscan Fathers to the realization of God's presence and Word, Saint Casimir Congregation was legally incorporated with the State of Wisconsin on October 12, 1903.

Spearheaded by many dedicated and devoted Franciscan Fathers (Pulaski Province), Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Third Order of Saint Francis (Stevens Point) and faithful parishioners, Saint Casimir congregation's first twenty five years were marked by ceaseless organizing efforts, hard work, financial diffi­culties, as well as joint problem solving, parish development and growth.

Highlighting events of the first twenty five years included the solemn dedication of Saint Casimir Church by Bishop Sebastian G. Messmer on November 23, 1903; the blessing of the new parish school on September 26, 1906; the blessing of the first parish rectory on May 1, 1913; the rebuilding of the rectory after the 1916 fire and the dedication of the present rectory in the fall of 1923 and the establishment of Saint Joseph North Chase as a mission church. Before the parish Silver Jubilee in 1928, plans were being formu­lated to build a new church.

Highlighting events of the second twenty five years were the congregation's efforts, under the leadership of the Franciscan Fathers, to build the present church building (1929); the February 20, 1929, school fire; the dedication of the new church bell on July 29, 1929; the dedication and blessing of the present school on November 25, 1929; the building of the Riverview Pavilion, opened on September 28, 1935; the Second World War and the clearance of the parish debt by the end of 1945. On October 4, 1953, the parish celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

During the past twenty five years, Saint Casimir has experienced not only physical change and growth, but also spiritual change and growth.

Under the energetic pastorate of Reverend Bartholomew Biernat, O.F.M., who succeeded the Reverend Benedict Witkowski, O.F.M. on July 22, 1954, extensive remodeling of the church was begun, including the painting of the church interior, the installation of a new heating system, storm windows, a new church roof, and a cement floor for the basement; the main altar in the church was changed; the cemetery underwent beautification and a committee was formed to manage it; the parish school was remodeled and quarters for the teaching Sisters were provided (due to the shortage of vocations of teaching nuns, the school ceased operation in 1967 at which time the CCD and religious education programs were initiated); the parish societies were reorganized and activated; the outdoor grotto was constructed and all the parish activities were recorded in the parish weekly bulletins. With the establishment of a building fund and more plans for remodeling and updating the chruch structure, the congregation's enthusiasm was saddened by Father Bartholomew's unexpected death on January 9, 1972.

Both Father Benedict and Father Bartholomew had faithfully and diligently served the parish for more than thirty four years.

During a brief transition period, the Franciscan Fathers Provincial, Reverend Theodore Zaremba, O.F.M., was the administrator of the parish from January 9, 1972, until the appointment of Reverend Mark D. Szych, O.F.M. as pastor on August 15, 1972.

Since the appointment of Father Mark, our present pastor, the parish has been blessed tremendously. Faced with the challenge of stabilizing the parish after the transition period, Father Mark began his realization of God's presence and Word: the parish council was strongly developed; the CCD and religious education classes for the youth of the parish were reinforced; the first diocesan census in 1974 revealed a definite increase in parish membership; the lay ministry program (including the weekly distribution of Holy Communion to the shut‑ins by lay people and adult lectors) was initiated and fostered; the new church entrance was added in 1976; new pews and carpeting of the entire church were added in 1977; the church basement was tiled and new stoves were installed; a variety of religious practices were fostered.

As the parish began its preparation for the Diamond Jubilee celebration, all parishioners were asked to be photographed for this family directory (first of its kind in the parish).

In thanksgiving to God for the many graces and blessings received, for the efforts of the beloved pastors, sisters and lay people during the past seventy five years, a Mass of thanksgiving is to be offered on July 9, 1978, with The Most Reverend Aloysious Wycislo, Bishop of Green Bay, as principal celebrant.

‑ Len Rogus

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Last Updated on October 20, 2011