Small in numbers, big in faith
Faith – spirit – heritage – pride.
Those are qualities that keep small, rural parishes – their churches sometimes surrounded only by cornfields – going strong.
Many are among the oldest parishes in the archdiocese, dating back to the early settlement of Nebraska by European immigrants from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Ireland and Poland. From small beginnings, they grew into thriving communities.
Time brings change, though, and over the years, rural areas have changed, with many young people moving away, numerous small farms replaced by fewer, larger operations, aging populations, and towns that may now exist in name only, such as Aloys, Heun and Olean.
But a visit to such parishes – set amid farmsteads, fields, grain bins, gravel roads and scattered homes – doesn’t leave an impression of decline; rather, of vitality, commitment and parishioners’ pride in their history and heritage.
Watch for the July 15 edition of the Catholic Voice for photos and a story about these parishes: St. Anthony in St. Charles Township; Sacred Heart in Olean; Holy Trinity in Heun; St. Boniface in Monterey Township; St. Francis de Sales in Schoolcraft Township; St. Aloysius in Aloys; Ss. Peter and Paul in Krakow; and St. John the Baptist in Deloit Township.