By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Holy Trinity Catholic Parish began in 1897, when a group of early Royalton residents who had been attending mass in North Prairie decided to organize a new parish. The first church building was a two-story wood-frame building located west of the current Royalton Lumber and Hardware.
By 1904, when a parsonage was needed, the parish had grown to such an extent that a new site was chosen next to the Platte River and across from the village school. The parsonage was completed on that site in 1905.
Although the Parish Board voted in December 1904 to move the wood-frame church building to the new site, that never happened due to the rapid growth of the congregation.
Parish Board action on Feb. 11, 1911 put things in motion and rocks were soon hauled in for the construction of a new church building next to the parsonage. Members of the parish excavated the basement.
Each family in the parish was assessed a portion of the cost of the church, but for each day that a man and a team worked, $3 was credited to him. A man working alone received a credit of $1.50 per day.
A poor harvest in 1911 caused a delay in the laying of the cornerstone, which took place Oct. 29, 1912.
The first mass was said Jan. 25, 1914, with a formal dedication in June 1914.
The main altar was donated in the 1920s or 1930s by Albert and Johanna Pietron. Bells were donated in 1927, and rung by the church janitors at 6 a.m., 6 p.m. and for masses. Although the system is automated now, those bells are still heard ringing throughout Royalton.
Father Laurn Virnig, pastor of Holy Trinity since 1996, said, “The parishioners have helped tremendously in keeping our church beautiful.”
The theme for the centennial celebration is “Rooted — A Century of Tradition. A Lifetime of Love.”
Centennial committee chair Susan Block said, “We are hoping many extended family members and past residents will attend.”
Committee members are: Block, co-chairs Heidi Pyka and Mary Snyder, Jan Breth, Betty Brezinka, Carol Chisholm, Edie Flahave, Renee Fritz, Marcy Gallus, Becky Klisch, Delores Klisch, Sharon Kloss, Ann Krystosek, Carol Krystosek, Sue Krystosek, Joyce Mester, Kathy Popp, Heidi Quinlan, Jenene Schaubhut, Isabelle Schreder, Boyd Snyder, Diane Warzecha and Marilyn Zutz.
“There hasn’t been anything too challenging about chairing the committee,” said Block. “It’s an amazing committee and each person has taken the ball and run with it. It’s gone very smoothly.”
The religious education classes from grades one through 12 as well as the “prayer ladies” group, have all made banners which adorn the church basement.
The centennial mass starts at 10 a.m., Sunday, June 3, celebrated by Bishop John Kinney. After mass, a lunch will be served in the church basement at 11:30 a.m.
The Knights of Columbus are donating a tree which will be planted and dedicated at 1 p.m. At 1:30 p.m. a parish photo will be taken in front of the church as a reenactment of the photo taken at the dedication in June 1914.
Father Virnig will give an explanation of the significance of the stained glass windows and statuary of the church at 2 p.m., inside the church.
All afternoon there will be games for all ages, and a cake walk. Many commemorative items will be for sale, including cookbooks, mugs, Christmas ornaments, pens and pencils, bracelets and church history books.
Tickets are $5 per person, with children under 5 having free admission. For tickets or more information, contact Susan Block at (320) 584-8349.