Monterey parish celebrates 125 years with procession
St. Boniface in Monterey past priests
By JACLYN TWIDWELL
The Catholic Voice
A Corpus Christi adoration and outdoor procession has been part of tradition at St. Boniface Parish in Monterey since 1891.
What better way to mark the 52-family parish's 125th birthday, but with the annual celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi June 25.
Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss will preside at a 2 p.m. Mass before the traditional Corpus Christi procession.
The congregation will leave the church after communion and process behind the concelebrants carrying the Eucharist. They will process about a quarter of a mile through a grove of trees on a decorated path, created in 1891.
Near the end of the procession, the congregation enters a brick chapel, also built in 1891, for the beginning of benediction and then moves back to the church for the end of the ceremony.
Parishioners and guests are encouraged to reflect on the history of the 125-year-old parish with food and refreshments after the procession.
The parish was organized by German immigrants from Westphalia in 1881, and they built a frame church and rectory in 1882. A brick school was erected in 1887.
A larger brick church was built in 1905, a rectory in 1911 and a larger school and sisters' residence with boarders' accommodations in 1915.
In 1923, the church was destroyed by fire, but the other parish buildings escaped damage. The 75 families of the parish rallied together and pledged $65,000 to rebuild the church, which was completed in 1925.
The current church features Gothic architecture, vaulted ribbed arches, supporting buttresses, many statues and a pipe organ.
Ten tall stained glass windows were installed in 1958.
The community room, restrooms, kitchen and handicap accessibility were added in the 1990s.
St. Boniface is a charter member of West Point Central Catholic formed in 1962. In 1970, St. Aloysius and St. Boniface consolidated their elementary schools and faculties to form Pebble Valley Catholic Elementary School.
That cooperative attitude continues today at St. Boniface and other area parishes.
'We are living in a great time of social change." said Father Gerald Gonderinger, pastor of St. Boniface Parish. 'We are in a great advantage together. Lots of opportunities come with sharing resources, yet retaining our special parish identity."
Today, St. Boniface Parish and three other parishes "“ St. Mary in West Point, St. Aloysius in Aloys, and St. Anthony in St. Charles "“ exist as separate parishes but are served by the same pastor, Father Gonderinger, and senior associate pastor, Father Frank Lordemann.
Students from the parishes attend Guardian Angels School and West Point Central Catholic High School.
St. Boniface has inspired the vocations for Fathers Arnold Ridder, Bernard Westermann, Leo Kreikemeier, Clement Bracht and Norman Hunke; and Msgrs. Herman Kaup, Roman Ulrich and Andrew Meister.