Sunday, December 17, 2017
     

St. Boniface Catholic Church in Vincent, Kansas, now has its own website. To get more information, go to StBonifaceVincent.com



St. Boniface Catholic Church - Vincent – History

Preface 

         This history is intended to be both a memorial and at the least a brief accountof the development, growth and activities that have taken place during thefirst sixty years of existence of St. Boniface Church and Parish of Vincent,Kansas.

         The account has been drawn largely from the parish records, special recordings made by various pastors, trustees’ minute books, newspaper clippings, personal interviews with surviving founders of the parish, and from my own personal memory of past events and experiences that have taken place the past sixty years. There is much to be written as the years past have been notable ones and blessed in many respects. The past has witnessed many changes in and about the original structure. The many changes and improvements that have been made can well be attributed to the loyalty and unity of the parishioners. There have been both prosperous and lean years, many hardships encountered, untold sacrifices were made for the church, both by its pastors and congregation.                  

         The first part of this history will tell of the geographical location, thephotography of the area involved, church affiliation, initial steps toestablish the parish and difficulties involved, and the construction anddevelopment of the parish complex.

       The second part will relate the many improvements and remodeling that have occurred over the years, the various parish functions and anniversaries celebrated.

         The final section will give a statistical report of all births, marriages and deaths recorded in the parish records.       

         I undertook this project of writing a history of the parish on my own initiative.

         Realizing the importance of an historical account of the past events of our Parish, it prompted me to proceed with this task. Many hours were spent in research compiling data necessary to write this historical account of our parish. The only objective in mind was to have this for the sake of posterity. May this generation and future generations enjoy this precious heritage. 

 

Introduction 

          The author of this Parish history aims to tell afactual story of this community, parish, its people, the construction, progressand development of the parish, as though it had happened yesterday.

         Nearly a century ago this vicinity and area were just a large vast open plains country. There were no homes or any people living in this area. The valleys and hills were covered with buffalo grass, no trees except those found on the banks of Big Creek, a stream that wound its course for many centuries through this community dividing the vast span of open prairies into two segments, north and south Big Creek country. The beauty of this stream and valley soon was to play an important part in the development of this community. There were still some Indian tribes who occasionally roamed this area in search for buffalo, deer, antelope and wild fowl. Jackrabbits were plentiful and the coyote roamed the plains unmolested. However,it had lived its course and soon was to undergo a drastic change.

         In the fall of 1872 George Grant, an English nobleman who had much wealth came to Kansas to scout and survey the great open prairies which were often referred to in England as a great hunting ground with untold numbers of buffalo and wildlife. He was so impressed with the sights, that he decided to make his home here. He purchased from the Kansas Pacific Railroad, now the Union Pacific, an acreage estimated at seventy thousand acres at a price of fifty cents per acre. He purchased this with the intention of selling it in large tracts to the people he intended to bring to Kansas from England and Scotland. He selected the sight for his home on the South Banks of Big Creek, the North East Quarter of Section 8, Township 15, Range 16, the present home of Mr. and Mrs. William Baier. He likewise selected the site for the future city of Victoria, and named it as such in honor of Queen Victoria, who was the reigning Queen of England at that time. He returned to his home in the fall of 1872.

         Early in the spring of 1873 he returned to Victoria with a group of noble men who settled along the banks of Big Creek now the Vincent community. They brought with them a number of well-bred horses which they intended to use for hunting. Grant brought with him horses and several head of Angus cattle. These Angus cattle were the first to put foot on American soil and he placed them on his ranch. His home the “Villa” of native rock which still stands today in excellent condition. Many hours of social life were spent at the Villa. This nobleman invested heavily in livestock which were shipped in from the east. They relied on the native grass for feed and provided no shelter for the livestock. Three disastrous years in a row,drought, a prairie fire and a grasshopper plague plus severe winters caused the livestock to die. The adventure of these men soon proved to be a failure. Their fortunes were lost, some returned to their native land, others moved to other parts of the country.

         The coming of the German-Russian people in 1876 to this community, followedclosely by the German people, soon caused a marked change in thiscommunity. From the original settlement of Victoria, these people venturedsouth and took over the homes and land vacated by the Englishcolony. These people were home builders and tillers of the soil. Thesod was broken and crops planted. They were all an industrious and religiouspeople professing the Catholic Faith.

          In the closing years of the Nineteenth Century this community was quite well settled, homes were established and great progress made. Among the early settlers in this community were the German-Russians, the Germans and the Plattdeutschen, Low Germans, and the Rajewski family of Polish and Austrian blood. Among the first families to settle in this area were the Baier, Huser and Rajewski families, followed closely by a number of German-Russian families. They were all young people determined to make a success of their adventure regardless of hardships which constantly confronted them. Placing their trust and faith in God, they prayed that their efforts would be blessed and that a brighter future would lie ahead of them.

         Regardless of nationality and customs, they all worked together and their combined efforts during those trying years definitely played an important part in the establishment of our community and parish.

 

Founders of St. Boniface Church and Parish - 1907    

                                                                  Died                    

Moritz Baier                                          Feb. 3, 1949

Mrs. Moritz Baier                                  May 11, 1955

Anton P. Dreiling                                   March 9, 1955

Mrs. Anton P. Dreiling                           Oct. 14, 1955

Bernard P. Huser                                  March 6, 1929

Mrs. Bernard P. Huser                          Dec. 4, 1958

Valentine {Walter} Rajewski                  Dec. 8, 1937

Mrs. Valentine Rajewski                        Oct. 28, 1947

Lorenz Braun                                         Feb. 17, 1948

Mrs. Lorenz Braun                                 May 20, 1919

Mike Reichert                                        Oct. 26, 1960

Mrs. Mike Reichert                                March 23, 1947                                   

Peter Weigel                                          Aug. 11, 1932

Mrs. Peter Weigel                                  Apr. 3, 1975

Ulrich Berens                                         Oct. 20, 1973

Mrs. Ulrich Berens                                 Oct. 24, 1973

 

Pastors who have served St. Boniface Parish 

                                             Date of

                                         Appointment          Transferred                 Died

 Fr. Vincent Brandt                Dec. 1907            Jan. 1909            April 5, 1923

Fr. Basil Heim                       Jan.1909             Oct. 1909             Jan. 1, 1949

Fr. Edmund Trischler            Nov.1909             July 1911              Feb. 1, 1945

Fr. Pancratius Dockler          July 1911             July 1912             Sept. 19, 1932

Fr. Celestine Oswald            July 1912             July 1916             April 11, 1932

Fr. Ulric Zeller                       July 1916             July 1917

Fr. Chrysostom Jacob          Nov. 1917             July 1919            May 23, 1921

Fr. Michael Neff                    Sept. 1919            Feb. 1920

Fr. Emmeram Kausler          Feb. 1920             Dec. 1921           Jan. 29, 1922

Fr. Michael Neff                    Dec.1921              July 1925            May 17, 1952

Fr. Edward Heyl                    July 1925              Feb. 1927           July 17, 1932

Fr. Raphael Engel                 Feb.1927              July 1927          

Fr. Callistus Rectenwald       July 1927              July 1928            Apr. 13, 1980

Fr. Fidelis Meier                    July 1928              Nov. 1928           Dec. 8, 1938

Fr. Raymond Ryan                Nov. 1928             Feb. 1929           Oct. 6, 1967

Fr. Callistus Rectenwald       Feb. 1929

 * None died whileserving the parish.

 

Families 1968 

William Baier                                        Frank Rajewski

Elmer Berens                                       Leo Rajewski

Daniel Braun                                        Robert Rohr

Leroy Braun                                         Otto Schulte

Wendelin A. Braun                               Richard Schmidtberger

Alfred A. Dreiling                                  Frank Schmidtberger

Mrs. Henry Huser                                 Mrs. Ross B. Smith

 Julian Huser                                        Mrs. Ted Tholen

Leon Huser                                          Gilbert Truan

Stephen Hoffman                                 Arthur VonFeldt

Mrs. Peter C. Kippes                           John J. VonFeldt

Mrs. Louis Leiker                                 JamesVonFeldt                 

Adrian Leiker                                       Herman Wellbrock

Bernard Munk                                     Joseph Wellbrock

Bernard Mudd                                     Francis Wellbrock

Harlan Mudd                                       Wendelin Wittman

James Rajewski                                  Howard Rajewski

Robert VonLintel                                 Dennis VonLintel

Frederick Tholen 

 

1905 

          The year of 1905 will ever stand out and be remembered in the annals of history of St. Boniface Church, Vincent. It was the year in which the movement began to organize our Parish.

         A number of German speaking families had well established themselves in this community. They were a young and an energetic people, and in the process of rearing a family. They were all of the Catholic faith and members of St. Fidelis Church, Victoria. Many lived as far as eleven miles from church. Roads were but mere trails and bridges across streams were few. Regular attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation was almost impossible. Reception of sacraments and religions training for the children created another problem for these people due to the distance from church. They felt that the time had arrived where it was evident that they should proceed to make application for a new parish in this community.

  

Meeting Held 

         A one-room school house that provided elementary education for their childrenwas the only available place for a meeting. It stood one-half mile eastfrom the intersection south of the present church. Better described as inthe South East corner of the SW ¼ of Section 4-15-16, Ellis County.

         In February of 1905 a meeting was called by Franz Schmidtberger to discuss the possibilities of organizing a Parish. There was unanimous agreement and great enthusiasm shown by those present. Attending the meeting were: Moritz Baier, Bernard Huser, George VonFeldt Sr., Mike and Andrew Wittman and John Neirenberger.

         Moritz Baier and Bernard Huser were selected as delegates to meet with the Bishop of the Diocese, Right Rev. Bishop Cunningham, who resided at Concordia, Kansas, and to present an application for a new Parish to serve the spiritual needs of those people living in this German community. A collection was taken to help defray the expense of the trip to be made by the delegates. The trip was made in April of 1905. 

 

Delegates Met with Bishop 

          The delegates were well accepted by his Lordship, the Bishop. The delegates presented to him the purpose of their mission. The Bishop, after making extensive inquiries as to the exact location of the proposed new parish, proximity to Victoria, Walker, Pfeifer and Munjor, the number of prospective families, available funds and method of finance, construction costs, etc., sanctioned the project provided the Capuchin Fathers of Victoria were willing and in a position to furnish a pastor to serve the proposed parish. There was great rejoicing in the community when this was made known to them, and a feeling prevailed that the dreams of yesterday may soon become the realities of tomorrow. Organizational meetings were held and the early stages of planning for the selection of a site and type of structure began shortly thereafter. 

 

1905-1906 - Difficulty Arises 

         St. Fidelis Parish of Victoria, the Mother Parish in this community was in the process of completing plans for the construction of a new church, the present church known as the “Cathedral of the Plains.” Fr. Chilian, then pastor of the parish objected to the formation of a new parish at Vincent at that particular time. He maintained that with the recent establishment of a parish at Walker and the loss of a large number of well-contributing families,the Victoria parish could not stand any further loss of members, to insure the construction of the new church. He had already levied a certain amount of money, labor and rock on each family for the new church. He further insisted that this levy must be contributed before those parishioners who were interested in starting a new parish south and east of Victoria, could proceed with their plans. On August of 1906 Father Jerome Mueller, O.M. Cap.,became guardian and pastor at Victoria. He did not object to the formation of the proposed parish but also insisted that the levy be paid and proceeded to collect it, and further insisted that it was an obligation to be paid. That caused quite some concern to the families involved in the proposed new parish.

         In April of 1906 a number of men from the proposed new parish met in Hays with the Provincial and other Capuchin Fathers to discuss the levy imposed upon them by the

Victoria Parish. The matter also was referred to the Bishop. It was declared that all families living five miles and more south of Victoria be free from all assessments made by the Victoria Parish and be free to form a new parish. Fr. Emmeram Kausler, who was pastor at Munjor at that time and had considerable experience in the building and designing of churches in this area also attended this meeting, and he agreed with this decision and praised it as a great forward movement to form and develop a new parish to serve the spiritual needs to these people.

         With the cancellation of this levy on the prospective families of the proposed new parish, they were free to proceed to construct a new parish church if they so desired. However, when the time came for the prospective families to become a part of the new parish there was some dissension. Some felt that they owed their loyalty to St. Fidelis Church, Die Mutter Kirche, and retained their membership there. They contributed their funds for the construction of the new church and for many years retained their membership there before joining up with St. Boniface Church. Many of the prospective families for the Vincent parish also contributed money and rock for the Victoria Church,that it could never be said that they were disloyal to their Mother church. This double burden imposed great sacrifices on those who founded our parish. Through all these difficulties their spirits were undaunted,and a greater determination now existed to proceed as soon as feasible to construct a church in their midst. The year of 1907 was chosen as the period in which they prayed their dreams would materialize. 

 

1907 - The Beginning 

         At the turn of the century there were twenty two families living in the area who were interested in establishing a new parish. The greater number favored the establishment of a parish in their midst. In the early months of 1907, meetings were held to formulate plans for the construction and financing of the new church. To raise sufficient funds was the major problem. A wheat plan proposed where a given percent of the crop would be donated. Regardless of all the contributions that could be made by the prospective families it was evident that outside help would be needed. They felt confident that such help would not be denied. It was agreed that all labor, except for a carpenter, was to be donated. They all realized that this meant a great sacrifice of time. They accepted these plans graciously and with a determination to see their goal accomplished. 

 

Site Selected 

          From the very beginning of this movement the site for the new church was never too great a problem. It was the general consensus that the location should be centrally located in the bounds of the proposed parish. The present site of our church and town site was chosen because of its geographical location and the terrain which together add beauty and accessibility to the church.

         As the church now stands on the upper bank of south Big Creek, overlooking the fertile valley and the winding stream of Big Creek, with its banks lined with trees and shrubs, it projects a most picturesque scene of beauty and charm that nature can alone provide. Perhaps no other location offered all this, and that is why it was chosen. 

 

Tracts of Land Donated 

         Mr. Moritz Baier, a prospective parishioner of the new parish donated the real estate for the church site. A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres,more or less, and described as follows: Beginning at a point fifteen (15)chains north of the south east corner of Section five (5), Township Fifteen(15), Range (16), thence west five (5) chains, then north ten (10) chains,thence east five (5) chains, then south ten (10) chains to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas)

         Mr. Bernard P. Huser, a prospective parishioner, donated the following real estate.

A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres, more or less, and described as follows: Beginning at a point eight and one half (8 ½) chains north of the south west corner of Section Four (4)Township Fifteen (15), Range Sixteen (16), Thence east five (5) chains, thence north ten (10) chains, thence west five (5) chains, thence south ten (10) chains to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388,Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas).

         Mr. Walter Rajewski, a prospective parishioner, donated the following real estate. A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres more or less and described as follows: Beginning at a point twenty (20) chains north of the south west corner of Section four (4), Township Fifteen (15), Range Sixteen(16). Thence east five (5) chains, Thence North ten (10) chains, Thence West five (5) chains, Thence South ten (10) to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas).

         The north half of the Rajewski tract was designated as a cemetery. The remaining two and one half acres and the Huser tract were to be plotted into town lots, streets and alleys. Officially surveyed in 1910. 

 

Construction Begins May 16, 1907 

         Fr. Jerome Mueller, O.M.Cap., Pastor of the Parent Church, St. Fidelis Church,Victoria, was placed in charge of the construction of the new Church. He appointed Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M.Cap., a recognized authority on building and designer of churches, to draw plans and to supervise the construction of the church. Fr. Emmeram was at that time the pastor of St. Francis Church, Munjor, Kansas. Moritz Baier was appointed foreman.

         As the time arrived for the actual work of construction to begin, only seven families remained who committed themselves to undertake all responsibilities to finance and construct the church. Undaunted by the defection of the others these seven families, Mr. and Mrs. Moritz Baier, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard P. Huser,Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, Mr. and Mrs. Anton P. Dreiling, Mr. and Mrs.Lorenz Braun, Mr. and Mrs. Peter I. Weigel and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Reichert proceeded and set May 16 as groundbreaking day. In preparation for this day, rock was quarried and dressed in nearby quarries and delivered to the site. Sand and lumber were also hauled there. Everything was in preparation for the long awaited day. These seven families were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich H. Berens who were in the process of moving to their farm south east of Vincent. These eight families were the founders of our Parish.

Plans for the new church structure were completed by Fr. Emmeram and approved by the Bishop and accepted by the prospective parishioners. The plan called for a frame structure 32’ by 64’, with a seating capacity of 200. The design for the new church might well and fittingly be called a unique mission style structure. The estimated cost was set at $2,000.00.

         May 16, 1907, marked the actual beginning of the construction. These eight men referred to as the founders, came with horses and mules, a walking plow and scrapers, picks and shovels to dig the foundation and a small cellar. The foundation and cellar were completed in a few days. Mr. Michael Weigel, a farmer and part-time carpenter, was hired to supervise the construction work. He came on June 4, and worked until June 22 when all work was suspended because of harvest time. He was hired at the rate of $2.50 per day. Volunteer labor was offered by friends and relatives, and the work progressed very rapidly. By June 22 the building was enclosed and the roof completed.

         June 10 was a day long to be remembered. It was the day the church was shingled. A call for volunteer workers was put out in advance, and when the day arrived there were 39 men, not including the boys who also helped with the work. This number included the carpenter and the eight founders. The work was completed in one day.

         One of the more humorous happenings of the construction period was shingling day. They chose sides. The German-Russian men on one side, the Germans and Low Germans were on the other side. A challenge arose to see which group would complete its side first. Although the German group completed their side first, all were winners as they were treated to a keg of cold beer. Everyone was happy over a job well done.

 

         The following men volunteered to help shingle the church:

Moritz Baier                                                  Luke Schulte

Bernard Huser andSon                                   Joseph Wellbrock

Walter Rajewski andSons                                John Wellbrock        

Anton P.Dreiling                                            Christ D. Wagner

LorenzBraun                                                 Henry H. Robben

AndrewBraun                                               George W. Robben

MichaelReichert                                             John W. Robben

Ulrich H.Berens                                             William Robben Jr.

PeterWeigel                                                  John M. Robben

JohnWeigel                                                   Henry M. Robben

AndrewSchreiner                                           Frank Hammerschmidt

JosephSchreiner                                            Christ VonLintel

JackBollig                                                     Henry VonLintel

John A. Brungardt                                          Paul Schumacher

JosephBrungardt                                           William Schrant

AndrewBrungardt                                          Joseph Greise

JohnSchamne                                               Nick Neirenberger

GeorgeLuebbers                                            Joseph Neirenberger

Ben H.Schulte                                               Mike Weigel (Carpenter)

FrankSchulte                                                

 

         To finance the construction of the church was a major problem confronting the founders of the parish. They contributed not only their labor but every dollar they could possibly spare. However, this was not sufficient. They needed help and depended on their relatives, friends and businessmen. Four women took upon themselves the task of going out to solicit donations. Mrs. Baier and Mrs. Rajewski traveled together while Mrs. Huser and Mrs. Dreiling teamed up. With horse and buggy they canvassed the areas of Gorham, Walker, Victoria, Emmeram, and Hays. They went to their relatives, friends and businessmen to plead their cause. They were always well received and every hospitality was shown to them. They accepted money or material for the church. Any gift large or small was always welcome and appreciated. Not only gifts were offered to them but occasionally a meal, or a Tasse Kaffee und Kuchen, which they enjoyed while traveling along the countryside. They were so successful in their solicitation of funds, and the donations made by the founders that they were able to pay fo rthe material for the church as it was needed.

         It has been an unusual experience to review and study the record book that was kept by my father, the late Moritiz Baier, where every donation whether large or small together with the donor’s name is recorded. Also where the material and the cost of some were purchased. Records show that lumber and supplies were purchased at Walker, Victoria and Hays. The lumber dealers made generous contributions to the building fund. Donations ranged from 25 cents to over $300.00. Not only Catholic friends donated, but non-Catholic businessmen and friends contributed. Among the generous donors were the late Harvey J. Penny and C. M. Wann. Mr. Penny was Catholic. They held extensive interest in land in this community and were generous donors to the parish for many years. The generosity of all these good people made itpossible to construct our church on a pay-as-you-go basis.

         Work on the church resumed after the fall farm work was completed. Volunteer workers offered their help to speed the completion of the church. Work on the interior began. Mr. Weigel, the carpenter,returned to work on October 21, and the construction work progressed rapidly. To provide space for a sacristy, living quarters for the pastor and a bedroom, a partition was installed near the west end of the church. Part of the original partition still is in the same location. The center section of the partition was so constructed that it could be removed at a later date to make way for a recessed altar space. The ceiling was boarded solid in preparation for a metal ceiling. The walls were prepared for Mr. McLain of Hays did the plastering and local help mixed and carried the cement. To provide an entrance to the church a vestibule 10’ x 10’ was added to the east end of the church. A small bell tower was built on the center of the roof to house the bell. Following a custom of laying the floor of a church on a sand bed,the same method was also used here. The purpose of doing this was to eliminate floor drafts and to make a firm and more silent walking floor. In years to come this type of a floor proved to be a haven for termites and many floors had to be removed and replaced.

         To provide water for the site a well was dug. It was located about twenty feet south from the southwest corner of the church. It measured about 25 feet in depth and had a limited amount of water supply. A pump was installed and this well provided water for the pastor and later the Sisters. The exterior of the church was painted and also the woodwork in the interior. Since the windows had just plain glass panes, the panes were painted with a light color paint and scored diagonally. The purpose of this was two-fold. It gave the window panes and the interior of the church a better appearance, and secondly it obscured the exterior view from the interior.

         While the men were busy at work at the church the women were not idle, they had much to do. Donations were always welcome and especially now as there was nothing in the line of furnishings and paraphernalia for the church. They made altar linens, Mass server cassocks and surplices and whatever they could make to furnish the church. Due to lack of funds, only the most essential things were obtained and purchased from donated money. To aid the new parish, St. Fidelis Church of Victoria, donated some vestments and a monstrance. St. Catherine Parish, Catherine, donated a side altar which served as the high altar for many years. St. Francis Parish, Munjor,donated a communion railing. Bernard Huser donated funds to purchase a chalice. Moritz Baier donated a new parlor organ for the choir. The Rajewski family donated funds to purchase items for the altar and the sanctuary. Henry H. Robben and Clement G. Robben donated funds to purchase a bell. The bell was purchased from Montgomery Ward and Co. The bell weighed 350 pounds. The cost was $20.00 plus $4.87 freight. St. Fidelis Menner Verein of Victoria donated $50.00. This society of men was very active in Victoria for many years and its membership extended into the neighboring parishes as the members retained their membership after the Vincent Parish was founded. 

 

First Pews Made 

          The first eight pews were made by Moritz Baier,Walter Rajewski and Ulrich Berens in a shed on the Baier farm. These were the only pews in the church on dedication day. They provided sufficient space for the families on completion date. Additional pews were added as needed. 

 

Choir Organized 

          The original plan for the church did not call for a choir loft due to the limited height of the ceiling and available space. A small enclosed stage about three feet from the floor was built in the northeast corner of the church. It measured 8’ x 10’ feet. This space was used for a choir until 1925. Walter Rajewski, Lorenz Braun and daughters constituted the first choir. Agnes Rajewski, daughter of Walter Rajewski, became the first organist. They rehearsed in preparation for dedication day. 

 

Dedication Day 

          The church structure was completed in early December of 1907, and arrangements were made for the dedication of the church. The structure, simple in design both exterior and interior, did present an atmosphere of great satisfaction in return for many days of hard labor and sacrifice. The interior was neat, cozy and quite devotional. 

 

St. Boniface Church, Dedicated December 18, 1907 

          The first Holy Mass to be offered in the new church was said on dedication day Dec. 18. Prior to the Mass, the church was dedicated and blessed by Fr. Jerome Mueller, O.M.Cap., pastor of St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, Kansas, who was delegated by Bishop Cunningham, Bishop of the Concordia Diocese, to perform the dedication ceremony. Fr. Pancratius Dockler, O.M.Cap., preached the festive sermon. Fathers Matthew Hau, O.M.Cap., Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M.Cap., and Fr. Vincent Brandt, O.M.Cap., the first pastor were present in the sanctuary. The first two Mass servers of the parish and who assisted at the dedication Mass were Henry Huser and Joseph Rajewski. They were assisted by Alex J. Dreiling and Peter P. Dreiling servers from the St. Fidelis Church. Shortly thereafter Thomas Baier and Wendelin A. Dreiling became Mass servers. Henry Huser’s and Joseph Rajewski’s services as servers were short lived as they both joined the choir. Henry remained on the choir until his death in Nov. 1966. Joe sang until several years ago when he and his wife moved to Hays to retire.

         Dedication day was a cold stormy day. Nevertheless, many friends and relatives attended the ceremony. A dinner was served in the homes of the parishioners for members of the clergy, relatives and friends.

         A large collection and donations were received on dedication day. Several families expressed their desire to join the parish and contributed generously on that day.

         For the families of this new parish, dedication day was a day of rejoicing and especially a day of thanksgiving. Their long awaited desire and dream had been fulfilled. A House of God now stood in their midst. They were grateful to their many benefactors. It was through their generosity in contributing both labor and funds that made the construction possible. They were especially jubilant on this day for being debt free. The cost of material and labor amounted to $1700.00. An additional $300.00 was invested in furnishings for the church.

         From this great day to the present our church stands as a living memorial,reminding us of the courage, perseverance and untold sacrifices the founders of our parish made not only for themselves but also for the future generations. 

 

Patron Chosen 

         Since all the families involved in the formation of our parish were German speaking people, it was thought proper and most fitting to name the church after the great Apostle of Germany, St. Boniface. The feast day of our Patron is observed on June 5, of each year and for many years in the past a Solemn High Mass was offered on this day, in honor of St. Boniface. 

 

New Town Named Vincent 

         When the parishioners were informed that their first Pastor was to be Rev. Father Vincent Brandt, O.M.Cap., they decided to name the new town site in honor of their Pastor. 

 

First Pastor Assigned 

         Fr. Vincent, the first Pastor of St. Boniface Church officially became pastor on dedication day. No doubt he felt honored to receive the appointment. It is also certain that he realized the many needs of this new parish. Despite the many handicaps confronting him and the parish, one thing that overshadowed all these problems was that he could administer the spiritual needs of his congregation and leave the rest to the good Lord.

         During his tenure as pastor, records show that many urgently needed articleswere acquired for the church such as vestments, statues, a ciborium, oilstocks, a chalice and many other items. All this was made possible bydonations from the parishioners and  The first two committeemen to beappointed were Moritz Baier and Lorenz Braun and

they served for sometime during the early years of the parish existence. Moritz Baier assumed the duties as sacristan and served in that capacity until 1924.

         In 1908 the cemetery was officially surveyed and the tract plotted into lots,streets and alleys. No cross was erected at that time due to lack of funds.

         To provide meals for the pastor and visiting clergy, Mr. and Mrs. Mortiz Baier offered to board the priest. Breakfast was taken to the rectory for the pastor. For the noon and evening meal the pastor would to the Baier home. When inclement weather prevailed the pastor would be hauled by buggy or wagon and an occasional sled ride during the winter months to and from the Baier home for his meals. The pastors always enjoyed a home cooked meal and their presence at the table always created an atmosphere of reverence and dignity and current local and world problems were the general topics of discussion.

         Beginning in 1016 the Rajewski family boarded the pastor and continued to do so for a number of years.  

Preface

 
          This history is intended to be both a memorial and at the least a brief account of the development, growth and activities that have taken place during the first sixty years of existence of St. Boniface Church and Parish of Vincent, Kansas.
          The account has been drawn largely from the parish records, special recordings made by various pastors, trustees’ minute books, newspaper clippings, personal interviews with surviving founders of the parish, and from my own personal memory of past events and experiences that have taken place the past sixty years. There is much to be written as the years past have been notable ones and blessed in many respects. The past has witnessed many changes in and about the original structure. The many changes and improvements that have been made can well be attributed to the loyalty and unity of the parishioners. There have been both prosperous and lean years, many hardships encountered, untold sacrifices were made for the church, both by its pastors and congregation.                  
          The first part of this history will tell of the geographical location, the photography of the area involved, church affiliation, initial steps to establish the parish and difficulties involved, and the construction and development of the parish complex.
          The second part will relate the many improvements and remodeling that have occurred over the years, the various parish functions and anniversaries celebrated.
          The final section will give a statistical report of all births, marriages and deaths recorded in the parish records.       
          I undertook this project of writing a history of the parish on my own initiative.
          Realizing the importance of an historical account of the past events of our Parish, it prompted me to proceed with this task. Many hours were spent in research compiling data necessary to write this historical account of our parish. The only objective in mind was to have this for the sake of posterity. May this generation and future generations enjoy this precious heritage.
 
 
Introduction
 
          The author of this Parish history aims to tell a factual story of this community, parish, its people, the construction, progress and development of the parish, as though it had happened yesterday.
          Nearly a century ago this vicinity and area were just a large vast open plains country. There were no homes or any people living in this area. The valleys and hills were covered with buffalo grass, no trees except those found on the banks of Big Creek, a stream that wound its course for many centuries through this community dividing the vast span of open prairies into two segments, north and south Big Creek country. The beauty of this stream and valley soon was to play an important part in the development of this community. There were still some Indian tribes who occasionally roamed this area in search for buffalo, deer, antelope and wild fowl. Jack rabbits were plentiful and the coyote roamed the plains unmolested. However, it had lived its course and soon was to undergo a drastic change.
          In the fall of 1872 George Grant, an English nobleman who had much wealth came to Kansas to scout and survey the great open prairies which were often referred to in England as a great hunting ground with untold numbers of buffalo and wild life. He was so impressed with the sights, that he decided to make his home here. He purchased from the Kansas Pacific Railroad, now the Union Pacific, an acreage estimated at seventy thousand acres at a price of fifty cents per acre. He purchased this with the intention of selling it in large tracts to the people he intended to bring to Kansas from England and Scotland. He selected the sight for his home on the South Banks of Big Creek, the North East Quarter of Section 8, Township 15, Range 16, the present home of Mr. and Mrs. William Baier. He likewise selected the site for the future city of Victoria, and named it as such in honor of Queen Victoria, who was the reigning Queen of England at that time. He returned to his home in the fall of 1872.
          Early in the spring of 1873 he returned to Victoria with a group of noblemen who settled along the banks of Big Creek now the Vincent community. They brought with them a number of well-bred horses which they intended to use for hunting. Grant brought with him horses and several head of Angus cattle. These Angus cattle were the first to put foot on American soil and he placed them on his ranch. His home the “Villa” of native rock which still stands today in excellent condition. Many hours of social life were spent at the Villa. This nobleman invested heavily in livestock which were shipped in from the east. They relied on the native grass for feed and provided no shelter for the livestock. Three disastrous years in a row, drought, a prairie fire and a grasshopper plague plus severe winters caused the livestock to die. The adventure of these men soon proved to be a failure. Their fortunes were lost, some returned to their native land, others moved to other parts of the country.
          The coming of the German-Russian people in 1876 to this community, followed closely by the German people, soon caused a marked change in this community. From the original settlement of Victoria, these people ventured south and took over the homes and land vacated by the English colony. These people were home builders and tillers of the soil. The sod was broken and crops planted. They were all an industrious and religious people professing the Catholic Faith.
          In the closing years of the Nineteenth Century this community was quite well settled, homes were established and great progress made. Among the early settlers in this community were the German-Russians, the Germans and the Plattdeutschen, Low Germans, and the Rajewski family of Polish and Austrian blood. Among the first families to settle in this area were the Baier, Huser and Rajewski families, followed closely by a number of German-Russian families. They were all young people determined to make a success of their adventure regardless of hardships which constantly confronted them. Placing their trust and faith in God, they prayed that their efforts would be blessed and that a brighter future would lie ahead of them.
          Regardless of nationality and customs, they all worked together and their combined efforts during those trying years definitely played an important part in the establishment of our community and parish.
 
Founders of St. Boniface Church and Parish
1907   
 
                                                                   Died                     Living
Moritz Baier                                              Feb. 3, 1949
Mrs. Moritz Baier                                       May 11, 1955
Anton P. Dreiling                                        March 9, 1955
Mrs. Anton P. Dreiling                                 Oct. 14, 1955
Bernard P. Huser                                       March 6, 1929
Mrs. Bernard P. Huser                                Dec. 4, 1958
Valentine {Walter} Rajewski                        Dec. 8, 1937
Mrs. Valentine Rajewski                              Oct. 28, 1947
Lorenz Braun                                            Feb. 17, 1948
Mrs. Lorenz Braun                                     May 20, 1919
Mike Reichert                                            Oct. 26, 1960
Mrs. Mike Reichert                                     March 23, 1947                                    
Peter Weigel                                             Aug. 11, 1932
Mrs. Peter Weigel                                      Apr. 3, 1975
Ulrich Berens                                            Oct. 20, 1973
Mrs. Ulrich Berens                                    Oct. 24, 1973
 
Pastors who have served St. Boniface Parish
 
                    Date of appointment           Transferred                  Died
 
Fr. Vincent Brandt              Dec. 1907               Jan. 1909          April 5, 1923
Fr. Basil Heim                   Jan. 1909                Oct.1909           Jan. 1, 1949
Fr. Edmund Trischler           Nov. 1909               July 1911           Feb. 1, 1945
Fr. Pancratius Dockler         July 1911                July 1912           Sept. 19, 1932
Fr. Celestine Oswald           July 1912                July 1916           April 11, 1932
Fr. Ulric Zeller                    July 1916                July 1917
Fr. Chrysostom Jacob         Nov. 1917               July 1919           May 23, 1921
Fr. Michael Neff                 Sept. 1919              Feb. 1920
Fr. Emmeram Kausler         Feb. 1920                Dec. 1921          Jan. 29, 1922
Fr. Michael Neff                 Dec. 1921               July 1925           May 17, 1952
Fr. Edward Heyl                 July 1925                Feb. 1927          July 17, 1932
Fr. Raphael Engel               Feb. 1927                July 1927          
Fr. Callistus Rectenwald       July 1927                July 1928           Apr. 13, 1980
Fr. Fidelis Meier                 July 1928                Nov. 1928          Dec. 8, 1938
Fr. Raymond Ryan              Nov. 1928               Feb. 1929          Oct. 6, 1967
Fr. Callistus Rectenwald       Feb. 1929
 
* None died while serving the parish.
 
Families 1968
 
                   William Baier                                         Frank Rajewski
                   Elmer Berens                                        Leo Rajewski
                   Daniel Braun                                         Robert Rohr
                   Leroy Braun                                         Otto Schulte
                   Wendelin A. Braun                                 Richard Schmidtberger
                   Alfred A. Dreiling                                   Frank Schmidtberger
                   Mrs. Henry Huser                                  Mrs. Ross B. Smith
                   Julian Huser                                          Mrs. Ted Tholen
                   Leon Huser                                           Gilbert Truan
                   Stephen Hoffman                                  Arthur VonFeldt
                   Mrs. Peter C. Kippes                              John J. VonFeldt
                   Mrs. Louis Leiker                                   James VonFeldt                 
                   Adrian leiker                                         Herman Wellbrock
                   Bernard Munk                                       Joseph Wellbrock
                   Bernard Mudd                                       Francis Wellbrock
                   Harlan Mudd                                         Wendelin Wittman
                   James Rajewski                                    Howard Rajewski
                   Robert VonLintel                                    Dennis VonLintel
                   Frederick Tholen
 
 
1905
 
          The year of 1905 will ever stand out and be remembered in the annals of history of St. Boniface Church, Vincent. It was the year in which the movement began to organize our Parish.
          A number of German speaking families had well established themselves in this community. They were a young and an energetic people, and in the process of rearing a family. They were all of the Catholic faith and members of St. Fidelis Church, Victoria. Many lived as far as eleven miles from church. Roads were but mere trails and bridges across streams were few. Regular attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation was almost impossible. Reception of sacraments and religions training for the children created another problem for these people due to the distance from church. They felt that the time had arrived where it was evident that they should proceed to make application for a new parish in this community.
 
 
Meeting Held
 
          A one-room school house that provided elementary education for their children was the only available place for a meeting. It stood one-half mile east from the intersection south of the present church. Better described as in the South East corner of the SW ¼ of Section 4-15-16, Ellis County.
          In February of 1905 a meeting was called by Franz Schmidtberger to discuss the possibilities of organizing a Parish. There was unanimous agreement and great enthusiasm shown by those present. Attending the meeting were: Moritz Baier, Bernard Huser, George VonFeldt Sr., Mike and Andrew Wittman and John Neirenberger.
          Moritz Baier and Bernard Huser were selected as delegates to meet with the Bishop of the Diocese, Right Rev. Bishop Cunningham, who resided at Concordia Kansas, and to present an application for a new Parish to serve the spiritual needs of those people living in this German community. A collection was taken to help defray the expense of the trip to be made by the delegates. The trip was made in April of 1905.
 
 
Delegates Met With Bishop
 
          The delegates were well accepted by his Lordship, the Bishop. The delegates presented to him the purpose of their mission. The Bishop, after making extensive inquiries as to the exact location of the proposed new parish, proximity to Victoria, Walker, Pfeifer and Munjor, the number of prospective families, available funds and method of finance, construction costs, etc., sanctioned the project provided the Capuchin Fathers of Victoria were willing and in a position to furnish a pastor to serve the proposed parish. There was great rejoicing in the community when this was made known to them, and a feeling prevailed that the dreams of yesterday may soon become the realities of tomorrow. Organizational meetings were held and the early stages of planning for the selection of a site and type of structure began shortly thereafter.
 
 
1905-1906
 
Difficulty Arises
 
          St. Fidelis Parish of Victoria, the Mother Parish in this community was in the process of completing plans for the construction of a new church, the present church known as the “Cathedral of the Plains.” Fr. Chilian, then pastor of the parish objected to the formation of a new parish at Vincent at that particular time. He maintained that with the recent establishment of a parish at Walker and the loss of a large number of well-contributing families, the Victoria parish could not stand any further loss of members, to insure the construction of the new church. He had already levied a certain amount of money, labor and rock on each family for the new church. He further insisted that this levy must be contributed before those parishioners who were interested in starting a new parish south and east of Victoria, could proceed with their plans. On August of 1906 Father Jerome Mueller, O.M. Cap., became guardian and pastor at Victoria. He did not object to the formation of the proposed parish but also insisted that the levy be paid and proceeded to collect it, and further insisted that it was an obligation to be paid. That caused quite some concern to the families involved in the proposed new parish.
          In April of 1906 a number of men from the proposed new parish met in Hays with the Provincial and other Capuchin Fathers to discuss the levy imposed upon them by the
Victoria Parish. The matter also was referred to the Bishop. It was declared that all families living five miles and more south of Victoria be free from all assessments made by the Victoria Parish and be free to form a new parish. Fr. Emmeram Kausler, who was pastor at Munjor at that time and had considerable experience in the building and designing of churches in this area also attended this meeting, and he agreed with this decision and praised it as a great forward movement to form and develop a new parish to serve the spiritual needs to these people.
          With the cancellation of this levy on the prospective families of the proposed new parish, they were free to proceed to construct a new parish church if they so desired. However, when the time came for the prospective families to become a part of the new parish there was some dissension. Some felt that they owed their loyalty to St. Fidelis Church, Die Mutter Kirche, and retained their membership there. They contributed their funds for the construction of the new church and for many years retained their membership there before joining up with St. Boniface Church. Many of the prospective families for the Vincent parish also contributed money and rock for the Victoria Church, that it could never be said that they were disloyal to their Mother church. This double burden imposed great sacrifices on those who founded our parish. Through all these difficulties their spirits were undaunted, and a greater determination now existed to proceed as soon as feasible to construct a church in their midst. The year of 1907 was chosen as the period in which they prayed their dreams would materialize.
 
 
1907
The Beginning
 
          At the turn of the century there were twenty two families living in the area who were interested in establishing a new parish. The greater number favored the establishment of a parish in their midst. In the early months of 1907, meetings were held to formulate plans for the construction and financing of the new church. To raise sufficient funds was the major problem. A wheat plan proposed where a given percent of the crop would be donated. Regardless of all the contributions that could be made by the prospective families it was evident that outside help would be needed. They felt confident that such help would not be denied. It was agreed that all labor, except for a carpenter, was to be donated. They all realized that this meant a great sacrifice of time. They accepted these plans graciously and with a determination to see their goal accomplished.
 
 
Site Selected
 
          From the very beginning of this movement the site for the new church was never too great a problem. It was the general consensus that the location should be centrally located in the bounds of the proposed parish. The present site of our church and town site was chosen because of its geographical location and the terrain which together add beauty and accessibility to the church.
          As the church now stands on the upper bank of south Big Creek, overlooking the fertile valley and the winding stream of Big Creek, with its banks lined with trees and shrubs, it projects a most picturesque scene of beauty and charm that nature can alone provide. Perhaps no other location offered all this, and that is why it was chosen.
 
 
Tracts of Land Donated
 
          Mr. Moritz Baier, a prospective parishioner of the new parish donated the real estate for the church site. A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres, more or less, and described as follows: Beginning at a point fifteen (15) chains north of the south east corner of Section five (5), Township Fifteen (15), Range (16), thence west five (5) chains, then north ten (10) chains, thence east five (5) chains, then south ten (10) chains to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas)
          Mr. Bernard P. Huser, a prospective parishioner, donated the following real estate.
A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres, more or less, and described as follows: Beginning at a point eight and one half (8 ½) chains north of the south west corner of
Section Four (4) Township Fifteen (15), Range Sixteen (16), Thence east five (5) chains, thence north ten (10) chains, thence west five (5) chains, thence south ten (10) chains to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas).
          Mr. Walter Rajewski, a prospective parishioner, donated the following real estate. A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres more or less and described as follows: Beginning at a point twenty (20) chains north of the south west corner of Section four (4), Township Fifteen (15), Range Sixteen (16). Thence east five (5) chains, Thence North ten (10) chains, Thence West five (5) chains, Thence South ten (10) to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas).
          The north half of the Rajewski tract was designated as a cemetery. The remaining two and one half acres and the Huser tract were to be plotted into town lots, streets and alleys. Officially surveyed in 1910.
 
 
Construction Begins May 16, 1907
 
          Fr. Jerome Mueller, O.M.Cap., Pastor of the Parent Church, St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, was placed in charge of the construction of the new Church. He appointed Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M.Cap., a recognized authority on building and designer of churches, to draw plans and to supervise the construction of the church. Fr. Emmeram was at that time the pastor of St. Francis Church, Munjor, Kansas. Moritz Baier was appointed foreman.
          As the time arrived for the actual work of construction to begin, only seven families remained who committed themselves to undertake all responsibilities to finance and construct the church. Undaunted by the defection of the others these seven families, Mr. and Mrs. Moritz Baier, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard P. Huser, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, Mr. and Mrs. Anton P. Dreiling, Mr. and Mrs. Lorenz Braun, Mr. and Mrs. Peter I. Weigel and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Reichert proceeded and set May 16 as groundbreaking day. In preparation for this day, rock was quarried and dressed in nearby quarries and delivered to the site. Sand and lumber were also hauled there. Everything was in preparation for the long awaited day. These seven families were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich H. Berens who were in the process of moving to their farm south east of Vincent. These eight families were the founders of our Parish.
          Plans for the new church structure were completed by Fr. Emmeram and approved by the Bishop and accepted by the prospective parishioners. The plan called for a frame structure 32’ by 64’, with a seating capacity of 200. The design for the new church might well and fittingly be called a unique mission style structure. The estimated cost was set at $2,000.00.
          May 16, 1907, marked the actual beginning of the construction. These eight men referred to as the founders, came with horses and mules, a walking plow and scrapers, picks and shovels to dig the foundation and a small cellar. The foundation and cellar were completed in a few days. Mr. Michael Weigel, a farmer and part-time carpenter, was hired to supervise the construction work. He came on June 4, and worked until June 22 when all work was suspended because of harvest time. He was hired at the rate of $2.50 per day. Volunteer labor was offered by friends and relatives, and the work progressed very rapidly. By June 22 the building was enclosed and the roof completed.
          June 10 was a day long to be remembered. It was the day the church was shingled. A call for volunteer workers was put out in advance, and when the day arrived there were 39 men, not including the boys who also helped with the work. This number included the carpenter and the eight founders. The work was completed in one day.
          One of the more humorous happenings of the construction period was shingling day. They chose sides. The German-Russian men on one side, the Germans and Low Germans were on the other side. A challenge arose to see which group would complete its side first. Although the German group completed their side first, all were winners as they were treated to a keg of cold beer. Everyone was happy over a job well done.
 
          The following men volunteered to help shingle the church:
 
Moritz Baier                                                   Luke Schulte
Bernard Huser and Son                                    Joseph Wellbrock
Walter Rajewski and Sons                                 John Wellbrock        
Anton P. Dreiling                                             Christ D. Wagner
Lorenz Braun                                                  Henry H. Robben
Andrew Braun                                                George W. Robben
Michael Reichert                                              John W. Robben
Ulrich H. Berens                                              William Robben Jr.
Peter Weigel                                                   John M. Robben
John Weigel                                                    Henry M. Robben
Andrew Schreiner                                            Frank Hammerschmidt
Joseph Schreiner                                             Christ VonLintel
Jack Bollig                                                      Henry VonLintel
John A. Brungardt                                           Paul Schumacher
Joseph Brungardt                                            William Schrant
Andrew Brungardt                                           Joseph Greise
John Schamne                                                Nick Neirenberger
George Luebbers                                             Joseph Neirenberger
Ben H. Schulte                                                Mike Weigel (Carpenter)
Frank Schulte                                                
 
          To finance the construction of the church was a major problem confronting the founders of the parish. They contributed not only their labor but every dollar they could possibly spare. However, this was not sufficient. They needed help and depended on their relatives, friends and businessmen. Four women took upon themselves the task of going out to solicit donations. Mrs. Baier and Mrs. Rajewski traveled together while Mrs. Huser and Mrs. Dreiling teamed up. With horse and buggy they canvassed the areas of Gorham, Walker, Victoria, Emmeram, and Hays. They went to their relatives, friends and businessmen to plead their cause. They were always well received and every hospitality was shown to them. They accepted money or material for the church. Any gift large or small was always welcome and appreciated. Not only gifts were offered to them but occasionally a meal, or a Tasse Kaffee und Kuchen, which they enjoyed while traveling along the countryside. They were so successful in their solicitation of funds, and the donations made by the founders that they were able to pay for the material for the church as it was needed.
          It has been an unusual experience to review and study the record book that was kept by my father, the late Moritiz Baier, where every donation whether large or small together with the donor’s name is recorded. Also where the material and the cost of some were purchased. Records show that lumber and supplies were purchased at Walker, Victoria and Hays. The lumber dealers made generous contributions to the building fund. Donations ranged from 25 cents to over $300.00. Not only Catholic friends donated, but non-Catholic businessmen and friends contributed. Among the generous donors were the late Harvey J. Penny and C. M. Wann. Mr. Penny was Catholic. They held extensive interest in land in this community and were generous donors to the parish for many years. The generosity of all these good people made it possible to construct our church on a pay-as-you-go basis.
          Work on the church resumed after the fall farm work was completed. Volunteer workers offered their help to speed the completion of the church. Work on the interior began. Mr. Weigel, the carpenter, returned to work on October 21, and the construction work progressed rapidly. To provide space for a sacristy, living quarters for the pastor and a bedroom, a partition was installed near the west end of the church. Part of the original partition still is in the same location. The center section of the partition was so constructed that it could be removed at a later date to make way for a recessed altar space. The ceiling was boarded solid in preparation for a metal ceiling. The walls were prepared for
Mr. McLain of Hays did the plastering and local help mixed and carried the cement. To provide an entrance to the church a vestibule 10’ x 10’ was added to the east end of the church. A small bell tower was built on the center of the roof to house the bell. Following a custom of laying the floor of a church on a sand bed, the same method was also used here. The purpose of doing this was to eliminate floor drafts and to make a firm and more silent walking floor. In years to come this type of a floor proved to be a haven for termites and many floors had to be removed and replaced.
          To provide water for the site a well was dug. It was located about twenty feet south from the southwest corner of the church. It measured about 25 feet in depth and had a limited amount of water supply. A pump was installed and this well provided water for the pastor and later the Sisters. The exterior of the church was painted and also the woodwork in the interior. Since the windows had just plain glass panes, the panes were painted with a light color paint and scored diagonally. The purpose of this was two-fold. It gave the window panes and the interior of the church a better appearance, and secondly it obscured the exterior view from the interior.
          While the men were busy at work at the church the women were not idle, they had much to do. Donations were always welcome and especially now as there was nothing in the line of furnishings and paraphernalia for the church. They made altar linens, Mass server cassocks and surplices and whatever they could make to furnish the church. Due to lack of funds, only the most essential things were obtained and purchased from donated money. To aid the new parish, St. Fidelis Church of Victoria, donated some vestments and a monstrance. St. Catherine Parish, Catherine, donated a side altar which served as the high altar for many years. St. Francis Parish, Munjor, donated a communion railing. Bernard Huser donated funds to purchase a chalice. Moritz Baier donated a new parlor organ for the choir. The Rajewski family donated funds to purchase items for the altar and the sanctuary. Henry H. Robben and Clement G. Robben donated funds to purchase a bell. The bell was purchased from Montgomery Ward and Co. The bell weighed 350 pounds. The cost was $20.00 plus $4.87 freight. St. Fidelis Menner Verein of Victoria donated $50.00. This society of men was very active in Victoria for many years and its membership extended into the neighboring parishes as the members retained their membership after the Vincent Parish was founded.
 
 
First Pews Made
 
          The first eight pews were made by Moritz Baier, Walter Rajewski and Ulrich Berens in a shed on the Baier farm. These were the only pews in the church on dedication day. They provided sufficient space for the families on completion date. Additional pews were added as needed.
 
 
Choir Organized
 
          The original plan for the church did not call for a choir loft due to the limited height of the ceiling and available space. A small enclosed stage about three feet from the floor was built in the northeast corner of the church. It measured 8’ x 10’ feet. This space was used for a choir until 1925. Walter Rajewski, Lorenz Braun and daughters constituted the first choir. Agnes Rajewski, daughter of Walter Rajewski, became the first organist. They rehearsed in preparation for dedication day.
 
 
Dedication Day
 
          The church structure was completed in early December of 1907, and arrangements were made for the dedication of the church. The structure, simple in design both exterior and interior, did present an atmosphere of great satisfaction in return for many days of hard labor and sacrifice. The interior was neat, cozy and quite devotional.
 
 
St. Boniface Church, Dedicated December 18, 1907
 
          The first Holy Mass to be offered in the new church was said on dedication day Dec. 18. Prior to the Mass, the church was dedicated and blessed by Fr. Jerome Mueller, O.M.Cap., pastor of St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, Kansas, who was delegated by Bishop Cunningham, Bishop of the Concordia Diocese, to perform the dedication ceremony. Fr. Pancratius Dockler, O.M.Cap., preached the festive sermon. Fathers Matthew Hau, O.M. Cap., Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M.Cap., and Fr. Vincent Brandt, O.M.Cap., the first pastor were present in the sanctuary. The first two Mass servers of the parish and who assisted at the dedication Mass were Henry Huser and Joseph Rajewski. They were assisted by Alex J. Dreiling and Peter P. Dreiling servers from the St. Fidelis Church. Shortly thereafter Thomas Baier and Wendelin A. Dreiling became Mass servers. Henry Huser’s and Joseph Rajewski’s services as servers were short lived as they both joined the choir. Henry remained on the choir until his death in Nov. 1966. Joe sang until several years ago when he and his wife moved to Hays to retire.
          Dedication day was a cold stormy day. Nevertheless, many friends and relatives attended the ceremony. A dinner was served in the homes of the parishioners for members of the clergy, relatives and friends.
          A large collection and donations were received on dedication day. Several families expressed their desire to join the parish and contributed generously on that day.
          For the families of this new parish, dedication day was a day of rejoicing and especially a day of thanksgiving. Their long awaited desire and dream had been fulfilled. A
House of God now stood in their midst. They were grateful to their many benefactors. It was through their generosity in contributing both labor and funds that made the construction possible. They were especially jubilant on this day for being debt free. The cost of material and labor amounted to $1700.00. An additional $300.00 was invested in furnishings for the church.
          From this great day to the present our church stands as a living memorial, reminding us of the courage, perseverance and untold sacrifices the founders of our parish made not only for themselves but also for the future generations.
 
 
Patron Chosen
 
          Since all the families involved in the formation of our parish were German speaking people, it was thought proper and most fitting to name the church after the great Apostle of Germany, St. Boniface. The feast day of our Patron is observed on June 5, of each year and for many years in the past a Solemn High Mass was offered on this day, in honor of St. Boniface.
 
 
New Town Named Vincent
 
          When the parishioners were informed that their first Pastor was to be
Rev. Father Vincent Brandt, O.M.Cap., they decided to name the new townsite in honor of their Pastor.
 
 
First Pastor Assigned
 
          Fr. Vincent, the first Pastor of St. Boniface Church officially became pastor on dedication day. No doubt he felt honored to receive the appointment. It is also certain that he realized the many needs of this new parish. Despite the many handicaps confronting him and the parish, one thing that overshadowed all these problems was that he could administer the spiritual needs of his congregation and leave the rest to the good Lord.
          During his tenure as pastor, records show that many urgently needed articles were acquired for the church such as vestments, statues, a ciborium, oil stocks, a chalice and many other items. All this was made possible by donations from the parishioners and  The first two committeemen to be appointed were Moritz Baier and Lorenz Braun and
they served for some time during the early years of the parish existence. Moritz Baier assumed the duties as sacristan and served in that capacity until 1924.
          In 1908 the cemetery was officially surveyed and the tract plotted into lots, streets and alleys. No cross was erected at that time due to lack of funds.
          To provide meals for the pastor and visiting clergy, Mr. and Mrs. Mortiz Baier offered to board the priest. Breakfast was taken to the rectory for the pastor. For the noon and evening meal the pastor would to the Baier home. When inclement weather prevailed the pastor would be hauled by buggy or wagon and an occasional sled ride during the winter months to and from the Baier home for his meals. The pastors always enjoyed a home cooked meal and their presence at the table always created an atmosphere of reverence and dignity and current local and world problems were the general topics of discussion.
          Beginning in 1016 the Rajewski family boarded the pastor and continued to do so for a number of years. 
 
 
Transportation Furnished for the Pastor
 
          Since the only method of transportation was by horse and buggy or wagon, the parishioners took turns to get and return the pastor from Victoria on weekends so that regular services could be held at Vincent. The Pastor would announce during Mass whose turn it would be to get the Pastor the following weekend. The Pastor would set the day and time. Ordinarily the pastor would be gotten on Friday after dinner and returned on Monday morning after Mass. During the summer months when the horses were needed for the field work he was taken beak to Victoria on Sunday afternoon. This method was used until 1923 when the when the parish bought a car for the Pastor. During this period of time, services were held regularly every Sunday. Only on one occasion, due to a misunderstanding as to whose turn it was to get the pastor, no Mass was said on Sunday. However, the parish recited a rosary, litany and other prayers as the time would not permit them to drive to a neighborhood parish to attend Mass.
          Likewise the parishioners took turns to haul coal for the church and furnished kindling wood to light the stoves.
 
 
Religious Instructions
 
          Religious instructions for the children of the new parish was not overlooked, and every effort was made to give them the best possible. As previously stated, the one room school house stood south and east of the church where the children were in attendance. Fr. Vincent, the pastor arranged for the children to leave school on Friday afternoon and to come to the church for instructions. The children walked from school to church. Occasionally the pastor would visit the school for instructions. On Sunday afternoon at 1:30 instructions were also given followed by either Vespers or Rosary and Benediction. The parents always attended and thereby could observe how their children were learning their religion. This custom prevailed for many years in the parish.
          It is not difficult to conclude that the first pastor did an exceptionally well job in getting everything organized and functioning. He was a very kind and understanding man and whatever he did propose or carry out was never done for personal glory but all for the greater honor and glory for God. He served the Parish form December 18,1907 to January 1909. During his tenure several more families joined the parish, and the seed for future growth had been planted.
 
 
Fr. Basil Heim
 
          Fr. Basil became the second Pastor in January of 1909 and served the Parish until October of 1909. During his short stay he continued as his predecessor to add necessary articles for the Church. He was successful in adding six more families to the Parish roster.
 
 
Fr. Edmund Trischler
Nov. 1909-1911
 
          Fr. Edmund, a young priest assumed the duties as pastor in November 1909.
With the advent of Christmas near at hand he saw the need of a crib for the church to solemnize the Feast of Christmas more properly, he induced Brother Wendelin Weisner of
Victoria to make a crib. Brother Wendelin accepted the suggestion and made a beautiful crib which was used for many years in our church. Figures for the crib were purchased. The cost amounted to about $8.00. Fr. Edmund continued to induce more families to join the parish and during his stay was successful in enrolling ten more families to the parish.
          In May of 1910 a cross with a corpse was erected in the cemetery. A sanctuary lamp was installed and two adoring angels were placed on either side of the high altar. Records show that on Jan.19,1910 the first financial statement was submitted to the Bishop. Receipts totaled $740.00 and expenditures were $610.30 leaving a balance of $130.00.
          May 11, 1911, was a day of celebration in the parish. On that day a number of boys and girls made their solemn communion. This was done when the age of 12 had arrived. Also on that day the children who had received the age of seven made their first Holy Communion. This was made possible by a new ruling made at that time.
          Perhaps few parishioners knew that Vincent once had a windmill that was put up in January of 1911 on the well that was previously dug. The tower and mill head cost $54.00. It stood there for about five years when it was sold and removed. There was insufficient water in the well to make the mill useful. Bernard Huser purchased the mill.
 
 
1911 Another Historic Year
 
          The parish was now in its fourth year of existence. It had witnessed a growth in numbers and was quite well established. However, to have a parish in their midst was not the only wish and desire. They wanted better facilities for their children both religious and academic. In the spring months of 1911 a movement began to organize a parish school.   Everyone agreed to the need of such a facility. To build and finance such a project was beyond the ability of a small parish to sponsor. Since this was out of reach other means were discussed. The thought of moving the one room school house from its present location to the parish site was considered.   If the district would consent to this relocation and bear the expense of moving the building and adding an additional room, the parish would finance the building of a home for Sisters and maintain the home if Sisters could be induced to come to Vincent and teach in a public school. This arrangement would offer the training for the children the parishioners and patrons of the district long had desired and not out of reach to finance.
          The Mother Superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, was contacted and the wishes of the parish presented to her. The Sisters agreed to furnish two teachers provided a furnished home was built. With their acceptance no time was lost in planning and building the home. Plans called for a two story home 24’ x 24’ with a half basement. The estimated cost was placed at $1600.00 minus furnishings. There was no building fund or ready cash to finance this construction. Again it meant a great sacrifice for the parishioners to raise funds. All labor except that of a carpenter was to be donated. Relatives and friends again came to their assistance donating money and labor. Work began in spring in the hope to have the home completed by September for the opening of school. While the house was under construction the school house was moved and a room added. It was a busy time at Vincent. What seemed nearly impossible only a few months earlier would soon be a reality. The Pastor, Fr. Edmund, contributed much to this movement and through his advice and encouragement united the community in this undertaking. His Pastorate at Vincent ended in July so he could not remain to see the opening of school and to welcome the Sisters.
 
 
Fr. Pancratius Dockler
July 1911-July 1912
 
          The new pastor was no stranger to the parishioners and his coming was welcomed. He proceeded to see the completion of the buildings and the arrival of the first Sisters. It pleased him very much that the parish now had facilities to take care of the religious training of the youth. The school opened and operated much like a parochial school.
The only difference was in the method of support. The District paid the Sisters and maintained the school while the parish assumed the needs for the Sisters home. This was the first public school to have Nuns as teachers in Ellis County. The first teachers were Sr. Sylvester and Sister Borgia. They were also blood sisters. They taught in our school for a number of years. This arrangement worked satisfactorily for many years or until the time came when the Nuns were withdrawn due to the lack of teachers to staff the school. This withdrawal took place after the close of school in the spring of 1956.
          After the Sisters house was completed and furnished, only a small debt remained to be paid and this was soon liquidated.
          Fr. Pancratius served the parish for one year. He loved to preach and when the opportunity presented itself he lectured to non-Catholics, bringing the word of God to them.
 
 
Fr. Celestine Oswald
July 1912-July 1916
 
          Fr. Celestine, a young and energetic person soon found things to do at Vincent. A number of hand tools were purchased and work began. In early 1913 the metal border on the church ceiling was installed. A floral embossed wall board was placed on the wall behind the high altar and bordered with a frame to give the area a more attractive and secluded appearance. In 1914 a sidewalk was laid south of the church and a fence built along the east property line to keep out stray animals. A cistern was dug and gutter placed on the church. In the spring of 1915 Windophanie was placed on the church windows. This beautiful paper in brilliant colors marked a great improvement in appearance to the interior of the church. In the fall of 1913 the first parish mission was held.
          The German language was used almost exclusively in all the churches in this area. St. Boniface Church was no exception. Sermons were delivered in German and the prayers and confessions were likewise so done. Fr. Celestine saw the need of a change and once or twice a month delivered an English sermon and advocated English confessions. Some opposed this change vigorously and threatened to leave the parish. But in due time it became evident that it was for the best interest of the youth and the English was accepted. Our parish was one of the first parishes in this area to make this transition. This change proved especially helpful to the young men of the parish who were called to service in World War One. Due to the untiring efforts of Fr. Celestine much was accomplished during his four year stay here at Vincent.
 
 
Store Opened At Vincent
 
          In the spring of 1914 Jacob Falkenstein moved his store from Pfeifer to Vincent and conducted a general merchandise business. The store stood across the road due east from the present school. This was during the horse and buggy days and he did a good business. He sold groceries and dry goods and bought cream and eggs. When the auto came into use his business suffered and like many country stores soon was forced to close as he could not compete with the city markets.
 
 
Fr. Ulrich Zeller
July 1916-Sept. 1917
 
          Fr. Ulrich Zeller was no stranger to the parishioners as he had been stationed in nearby parishes.
          Since the original church structure did not have a tower, it was decided to construct a tower on the church to give it a better appearance. In the spring of 1917 sufficient donations were received to warrant the construction. Alex Schueler, Sr. from Catherine was hired as carpenter and the men of the parish supplied the labor. Total cost amounted to about $300.00.
          Fr. Ulrich loved to play cards and introduced the game of Pinochle to the parishioners. In leisure time he enjoyed his cigars. After one year as Pastor he was transformed to another parish. His presence was greatly missed.
 
 
Fr. Chrysostom Jacob
Nov. 1917- July 1919
 
       It was a cold November day when Fr. Chrysostom made his appearance at Vincent. Shortly after his arrival he went to the school to meet the Sisters and the children. As he approached the school, all the children viewed him in amazement. He was of average height and heavy build, wearing a long white beard. With his cowl over his head and a long Pennsylvania Stogie cigar in his mouth, leaving a cloud of smoke behind him as he entered the school.
          The children greeted him as all the priests were greeted and he responded in German “Ich bin der Santa Claus.” This caused quite a roar of laughter. He enjoyed children and having them about him. Some of the smaller children could not remember his name and soon called him Santa Claus. While this was perhaps not an appropriate name for a Pastor, it was but a short time until this title did prove to become a reality.
            Living quarters for the pastor were very inadequate. One room served as the parish office and living quarters. The small bedroom, (now the south sacristy) was not too comfortable a room to sleep in. A pastor’s residence was badly needed. To build a residence and remodel the church would require quite an amount of money which was not available at that time. Fr. Chrysostom had friends and relatives back east, and he proceeded to solicit money to finance this undertaking. The parishioners seeing the need of this improvement donated money, and held raffles to start a building fund.
          In a brief period of time sufficient funds were on hand or pledged to construct the rectory. Construction began in early 1918 and on March 19, 1918, the cornerstone was laid. The plan called for a one story building 26’ x 28’ with four rooms and a small basement. Fred Tholen and Moritz Baier supervised the construction and did the carpenter work. The men of the parish furnished the labor. The rectory was completed by early spring and the pastor moved into his new home. The cost of the rectory was $760.00.
 
 
Sanctuary Remodeled in 1918
 
          In May of 1918 the partition was removed which separated the sanctuary from the living quarters and office behind the high altar. This enlarged the sanctuary and a recessed area for the high altar. The bedroom in the southwest corner of the church was converted into the altar boy’s sacristy. The interior of the church was painted after alterations were completed.
 
 
New High Altar Installed
 
          In May of 1918 a new High Altar was installed. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Christian Steinmetz of Wheeling, West Virginia, friends of the pastor.
          The late John Linenberger, a carpenter and cabinet maker of Victoria made and installed the altar.
          This change greatly improved the interior of the church. The old high altar was converted in a side altar. Both altars served their use until recent years when new altars were installed. 
          The pastor was most grateful to the parishioners and to his many friends who contributed to make these necessary improvements and in such a short period of time. His two year stay at Vincent and the accomplishments experienced were long remembered by the parishioners. He was truly a Santa Claus to the parish and lived up to this title from the first day he arrives at Vincent when he introduced himself as Santa Claus. In July of 1919 he was transferred to Walker, Kansas.
 
 
Fr. Michael Neff, O. M. Cap
Sept. 1919-Feb. 1920
 
          During this short period of time nothing special occurred. He performed his pastoral duties and the parish continued to grow. 
 
 
Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M. Cap
Feb. 1920-Dec. 1921
 
          Fr. Emmeram who was well known in this area as a pastor and designer and builder of churches became pastor of St Boniface. He was a very religious man, loved to preach and was a pastor loved by all. No special improvements were made during his stay at Vincent.
 
 
Fr Michael Neff Returns
Dec. 1921-July 1925
 
     Fr. Michael returned to Vincent as pastor and during his tenure as pastor a number of interesting things took place. 
     The original custom of taking turns by the families of the parish to transport the pastor to and from Vincent to Victoria still existed. It had worked splendidly, but Fr. Michael felt the time had come for a better way of transportation and for more service to the parish by the pastor. Fr. Michael loved to ride a motorcycle and suggested the purchase of one. However the parish felt that a car would be more appropriate for a pastor. In August of 1922 the first parish car was purchased. Each family was assessed $30.00 and a car was purchased. This relieved the families of transporting the pastor. On June 19, 1923, the parish held its first picnic. Additional pews were installed in 1924 to accommodate the parish which was steadily growing. Two Sunday Masses were inaugurated.
     For several years the pastor advocated the renting of the pews to increase the revenue for the church. Up until this time the men occupied the pews on the Epistle side and the women the pews on the Gospel side of the church. Renting of the pews would permit each family to be together in church. After several years of meetings and discussions the pews were rented for the first time on Feb. 22, 1925.
     In August of 1024 the parish was assessed $200.00 by Bishop Tief to build on Episcopal residence at Concordia. Each family was assessed $6.00 and the debt was paid.
 
 
Silver Jubilee
Fr. Michael Neff
 
     On June 4, 1925 the Parish joined with Fr. Michael in celebrating his silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood. A solemn High Mass opened the activities followed by a dinner and an all day parish picnic. The parish gave him $100.00 as a jubilee gift.
     Fr. Michael loved to work in the harvest field and when harvest came he could be found pitching wheat in a header box. He worked at the Baier and Rajewski farms.
     In 1925 the present school building was constructed by the district. Although not completed in June it was used to celebrate Fr. Michael’s Silver Jubilee. In July he was transferred to Antonino
 
 
Fr. Edward Heyl
July 1925-Feb. 1927
 
   As Fr. Edward arrived he found a thriving parish and the need of additional space in church to accommodate the parishioners. In the fall of 1925 the nave was lengthened by extending the front of the church out as far as the tower. The space gained on either side was 10’ by 10’. A choir loft was built into this space on the south side: and the confessional and shrine now occupy the space gained on the north side. The men of the parish did the work under the supervision of Mr. P. P. A. Dreiling of Victoria. The cost amounted to $313.95. New pews were added to fill the space gained by the extension. In April of 1926 the interior and exterior of the church were painted. A new car was purchased in January of 1927, a difference of $515.00 was paid. Fr. Edward had made his contribution and was relieved of his duties in February 1927.
 
 
Fr. Raphael Engel
Feb. 1927-July 1927
 
   Fr. Raphael, assistant pastor at Victoria was assigned as a temporary pastor of our parish to fill the unexpired term of Fr. Edward. No special improvements were made during his short stay. 
 
 
Fr. Callistus Rectenwald
July 1927-July 1928
 
   Fr. Callistus Rectenwald came to Vincent as a young ordained priest and this assignment was his first as a pastor of a parish.
 
 
Picture of Fr. Callistus Rectenwald
 
     Father Callistus, Louis Rectenwald, was born and raised in the large industrial city of Pittsburgh, PA. The son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Louis A. Rectenwald and the second oldest of a family of ten.l There were four boys and six girls in the family. Mr. Rectenwald was a pharmacist and chemist by profession. As a boy and young man Father Callistus assisted his father in the operation of the drugstore
     Fr. Callistus began his studies for the priesthood at a Benedictine college. After a year of study there he transformed to St. Fidelis Seminary, Herman, Pa., to study for the capuchins. Completing his novitiate, he came to St. Fidelis Monastery, Victoria, Kansas, to study philosophy. After his theological training at SS Peter and Paul’s Monastery, Cumberland, Md., Father was ordained, June 15, 1926, by Archbishop Curley of Baltimore, Maryland.
His first appointment was to major in education at Catholic University of America. When his health broke down the following year, he came to Vincent as pastor.
     Coming to Kansas as a cleric to study philosophy, gave Father Callistus his first view of Kansas. The great open plains country, the people and their living habits, the climate and photography all so different in comparison with his home state of Pennsylvania.
 
 
First Assignment 1927
 
          Were it possible to put in words the thoughts and fears experienced by Father Callistus when he was notified of his appointment as a pastor of Vincent, Kansas, it would in itself make a most interesting story to read. To leave a city, the heavily populated areas, the mountains, rivers, and acquaintances and go to Kansas to a country sometimes in the East referred to as the wild west, where the coyotes howl, the winds, snow, and dust blow madly, no mountains and but few trees in sight, and to live a solitary life in a rural parish caused near despair.
          In obedience he came, determined to conquer all obstacles and perform his duties as a pastor to which he had been assigned.
          The Parish welcomed him and felt very fortunate to have the services of a young devoted pastor. In a brief period of time he became a friend to everyone. Soon after his arrival he could be found in working clothes, painting, repairing or working about the buildings. His zeal and devotion to the parish was soon noted by the congregation and in return he received its wholehearted support.
          Every pastor has his worries. In October of 1927 the parish received its second assessment to help liquidate the debt on the Bishop’s House at Concordia, the Episcopal See of the Concordia, Diocese. A previous assessment of $200.00 had been paid. This additional $800.00 assessment was considered an unjust levy on such a small parish. It was paid in small installments over a period of several years.
          With the approach of the Christmas season, Father remodeled the crib and made plans for a beautiful Nativity scene in the church. The first Christmas at Vincent may well be recorded as the beginning of the beautiful Nativity scenes we have had the pleasure to view and enjoy over the past many years. Few men have the art of producing such a masterpiece as Father Callistus.
          Feb. of 1928 found our pastor busy replacing the imitation stained glass paper on the church windows. He did most of the work himself and did it most artistically. The colors, designs, symbols, portraits and arrangement incorporated into each window gave it a truly liturgical effect. This added much beauty to the interior of the church. With the bright rays of sun shining through the beautiful colors in the windows it was believed by many that the church had stained glass windows. There were other improvements on the list to be undertaken.
          However, everything came to a halt when the unexpected announcement came that our pastor was to leave our parish and be transferred to Charleston, West Virginia. Father Callistus had adapted himself to the people, the parish, the quiet life and especially to our church. He had won the admiration of every one and his leaving was regretted both by the pastor and the parish.
 
 
Father Fidelis Meier
July 1928-Nov. 1928
 
          Father Fidelis Meier, a retired professor accepted the pastorate at Vincent believing that he could perform the pastoral work in a small parish. However, in a brief period of time he experienced that the duties of a rural pastor were more than what he could cope with.  Driving a car in all types of weather, building his own fire in the rectory and church and living alone were quite different from monastery life and he resigned after a brief stay.
 
 
Father Raymond Ryan
Nov. 1928-Feb.1929
 
            Father Raymond was appointed pastor and, not in good health soon experienced that the duties in a rural parish, as mentioned before, were more than his health would permit.
In fairness to the parish he asked to be relieved of his duties in Feb. 1929.
 
 
Father Callistus Returns
Feb. 1929
 
       After leaving Vincent in July of 1028 and returning to the East for pastoral work, he soon experienced that the climatic conditions there did not agree with him and became ill. In the fall of 1928 he was transferred back to Victoria to recuperate. No doubt there was one thought and prayer in Father Callistus’ mind and that dear Lord, give me back Vincent. This wish and desire became a reality in February 1929. The parish was very happy when the announcement came that Fasther Callistus would return to Vincent.
          Upon his return Father started to make the improvements which he had previously planned on making. One of the first improvements to be made was the beautification of the sanctuary. A new carpet was laid on the predella; linoleum on the sanctuary floor; communion rail lowered; the closets in the sacristies remodeled, all this just a beginning of many more improvements.
          The years from 1929 to the present time have been filled with so many improvements and to overlook them and not to make mention of them as they occurred would certainly be a great injustice to our Pastor and the parishioners who have cooperated so splendidly over this long period of time. The accomplishments for such a small parish as this is so remarkable and unique that it may well become a symbol for other parishes to follow. Likewise it is important that the many sacrifices and contributions our Pastor has made be properly documented that not only this generation but the future generations may be reminded of and given the opportunity to appreciate what has been done for them by the Pastor and parishioners.
 
 
List of the major improvements
1929-1968
 
1929—Laundry addition to Sisters House                                         $ 264.75
          New Car $700.00, Sacred Heart Statue                                               91.00                 Vestment Cabinet                                                                    100.10
1930—New Chimney on the Church                                                    71.40
        Plastering of rectory                                                            170.00
1932—Electric Light Plant                                                                   50.00
          Wiring and fixtures                                                              172.00
1936—Oil Heater for Church                                                               85.00
1937—New Car                                                                             590.00
1940—Shingling of Church roof                                                        161.92
1943—Baptismal Font                                                                    135.03
1944—Stations of the Cross                                                            257.23
          Celutex wall board (Church)                                                  318.04
          Windophanie for Windows                                                     306.42
1945—Rectory Bathroom                                                                597.39
1946—Electric Bell Ringer                                                                  275.00
          New Garage                                                                       638.47
          Shingling of rectory                                                             118.08
          Gas Installation all Bldgs.                                                     1307.62
          New bell, Church tower                                                        431.55
1947—Wurlitzer Organ                                                                  3620.00
          Tile floor in church                                                               344.84
          Oak floor Sisters House                                                        170.42
          Kneeling pads for pews                                                        400.00
1948—New Car                                                                           1679.00
          Calvary Group (Cemetery)                                                  1307.62
          Rectory furnace                                                                    175.81
          Gold Vestment                                                                      239.95
1949—Annex to Church                                                                 1230.20
          Cabinets for sacristy                                                              197.50
1950—Water well, pipes, etc.                                                            742.48
1951—Sisters Bathroom                                                                   473.48
          Fatima Statue                                                                       212.20
1952—Asbestos Siding (Church)                                                        301.59
          Celutex, Church ceiling                                                           204.72
1953—Asphalt shingles (tower)                                                         130.87
          Light fixtures in church                                                           866.00
          Sanctuary Lamps                                                                  250.00
          Infant of Prague statue and throne                                         160.00
          Gutter for church                                                                  106.29
1955—New Car                                                                            1623.00
          Water pump and Tank                                                         260.00
1956—Stained Glass Windows                                                         5096.00
1958—Lecturn                                                                     150.00
1958—New Pews                                                                         3148.00
1959—Sanctuary floor remodeled and Communion Rail                        425.00
          Sedelia                                                                              160.00
          Carpet for Sanctuary                                                           375.00
          Electric fans for the Church                                                   200.00
          Lanterns at Church entrance                                                  112.07
          Fire extinguishers                                                                269.85
1960—Metal Utility shed                                                                  171.80
1961—Sanctuary remodeled                                                           3762.00
          Lawn Mower                                                                       300.00
1962—Stainless Cross for Church tower                                             150.80
          Brass adjustable Pedestals                                                    210.00
1963—New Confessional & Lighting                                                   269.95
          Oak paneling on Church walls                                                 450.00
          New oak inside church doors and stained glass                         398.95
          Baptismal font                                                                    225.00
          Cadet tractor mower                                                            685.00
          Lightning rods for the church                                                 196.30
1964-- Ciborium                                                                            146.54
          New furnaces for church                                                      349.00
          Cushions for communion rail                                                    79.64
          Portable Altar                                                                       120.00
1965—Ciborium                                                                              203.34
          Lecturn                                                                             120.00
          New Car                                                                           2190.00
          Pew book racks                                                                  120.40
1966—Oak window frames in church                                                   480.00
          Painting the church tower                                                        153.55
          Reshingling of the church roof                                                 700.00
          In addition to the above mentioned improvements there were many donations for items for the sanctuary, vestments and supplies and if their value would be included the total figure would be amazing.
          Relatives and friends of our Pastor have contributed the sum of $9008.00 to our Parish. Many reside in Pennsylvania. In addition to this our Pastor himself has contributed $5389.00, the profit of thousand of rosaries he made and sold. Without these two generous contributions many of the improvements would not have been made.
          The Parish owes a great debt of gratitude and thanks to our Pastor and benefactors for their generous contributions.
          In addition to his pastoral duties at Vincent, Father Callistus has taught at St. Francis Seminary for the past sixteen years. His specialty: Latin. For a number of years he has taught Latin IV, and tutors special students. Through his teaching efforts many students have received Latin awards from the National Association for the promotion of the
Study of Latin.
 
 
Water Problem Solved
 
       A shortage of water existed since the parish was formed. The original well failed, rainfall was insufficient on many occasions to keep the cistern filled with water. For many years water had to be hauled so that the Pastor and Sisters had water for their use. Every attempt had been made to find water on the church premises but to no avail. In 1950 another attempt was made to find water. It was discovered on the William Baier farm about one hundred feet west from the northwest corner of the church property. A well was drilled by hand, a pit for the pump was dug, a pipeline laid to the buildings and necessary connections were made and from that date there has been an ample supply of water at Vincent. Many of the trees and shrubs would not be found about the buildings had this water supply not been discovered. The buildings were modernized and a most needed improvement realized.
 
Portable Altar Installed
 
           In compliance with the changes made in recent years and the and the introduction of the English language in the liturgy of the church our parish readily conformed with the new rulings and installed a portable altar. The first English Mass that was said in our parish took place on Christmas Day 1964. This change was well received by the parishioners. The Pastor is most pleased for this cooperation.
 
 
Diocesan Assessments on the Parish
 
          St. Boniface Parish has shared in various assessments made by our Bishop for Diocesan projects.
          1924—For construction of Bishop’s House at Concordia                       $200.00
          1927—Second assessment for Bishop’s house                                    800.00
          1952—For the construction of the new Cathedral at Salina                     286.50
          1962—For the construction of the Newman Club Center
                   At Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas                        1650.00
 
 
Anniversaries
 
          In the years past a number of anniversaries and Jubilees have been observed in the parish.
 
 
Silver Jubilee
1925
 
       Father Michael Neff, Pastor celebrated his Silver Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood on June 4, 1925. A Solemn High Mass of thanksgiving followed by a dinner and an all-day picnic climaxed the day’s program. This was the first celebration of its kind to be held at Vincent.
 
 
Parish Twenty-Fifth Anniversary
1932
 
          The parish celebrated its Silver Anniversary on Sept. 5, 1932. A Solemn High Mass was celebrated by the Pastor Father Callistus, assisted by Father Alfred Carney as
Deacon and Father Edwin Dorzweiler as Subdeacon. Father Alfred preached the festival sermon. An all day parish picnic followed. The ladies of the parish served a chicken dinner and supper in the school hall.
 
 
Vincent Celebrated 40th Anniversary
1947
 
 
          The fortieth anniversary of the formation of our parish at Vincent was celebrated on December 8, 1947, with the Rev. Fr. Alfred Carney, as the celebrant at the solemn High Mass. Assisting Fr. Alfred at the altar were Rev. Richard Bollig as Deacon and Father Callistus as Subdeacon. Fr. Alfred delivered the sermon. The celebration was also the occasion of the blessing of the new Wurlitzer double manual electronic organ purchased for the church. The purchase made possible by donations of the parishioners. An all day celebration had been planned but due to bad roads and inclement weather activities were confined to the church services.
 
 
Organist Marks 25th year at Keys
1949
 
          News Years day Jan. 1, 1949 marked the 25th. Anniversary of William Baier as organist of St. Boniface’s church. A High Mass was offered by the pastor in thanksgiving for his services to the parish.
          While attending St. Joseph’s college at Hays, Mr. Baier studied music, receiving his training from the late Father Didacus, O.F.M. Cap. He was graduated from the college in the spring of 1924 and took over the duties as organist and choir director on Jan. 1, 1924.
          In appreciation of these 25 years of service to the parish, the Pastor on behalf of the Parish presented Mr. Baier as a gift a large silver plague of the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother, centered with a bouquet of flowers upon which the figure 25 is displayed.
 
 
Father Callistus Silver Jubilee
 
          Rev. Father Callistus Rectenwald, pastor of Vincent, celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary in the priesthood on Thursday, June14, 1951. The day’s festivities began with a Solemn High Mass at 9:30 AM. Celebrant of the Mass was the Rev. Jubilarian; He was assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Alfred as Deacon, and Very Rev. Fr. Claude as subdeacon. Fr. Christian acted as Master of Ceremonies. Fr. Virgil Kuhn delivered a sermon on the priesthood, a eulogy, becoming and beautiful. Servers for the Mass included Joseph Leiker and Jerry Lee Wellbrock, thurifers, and Donald Wellbrock and Adrian Leiker, acolytes. The choir under the direction of Mr. William Baier, organist, sang the choral Mass by Gounod.
          Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed the Mass and at its conclusion the entire congregation sang the TeDeum.
          The parishioners and guests assembled in the school hall shortly after Mass for the festive dinner. Among the seventeen clergy-men present were two of special distinction; namely, Fr. Richard and Fr. Mathias, classmates of the Jubilarian. The ladies of the parish did a commendable job of preparing and serving the meal to approximately a hundred and fifty guests. A triple layer cake, baked and tastefully decorated by Mrs. Louis Leiker and daughters formed the centerpiece of the head table. Sister Tersina made clever cutouts of Capuchin friars to serve as placecards.
          `In the brief address concluding the banquet, Fr. Christian introduced the Rev. Jubilarian who in turn thanked all for what they had done for him, especially the people of Vincent among whom he had labored for twenty-three years. The Capuchin friars brought the celebration to a musical conclusion with a rendition of the “Ultima, a hymn in honor of the Blessed Virgin.
 
 
Parish Golden Jubilee
1957
 
       A Solemn High Mass was celebrated Monday Dec, 9, 1957, in St. Boniface Church to commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the founding and dedication of the church and parish.
          The Rev. Mark Linnenberger was celebrant of the Solemn High Mass with Father Bertrand Brookman, then the Dean of the Hays Deanery, as Deacon, and Father Raphael Engel as Subdeacon. Master of ceremonies was Father Virgil Kuhn. Father Simon of
Victoria delivered the Jubilee sermon. Other Clergy present for the occasion were Fathers Mathias, Francis, Christian, Hyacinth, Walter, Richard, Ervan, Gabriel and our Pastor Father Callistus. Brother Sebastian of Hays also attended.
          A dinner for the clergy, visitors and parishioners was served in the school hall after the Mass. The women of the Parish served the dinner. A short program followed the dinner with William Baier as Master of Ceremonies. Visiting clergy were introduced, and congratulatory remarks were made by several of the visiting clergy. This day was long to be remembered by those who attended the festivities.
 
Golden Wedding Anniversaries
 
       The first Golden Wedding to be celebrated in the parish took place on June, 1946. Mr. Mrs. Mortiz Baier, founders of the parish, celebrated their Golden Wedding in the church and parish they helped to organize. A Solemn High Mass opened the day’s program with the Very Rev. Provincial, Father Claude Vogel delivering the Jubilee sermon. A large number of clergy attended the Mass, and dinner was served for the clergy, family, relatives and friends in the K of C Hall at Victoria.
          Other families to observe their Golden Wedding Anniversary in the parish are: Mr. and Mrs. Bernard H. Munk, Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Kippes and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rajewski.
          A number of families in the parish have also observed their Silver Wedding Anniversaries.
 
Rajewski Nuns Observe Anniversaries
 
          Three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, founders of our parish, chose the religious life and became members of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, Kansas.
          Agnes, the eldest daughter entered the convent in August 1911 and is known as Sr. M. Hubert. In 1936 she celebrated her Silver Jubilee. In 1961 she observed her Golden Jubilee. Both occasions were celebrated in her home parish, St. Boniface Church. 
          Clara, the second oldest daughter entered the convent in early spring of 1921 and took the name of Sr. M. Alice Irene. In 1946 she returned to her native parish to celebrate her Silver Anniversary.
          Mary, the youngest daughter and child of the Rajewski family entered the convent in 1925 and took the name of Sr. M. Alvarita. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee at Vincent in 1950. She died in July of 1956 at Salina Kansas.
 
Parish Organists
 
       Since the formation of the parish in 1907, it has been fortunate in having the services of an organist. To date five parishioners have shared the honor and duty as organist of our parish.
          Agnes Rajewski, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, now Sr. M. Hubert, was the first organist of our parish and gave her services until she entered the convent in 1911.
          Mary Baier, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Mortiz Baier, and Clara Rajewski, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, no Sr. M. Alice Irene became organists. Mary Baier played the organ for the High Masses and Clara the Vespers and Benediction. This continued until 1921, when Clara entered the convent, Mary, who married Joseph Rajewski in June of 1921, continued to play until May of 1922.
          Leo Rajewski then assumed the duties as organist and played until the end of the year of 1923.
          William Baier assumed the duties as organist of the parish on January 1, 1924 and has served continuously from that date.
 
 
Unique Nativity Scene
 
          For a number of years our Pastor has created a most unique Nativity scene in our church for the Christmas season. Not only the parish but the entire surrounding community has enjoyed viewing one of the most beautiful and truly Christmas Nativity scenes prepared by our Pastor, Father Callistus. There is perhaps none to be found that can compare in beauty, originality, design, and one that exemplifies the true purpose and meaning of Christmas, as the one that is to be found in our church t Christmas time. On this scene you can find a beautiful set of figures replicas of the Holy Family, the Wise Men and Shepherds, the sheep and other animals that could be found in the land where our Lord was born. There are the hills with their ledge of rock, the valleys where the shepherds are watching their flock of sheep, the streams and waterfalls, and the pine trees adorned with lights and ornaments, portray such an illustrious scene that cannot be justly described in words. The revolving color light that casts a variety of colors on the scene giving the effect of early morning light, the brightness of midday and the setting of the evening sun. The bright shining star of Bethlehem above the scene casting out its inviting rays of light, inviting all to come to see our Lord in the crib. In addition to all this you will find an unusual collection of stones, shells, and pieces of ore from nearly country and island of the world. They are arranged on the landscaping in a manner to display their beauty. Why the stones and shells we may ask? As this collection of stones and shells represent nearly all the lands of the earth, they represent the people of the world for whom Christ was born, lived, suffered and died, for the redemption of all mankind. This is what makes the scene so impressive and inspiring. 
          It has taken a number of years to make up this collection of stones. After it became known that Father Calllistus was interested in such a collection, friends, relatives, and others began collecting and sending rare and beautiful pieces of stone, ore or shells to him for his collection. Young men of our parish serving in the armed forces in foreign lands contributed towards this collection. Many were obtained by the pastor by writing to foreign missionaries for stones, etc., and through their cooperation the pastor has been able to make up this beautiful collection. It is no doubt one of the most unique collections to be found anywhere. Each stone and shell is labeled so that it can be fully identified as to its place of origin.
 
 
The Grotto
 
       The late John Heger, a former parishioner, having great devotion to the Blessed
Virgin Mary, donated a statue of the Blessed Virgin in 1974, with a specific request that a grotto be built on a hill near Big Creek, and that this statue be placed therein. The site chosen is on the south bank of Big Creek one-half mile east of the church.
          The grotto is built of rock found in that vicinity. Stone steps lead from the base of the hill to the towering ledge where the grotto stands. Father Callistus, Joseph Rajewski and his two sons constructed the grotto.    Many visitors have visited the grotto since its erection.
          John Heger, a brother of the late Mrs. Walter Rajewski, came to this country many years ago and worked in this community for many years. He made his home with the Rajewski family. He donated the greater part of his life’s savings to the church and he will always be remembered by those who knew him for his generosity.
          He spent his final years of his life in California. He was born at GrossTriebendorf, Austria. He died August 7, 1949, at San Jose, California, and is buried there.
 
  
Calvary Group
 
          In 1948 the present Calvary Group was erected on the cemetery. It was one of the most beautiful groups to be found in any cemetery. John Heger donated the funds for the group. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rajewski, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rajewski and Mr. and Mrs. Leo Rajewski donated the funds for the base and altar on which the group rests.
          Men of the parish furnished the labor. Alfred Dreiling supervised the work and did the masonry work.
 
Disaster Strikes
 
          For many years the parish did not experience any loss by fire or tornado. On December 6, 1962, a near disastrous fire threatened to destroy the church structure.
          Redecoration of the interior of the church was in progress and the work was in the final stages of completion to have it ready for Christmas. The new altars and the communion rail had just been installed, new flooring laid and the men were putting on the final coat of paint on the ceiling. All seemed well when they left for lunch, but when they returned about forty five minutes later, they found the church filled with smoke.    Edward F. Schulte, a painter and a member of the parish called the Victoria fire department for assistance.  While waiting for the fire department to arrive, the painters fought the fire, holding it in control with fire extinguishers and water hose. Members of the parish soon arrived to assist in extinguishing the fire. Other units from Hays answered the call bringing water chemicals. The fire was brought under control, however considerable damage was done to the south wall of the church where the fire started. The sanctuary floor, communion rail and front pews received the most damage. Other than smoke tarnishing the beautiful altars, the church interior and stained glass windows were spared further effects. The loss was covered by insurance and the final estimate was set at $3997.50 Work immediately began to repair the damage done and by Christmas most of the work was completed. Origin of the fire remains unknown. After all repair work was completed our little church known as the “Pearl of the Prairie” again stood in all its beauty and splendor. The parishioners never can be too thankful to the Lord for sparing our church from total destruction.
 
 
Survivors
 
          It is of interest to find that since the parish was organized in 1907 to the present time that there are a number of the original parishioners still living. Records show that there are five of the original parishioners still residing in the Vincent community and the members of St. Boniface Church. A number of others reside in other areas and belong to other parishes.
 
          The five surviving parishioners are:
 
Mr. and Mrs. Leo Rajewski                                Mr. & Mrs. Alfred A. Dreiling
William Baier
 
 
          Surviving parishioners living in other areas:
 
Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich H. Berens     (Founders)                            Victoria, Kansas
Louis Berens                                                                      Collyer, Kansas
Mrs. Peter I. Weigel     (Foundress)                                       Oakley, Kansas
Rose Weigel   (Mrs. John Windholz)                                        Walker, Kansas
Anna Weigel   (Mrs. Joseph Mader)                                        Oakley, Kansas
Mary Weigel   (Mrs. Bernard Mader)                                      Oakley, Kansas
Frank Rajewski                                                                  Hays, Kansas
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rajewski                                               Hays, Kansas
Sr. M. Hubert Rajewski                                                        Concordia, Kansas
Sr. M. Alice Irene Rajewski                                                  Silver City, New Mexico
Philomena Rajewski   (Mrs. Joseph Haselhorst)                        Antonino, Kansas
Herman Huser                                                                   Omaha, Nebraska
Bernard Huser                                                                   Salina, Kansas
Elizabeth Huser   (Mrs. Oscar Roussea)                                  Wichita, Kansas
Catherine Huser   (Mrs. Gabriel Brull)                                     Hays, Kansas
Margaret Reichert   (Mrs. B. J. Schulte)                                  Hays, Kansas
Anna Reichert    (Mrs. Frank Schippers)                                 Victoria, Kansas
Odilla Reichert   (Mrs. Joseph Langlois)                                   Monmouth, Illinois
Matilda Reichert   (Mrs. Louis Scheck)                                    Loveland, Colorado
Andreas L. Braun                                                               Victoria, Kansas
Wendelin L. Braun                                                              Hays, Kansas
Catherine Braun   (Mrs. Anthony Denning                                Victoria, Kansas
Mary Braun   (Mrs. Joseph Younger)                                      Tribune, Kansas
Clara Braun   (Mrs. Isidore Binder)                                        Hays, Kansas
Dreiling                                                                             Larned, Kansas
 
 
 
 
Parishioners active in Community Organizations
 
       Although all the parishioners are living on and operating a farm , a number of them have contributed generously of their time and effort to fraternal organizations farm programs and farm organizations, service on the local and high school boards and other boards and community projects.
          A large per cent of the men of the parish are members of the Knights of Columbus and many of the ladies members of the Daughters of Isabella. William Baier and Leo Rajewski and James Rajewski have served as Grand Knight of St. Fidelis Council at Victoria.
Likewise William Baier, Leo Rajewski and Herman Wellbrock have served terms of the Faithful Navigator of the Fourth Degree Assembly at Victoria. Others have held other offices and committee assignments. Mrs. Alfred Dreiling held the office of Regent for the Daughters of Isabella for several years. Other members have been very active in promoting the work of their organization. It can well be said that this community has always excelled in leadership.
 
 
          The parish can well feel proud of one of its former parishioners, Elmer Vonfeldt, who is the present editor of the Columbia, the monthly publication of the Knights of Columbus, which has the largest circulation of all Catholic publications of our country. Prior to this appointment he served as a reporter for the National Catholic Welfare Council, Washington, D.C. Headquarters for Mr. Vonfeldt is at the home office of the Knights of Columbus, New Haven, Conn.
 
          Members of the parish who served in World War One
 
Name............................................................................................ Branch of Service
Joseph Rajewski................................................................... Army 89th. Div. Inf. Co. K.
Nick Schmidtberger*............................................................ Army 34th. Div. reg. Co. D.
Balthasar Vonfeldt*.......................................................... Army F. Remount sp. Co. 320
Peter G. Vonfeldt.............................................................................. Army Med. Corps
Henry Huser*........................................................................ Army Med Corps Base 23
Thomas A. Baier*.............................................................................. Army Med Corps
Wendelin A. Dreiling*................................................. Army 10th. Div. 30th Mach Gun Bat.
......................................................................................................... Camp Funston
Jake Bell*................................................................ Army 6th. Inf. Co. K Camp Funston
Joseph Lederhos*................................................... Army 3rd. Div. 7th. Inf.Co. L (Gassed)
 
No casualties                                                        * Deceased
 
          Young men from our parish who have served our Country in World War Two, Korean War, Army of Occupation, military training and National Guard.
 
Paul Baier           Lloyd Kippes                 LeRoy Schmidtberger          Delbert Truan
Roy Baier           Verlin Leiker                 Alvin Schmidtberger            Arthur Vonfeldt
Victor Berens      Joseph Leiker                Virgil Schmidtberger            Robert D. VonLintel
LaVern Braun      Robert Leiker                Richard Schmidtberger        Allen D. VonLintel
Gerald Braun       Frederick Munk             Albert Staab                      Gary VonLintel
Wilbert Dreiling    Gilbert Rajewski            Albert Schulte                    Regis VonLintel
Earl Huser          Vern Gene Rajewski       Virgil Schulte                     Roger VonLintel
Julian Huser        Marvin Rajewski            Gary Schulte                     Leroy Wellbrock
Roy Kippes         Delando Rajewski          William Smith                     Milton Wellbrock
Eugene Kippes    Celestine Riedel              Frederick Tholen                Wayne Wittman
 
          The parish can feel proud of the large number of its young men who have answered the call of duty to their country. With but a few exceptions, unless because of physical conditions, every young man took his training. Several fought in battles on foreign lands to protect our freedom. The parish has been especially blessed through all the wars of the past 50 years that not a single one was seriously wounded or gave his life for his country. Pray that it will never happen.
 
Conclusion
 
          It has been a most interesting and gratifying experience to write the history of our Parish. The years past have been marked with events that should be of special interest to the readers of this history. To the young generation it should be of special interest. May the readers receive as much enjoyment and knowledge as I myself did recording the past events. I am pleased to make this contribution to our Parish, its members and friends.
          We can truthfully say that our Parish has been blessed with a pastor who has devoted his life to our Parish and the spiritual welfare of each member. Accomplishments since 1929 are due to his leadership, guidance, understanding and patience. Too often we are apt to take them for granted, and often forget that to accomplish things as have been done in our parish
are due to leadership, as has been demonstrated to by our Pastor.
          We all owe him our prayers and words of thanks for his work. My special thanks to him for his interest and cooperation in supplying needed data, and the privilege of using the church records to obtain necessary information. To all those whom I interviewed for information, my thanks.
 
 
Highlights of St. Boniface Parish
1968-1997
 
Closing of Schools
1970
 
          The closing of the of the district grade school at Vincent in 1970 and transferring the students to Victoria, relieved Fr. Callistus of his Religious Education program here at St. Boniface. Fr. Callistus was also an instructor at St. Francis Seminary in Victoria at the time of it’s closing the same year.
 
45th Anniversary of Fr. Callistus
1971
 
          On Sunday, June 20, 1971, Fr. Callistus celebrated his 45th. anniversary as a priest.
A concelebrated High Mass of Thanksgiving was offered in St. Boniface Church. A dinner for all present, former parishioners and friends was served in the school basement after Mass.
 
50th Anniversary of Fr. Callistus
1976
 
          After spending 48 years so faithfully serving the parishioners of St. Boniface, Fr. Callistus celebrated his 50th. anniversary to the priesthood on June 10, 1976. Father privately celebrated his Golden Jubilee Mass with his parishioners and a few invited guests at Vincent.
Presiding at the Mass of Thanksgiving were Bishop Cyrill Vogel and Bishop Firmin Schmidt along with numerous other area priests. A dinner and reception for all was held at the VFW Hall in Victoria.
 
Death of Fr. Callistus
1980
 
        Fr. Callistus had prayed that he would die among the people he had served most of his life. His prayers were answered on Sunday, April 13, 1980, just after celebrating Mass with his congregation at St. Boniface. Fr. Callistus had served as pastor of Vincent for more than 52 of his 54 years as a priest. Funeral services were held at St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, with Provincial Vincent Rohr and his Capuchin brothers concelebrating Mass with interment in St. Fidelis Cemetery. The Capuchin Friar has touched so many lives with his faithful devotion and gentle kindness, that a memorial in his name was established to help educate young men to the priesthood. Father Callistus would be pleased to know that he is remembered in this way, as he spent many years teaching the seminarians at St. Francis Seminary in Victroria.
 
Mission Parish
1980
 
          Following the death of Fr. Callistus, St. Boniface Church became a Mission Parish of
St. Fidelis in Victoria, without a resident pastor and daily Mass. The children received their religious education and related activities in Victoria. The Parish liturgy, religious education, and family life Commissions all have worked in cooperation with St. Fidelis under their guidelines.
Each Commission member his representation and works under with the Victoria Parish to minister the various programs available to the Parish.  
 
80th. Anniversary of Parish
1987
 
          St. Boniface Parish celebrated the 80th. anniversary of its founding on Sunday, December 20, 1987. Bishop George K. Fitzsimons graced the occasion by offering a concelebrated Mass with Fr. Gene Emrisek and other attending area Priests in the Vincent Church. A dinner in Victoria was served for all members and guests.
 
90th Anniversary of Parish
1997
 
          Bishop George K. Fitzsimons offered a Mass of Thanksgiving with concelebrants, Fr. Bernard Tomassetti and Fr. Felix Petrovsky, on Sunday, December 15,1977, in honor of 90 years of St. Boniface Parish. After Mass a dinner and program was held in Victoria for all the attending clergy, parish members and guests.
 
Fr. Callistus’ “Crib”
1980-1997
 
          For 70 years members of St. Boniface have enjoyed the celebration of the Birth of Christ with a very special “Little Town of Bethlehem”. The Nativity display, which began as a labor of love for Father Callistus in 1927, is now a monument to his memory. Each Christmas season since his death in 1980, members of the Parish have reassembled the display as a tribute to it’s creator and as a memorial in his name for the education of Seminarians in the Capuchin Order. The church is open for visitors on Sunday afternoon during the Christmas season and all are welcome to view Fr. Callistus’ unique work of Art.
 
1997
          Over the last 90 years the community spirit has continued as the people have taken great pride in their Parish. The spiritual attributes have motivated the families to develop a bond that will hopefully last throughout the century, and the many years to come. May God grant us our wish.
 
Pastors who served St. Boniface Church
1968-1997
 
                   1929-1980               Rev. Callistus Rectenwald
                   1980-1981               Rev. Michael Scully, Rev. Bill Kraus. Rev. John Lager
                   1981-1983               Msgr. Francis Senecal
                   1983-1986               Rev. Gilmary Tallman, Rev. Clement Naef
                   1986-1991               Rev. Gene Emrisek
                   1991                      Rev. Earl Befort
                   1991-1992               Rev. Greg Byer
                   1991-1993               Rev. David Gottschalk
                   1993-                     Rev. Frank Grinko, Rev. Berard Tomassetti, Rev. Christian
                                                Fey
 
          Our Parish is especially thankful to the dedicated Priests and Sisters who have served us so faithfully over the years. Their loyalty, devotion, guidance, sacrifices and love for the parishioners can never be expressed in words. May God bless them all.
 
 
Highlights of St. Boniface Parish
1997-2007
 
Cemetery Updated
200-2005
 
          Cemetery improvements the past years included the marking of the cemetery plots with numbered cement markers in all four corners. New iron gates the front entrance were installed, plus a drive through gate for vehicles to enter. A chain link fence replacing the barb wire was added. The Calvary Group on the altar was repaired and repainted. All of the work was done by volunteers in their spare time.
 
 
Death of Fr. Christian
2002
 
          Fr. Christian Fey, a former teacher and rector of St. Francis Seminary in Victoria, devoted most of his life to Capuchin seminaries and formation programs. He also was director of two Seminaries in Papua New Guinea for 15 years. Later in his career, he served various parishes in the area, including St. Boniface. His devotion and gentle kindness for our Parishand it’s members will never be forgotten!! May God bless Him!!
Death of Fr. Berard
2003
 
          Fr. Berard Tomassetti’s life was rich in variety and long in patience. After three years with the U.S. Navy in New Guinea during World War II, he returned home and began his studies for the Capuchin priesthood. Following his ordination, he returned to New Guinea as a missionary for 34 years. After his return in 1989, he ministered to various parishes in the area, including St. Boniface. Father was concelebrant of our 90th anniversary Mass, along with Bishop Fitzsimmon. His loyalty and devotion for our Parish can never be expressed in words. May God Bless Him!!
 
Parish Improvements
1998-2006
 
          Improvements to our parish by volunteer members over the last 10 were the drilling of a new water well, and the water and electrical lines were installed underground. A new septic system, and plumbling and plumbing was replaced for both houses. The propane tank was moved and the lines replaced. The outside of the church, rectory, garage and out buildings were repainted, and the rectory and garage shingled. Also, each spring a volunteer work day was scheduled to take care of minor repairs of the buildings and ground. Contracted labor this past year included the installation of a new air conditioning and heating system, plus new sidewalk improvements.
 
Christmas Memories
 
          As we approach the 100th. anniversary of our Parish, the community spirit has continued and our members have taken pride in our “Little Town of Bethelem” each Christmas season. Volunteers have spent many hours reassembling the display as a tribute to Fr. Callistus, it’s creator, and as a memorial in his mane for the education of Seminarians in the Capuchin Order.
After 80 years, visitors are still welcome after Sunday Mass and during the afternoons of the Christmas season to enjoy His work of art.
 
2007
 
          As we look forward to our official 100th. anniversary date of our Parish on December 18, 2007, may our parish members continue to work together and may they take a great pride in their Parish for many, many more years. On this centennial. Dedicated to St. Boniface, we pray that our Blessed Mother smile on her children in Vincent and keep us close to her Divine Son!
 
 
 
Pastors Who Served at St Boniface Church
1997-2012 
          1997-2001                        Rev. Fr. Frank Grinko, Rev. Fr. Berard Tomassetti, and
                                                Rev. Fr. Christian Fey
 
          2001-2001                        Rev. Fr. Maris Goetz
 
          2001-2004                        Rev. Fr. David Gottschalk
 
          2004-2007                        Rev. Fr. Charles Polifka
 
          2007-2011                        Rev. Fr. Michael Scully
 
          2011-                              Rev. Fr. Jeffrey Ernst
 
          We offer our prayers and words of thanks to the dedicated Priests, Office Staff, & Laity who served us so faithfully these past 10 years. Their devotion, guidance, and love will always be remembered! May God bless them all!!
 

Preface

 
          This history is intended to be both a memorial and at the least a brief account of the development, growth and activities that have taken place during the first sixty years of existence of St. Boniface Church and Parish of Vincent, Kansas.
          The account has been drawn largely from the parish records, special recordings made by various pastors, trustees’ minute books, newspaper clippings, personal interviews with surviving founders of the parish, and from my own personal memory of past events and experiences that have taken place the past sixty years. There is much to be written as the years past have been notable ones and blessed in many respects. The past has witnessed many changes in and about the original structure. The many changes and improvements that have been made can well be attributed to the loyalty and unity of the parishioners. There have been both prosperous and lean years, many hardships encountered, untold sacrifices were made for the church, both by its pastors and congregation.                  
          The first part of this history will tell of the geographical location, the photography of the area involved, church affiliation, initial steps to establish the parish and difficulties involved, and the construction and development of the parish complex.
          The second part will relate the many improvements and remodeling that have occurred over the years, the various parish functions and anniversaries celebrated.
          The final section will give a statistical report of all births, marriages and deaths recorded in the parish records.       
          I undertook this project of writing a history of the parish on my own initiative.
          Realizing the importance of an historical account of the past events of our Parish, it prompted me to proceed with this task. Many hours were spent in research compiling data necessary to write this historical account of our parish. The only objective in mind was to have this for the sake of posterity. May this generation and future generations enjoy this precious heritage.
 
 
Introduction
 
          The author of this Parish history aims to tell a factual story of this community, parish, its people, the construction, progress and development of the parish, as though it had happened yesterday.
          Nearly a century ago this vicinity and area were just a large vast open plains country. There were no homes or any people living in this area. The valleys and hills were covered with buffalo grass, no trees except those found on the banks of Big Creek, a stream that wound its course for many centuries through this community dividing the vast span of open prairies into two segments, north and south Big Creek country. The beauty of this stream and valley soon was to play an important part in the development of this community. There were still some Indian tribes who occasionally roamed this area in search for buffalo, deer, antelope and wild fowl. Jack rabbits were plentiful and the coyote roamed the plains unmolested. However, it had lived its course and soon was to undergo a drastic change.
          In the fall of 1872 George Grant, an English nobleman who had much wealth came to Kansas to scout and survey the great open prairies which were often referred to in England as a great hunting ground with untold numbers of buffalo and wild life. He was so impressed with the sights, that he decided to make his home here. He purchased from the Kansas Pacific Railroad, now the Union Pacific, an acreage estimated at seventy thousand acres at a price of fifty cents per acre. He purchased this with the intention of selling it in large tracts to the people he intended to bring to Kansas from England and Scotland. He selected the sight for his home on the South Banks of Big Creek, the North East Quarter of Section 8, Township 15, Range 16, the present home of Mr. and Mrs. William Baier. He likewise selected the site for the future city of Victoria, and named it as such in honor of Queen Victoria, who was the reigning Queen of England at that time. He returned to his home in the fall of 1872.
          Early in the spring of 1873 he returned to Victoria with a group of noblemen who settled along the banks of Big Creek now the Vincent community. They brought with them a number of well-bred horses which they intended to use for hunting. Grant brought with him horses and several head of Angus cattle. These Angus cattle were the first to put foot on American soil and he placed them on his ranch. His home the “Villa” of native rock which still stands today in excellent condition. Many hours of social life were spent at the Villa. This nobleman invested heavily in livestock which were shipped in from the east. They relied on the native grass for feed and provided no shelter for the livestock. Three disastrous years in a row, drought, a prairie fire and a grasshopper plague plus severe winters caused the livestock to die. The adventure of these men soon proved to be a failure. Their fortunes were lost, some returned to their native land, others moved to other parts of the country.
          The coming of the German-Russian people in 1876 to this community, followed closely by the German people, soon caused a marked change in this community. From the original settlement of Victoria, these people ventured south and took over the homes and land vacated by the English colony. These people were home builders and tillers of the soil. The sod was broken and crops planted. They were all an industrious and religious people professing the Catholic Faith.
          In the closing years of the Nineteenth Century this community was quite well settled, homes were established and great progress made. Among the early settlers in this community were the German-Russians, the Germans and the Plattdeutschen, Low Germans, and the Rajewski family of Polish and Austrian blood. Among the first families to settle in this area were the Baier, Huser and Rajewski families, followed closely by a number of German-Russian families. They were all young people determined to make a success of their adventure regardless of hardships which constantly confronted them. Placing their trust and faith in God, they prayed that their efforts would be blessed and that a brighter future would lie ahead of them.
          Regardless of nationality and customs, they all worked together and their combined efforts during those trying years definitely played an important part in the establishment of our community and parish.
 
Founders of St. Boniface Church and Parish
1907   
 
                                                                   Died                     Living
Moritz Baier                                              Feb. 3, 1949
Mrs. Moritz Baier                                       May 11, 1955
Anton P. Dreiling                                        March 9, 1955
Mrs. Anton P. Dreiling                                 Oct. 14, 1955
Bernard P. Huser                                       March 6, 1929
Mrs. Bernard P. Huser                                Dec. 4, 1958
Valentine {Walter} Rajewski                        Dec. 8, 1937
Mrs. Valentine Rajewski                              Oct. 28, 1947
Lorenz Braun                                            Feb. 17, 1948
Mrs. Lorenz Braun                                     May 20, 1919
Mike Reichert                                            Oct. 26, 1960
Mrs. Mike Reichert                                     March 23, 1947                                    
Peter Weigel                                             Aug. 11, 1932
Mrs. Peter Weigel                                      Apr. 3, 1975
Ulrich Berens                                            Oct. 20, 1973
Mrs. Ulrich Berens                                    Oct. 24, 1973
 
Pastors who have served St. Boniface Parish
 
                    Date of appointment           Transferred                  Died
 
Fr. Vincent Brandt              Dec. 1907               Jan. 1909          April 5, 1923
Fr. Basil Heim                   Jan. 1909                Oct.1909           Jan. 1, 1949
Fr. Edmund Trischler           Nov. 1909               July 1911           Feb. 1, 1945
Fr. Pancratius Dockler         July 1911                July 1912           Sept. 19, 1932
Fr. Celestine Oswald           July 1912                July 1916           April 11, 1932
Fr. Ulric Zeller                    July 1916                July 1917
Fr. Chrysostom Jacob         Nov. 1917               July 1919           May 23, 1921
Fr. Michael Neff                 Sept. 1919              Feb. 1920
Fr. Emmeram Kausler         Feb. 1920                Dec. 1921          Jan. 29, 1922
Fr. Michael Neff                 Dec. 1921               July 1925           May 17, 1952
Fr. Edward Heyl                 July 1925                Feb. 1927          July 17, 1932
Fr. Raphael Engel               Feb. 1927                July 1927          
Fr. Callistus Rectenwald       July 1927                July 1928           Apr. 13, 1980
Fr. Fidelis Meier                 July 1928                Nov. 1928          Dec. 8, 1938
Fr. Raymond Ryan              Nov. 1928               Feb. 1929          Oct. 6, 1967
Fr. Callistus Rectenwald       Feb. 1929
 
* None died while serving the parish.
 
Families 1968
 
                   William Baier                                         Frank Rajewski
                   Elmer Berens                                        Leo Rajewski
                   Daniel Braun                                         Robert Rohr
                   Leroy Braun                                         Otto Schulte
                   Wendelin A. Braun                                 Richard Schmidtberger
                   Alfred A. Dreiling                                   Frank Schmidtberger
                   Mrs. Henry Huser                                  Mrs. Ross B. Smith
                   Julian Huser                                          Mrs. Ted Tholen
                   Leon Huser                                           Gilbert Truan
                   Stephen Hoffman                                  Arthur VonFeldt
                   Mrs. Peter C. Kippes                              John J. VonFeldt
                   Mrs. Louis Leiker                                   James VonFeldt                 
                   Adrian leiker                                         Herman Wellbrock
                   Bernard Munk                                       Joseph Wellbrock
                   Bernard Mudd                                       Francis Wellbrock
                   Harlan Mudd                                         Wendelin Wittman
                   James Rajewski                                    Howard Rajewski
                   Robert VonLintel                                    Dennis VonLintel
                   Frederick Tholen
 
 
1905
 
          The year of 1905 will ever stand out and be remembered in the annals of history of St. Boniface Church, Vincent. It was the year in which the movement began to organize our Parish.
          A number of German speaking families had well established themselves in this community. They were a young and an energetic people, and in the process of rearing a family. They were all of the Catholic faith and members of St. Fidelis Church, Victoria. Many lived as far as eleven miles from church. Roads were but mere trails and bridges across streams were few. Regular attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation was almost impossible. Reception of sacraments and religions training for the children created another problem for these people due to the distance from church. They felt that the time had arrived where it was evident that they should proceed to make application for a new parish in this community.
 
 
Meeting Held
 
          A one-room school house that provided elementary education for their children was the only available place for a meeting. It stood one-half mile east from the intersection south of the present church. Better described as in the South East corner of the SW ¼ of Section 4-15-16, Ellis County.
          In February of 1905 a meeting was called by Franz Schmidtberger to discuss the possibilities of organizing a Parish. There was unanimous agreement and great enthusiasm shown by those present. Attending the meeting were: Moritz Baier, Bernard Huser, George VonFeldt Sr., Mike and Andrew Wittman and John Neirenberger.
          Moritz Baier and Bernard Huser were selected as delegates to meet with the Bishop of the Diocese, Right Rev. Bishop Cunningham, who resided at Concordia Kansas, and to present an application for a new Parish to serve the spiritual needs of those people living in this German community. A collection was taken to help defray the expense of the trip to be made by the delegates. The trip was made in April of 1905.
 
 
Delegates Met With Bishop
 
          The delegates were well accepted by his Lordship, the Bishop. The delegates presented to him the purpose of their mission. The Bishop, after making extensive inquiries as to the exact location of the proposed new parish, proximity to Victoria, Walker, Pfeifer and Munjor, the number of prospective families, available funds and method of finance, construction costs, etc., sanctioned the project provided the Capuchin Fathers of Victoria were willing and in a position to furnish a pastor to serve the proposed parish. There was great rejoicing in the community when this was made known to them, and a feeling prevailed that the dreams of yesterday may soon become the realities of tomorrow. Organizational meetings were held and the early stages of planning for the selection of a site and type of structure began shortly thereafter.
 
 
1905-1906
 
Difficulty Arises
 
          St. Fidelis Parish of Victoria, the Mother Parish in this community was in the process of completing plans for the construction of a new church, the present church known as the “Cathedral of the Plains.” Fr. Chilian, then pastor of the parish objected to the formation of a new parish at Vincent at that particular time. He maintained that with the recent establishment of a parish at Walker and the loss of a large number of well-contributing families, the Victoria parish could not stand any further loss of members, to insure the construction of the new church. He had already levied a certain amount of money, labor and rock on each family for the new church. He further insisted that this levy must be contributed before those parishioners who were interested in starting a new parish south and east of Victoria, could proceed with their plans. On August of 1906 Father Jerome Mueller, O.M. Cap., became guardian and pastor at Victoria. He did not object to the formation of the proposed parish but also insisted that the levy be paid and proceeded to collect it, and further insisted that it was an obligation to be paid. That caused quite some concern to the families involved in the proposed new parish.
          In April of 1906 a number of men from the proposed new parish met in Hays with the Provincial and other Capuchin Fathers to discuss the levy imposed upon them by the
Victoria Parish. The matter also was referred to the Bishop. It was declared that all families living five miles and more south of Victoria be free from all assessments made by the Victoria Parish and be free to form a new parish. Fr. Emmeram Kausler, who was pastor at Munjor at that time and had considerable experience in the building and designing of churches in this area also attended this meeting, and he agreed with this decision and praised it as a great forward movement to form and develop a new parish to serve the spiritual needs to these people.
          With the cancellation of this levy on the prospective families of the proposed new parish, they were free to proceed to construct a new parish church if they so desired. However, when the time came for the prospective families to become a part of the new parish there was some dissension. Some felt that they owed their loyalty to St. Fidelis Church, Die Mutter Kirche, and retained their membership there. They contributed their funds for the construction of the new church and for many years retained their membership there before joining up with St. Boniface Church. Many of the prospective families for the Vincent parish also contributed money and rock for the Victoria Church, that it could never be said that they were disloyal to their Mother church. This double burden imposed great sacrifices on those who founded our parish. Through all these difficulties their spirits were undaunted, and a greater determination now existed to proceed as soon as feasible to construct a church in their midst. The year of 1907 was chosen as the period in which they prayed their dreams would materialize.
 
 
1907
The Beginning
 
          At the turn of the century there were twenty two families living in the area who were interested in establishing a new parish. The greater number favored the establishment of a parish in their midst. In the early months of 1907, meetings were held to formulate plans for the construction and financing of the new church. To raise sufficient funds was the major problem. A wheat plan proposed where a given percent of the crop would be donated. Regardless of all the contributions that could be made by the prospective families it was evident that outside help would be needed. They felt confident that such help would not be denied. It was agreed that all labor, except for a carpenter, was to be donated. They all realized that this meant a great sacrifice of time. They accepted these plans graciously and with a determination to see their goal accomplished.
 
 
Site Selected
 
          From the very beginning of this movement the site for the new church was never too great a problem. It was the general consensus that the location should be centrally located in the bounds of the proposed parish. The present site of our church and town site was chosen because of its geographical location and the terrain which together add beauty and accessibility to the church.
          As the church now stands on the upper bank of south Big Creek, overlooking the fertile valley and the winding stream of Big Creek, with its banks lined with trees and shrubs, it projects a most picturesque scene of beauty and charm that nature can alone provide. Perhaps no other location offered all this, and that is why it was chosen.
 
 
Tracts of Land Donated
 
          Mr. Moritz Baier, a prospective parishioner of the new parish donated the real estate for the church site. A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres, more or less, and described as follows: Beginning at a point fifteen (15) chains north of the south east corner of Section five (5), Township Fifteen (15), Range (16), thence west five (5) chains, then north ten (10) chains, thence east five (5) chains, then south ten (10) chains to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas)
          Mr. Bernard P. Huser, a prospective parishioner, donated the following real estate.
A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres, more or less, and described as follows: Beginning at a point eight and one half (8 ½) chains north of the south west corner of
Section Four (4) Township Fifteen (15), Range Sixteen (16), Thence east five (5) chains, thence north ten (10) chains, thence west five (5) chains, thence south ten (10) chains to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas).
          Mr. Walter Rajewski, a prospective parishioner, donated the following real estate. A tract of land consisting of five (5) acres more or less and described as follows: Beginning at a point twenty (20) chains north of the south west corner of Section four (4), Township Fifteen (15), Range Sixteen (16). Thence east five (5) chains, Thence North ten (10) chains, Thence West five (5) chains, Thence South ten (10) to the place of beginning. (Plain Deed Record, Vol. 46, page 388, Ellis County Court House, Hays, Kansas).
          The north half of the Rajewski tract was designated as a cemetery. The remaining two and one half acres and the Huser tract were to be plotted into town lots, streets and alleys. Officially surveyed in 1910.
 
 
Construction Begins May 16, 1907
 
          Fr. Jerome Mueller, O.M.Cap., Pastor of the Parent Church, St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, was placed in charge of the construction of the new Church. He appointed Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M.Cap., a recognized authority on building and designer of churches, to draw plans and to supervise the construction of the church. Fr. Emmeram was at that time the pastor of St. Francis Church, Munjor, Kansas. Moritz Baier was appointed foreman.
          As the time arrived for the actual work of construction to begin, only seven families remained who committed themselves to undertake all responsibilities to finance and construct the church. Undaunted by the defection of the others these seven families, Mr. and Mrs. Moritz Baier, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard P. Huser, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, Mr. and Mrs. Anton P. Dreiling, Mr. and Mrs. Lorenz Braun, Mr. and Mrs. Peter I. Weigel and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Reichert proceeded and set May 16 as groundbreaking day. In preparation for this day, rock was quarried and dressed in nearby quarries and delivered to the site. Sand and lumber were also hauled there. Everything was in preparation for the long awaited day. These seven families were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich H. Berens who were in the process of moving to their farm south east of Vincent. These eight families were the founders of our Parish.
          Plans for the new church structure were completed by Fr. Emmeram and approved by the Bishop and accepted by the prospective parishioners. The plan called for a frame structure 32’ by 64’, with a seating capacity of 200. The design for the new church might well and fittingly be called a unique mission style structure. The estimated cost was set at $2,000.00.
          May 16, 1907, marked the actual beginning of the construction. These eight men referred to as the founders, came with horses and mules, a walking plow and scrapers, picks and shovels to dig the foundation and a small cellar. The foundation and cellar were completed in a few days. Mr. Michael Weigel, a farmer and part-time carpenter, was hired to supervise the construction work. He came on June 4, and worked until June 22 when all work was suspended because of harvest time. He was hired at the rate of $2.50 per day. Volunteer labor was offered by friends and relatives, and the work progressed very rapidly. By June 22 the building was enclosed and the roof completed.
          June 10 was a day long to be remembered. It was the day the church was shingled. A call for volunteer workers was put out in advance, and when the day arrived there were 39 men, not including the boys who also helped with the work. This number included the carpenter and the eight founders. The work was completed in one day.
          One of the more humorous happenings of the construction period was shingling day. They chose sides. The German-Russian men on one side, the Germans and Low Germans were on the other side. A challenge arose to see which group would complete its side first. Although the German group completed their side first, all were winners as they were treated to a keg of cold beer. Everyone was happy over a job well done.
 
          The following men volunteered to help shingle the church:
 
Moritz Baier                                                   Luke Schulte
Bernard Huser and Son                                    Joseph Wellbrock
Walter Rajewski and Sons                                 John Wellbrock        
Anton P. Dreiling                                             Christ D. Wagner
Lorenz Braun                                                  Henry H. Robben
Andrew Braun                                                George W. Robben
Michael Reichert                                              John W. Robben
Ulrich H. Berens                                              William Robben Jr.
Peter Weigel                                                   John M. Robben
John Weigel                                                    Henry M. Robben
Andrew Schreiner                                            Frank Hammerschmidt
Joseph Schreiner                                             Christ VonLintel
Jack Bollig                                                      Henry VonLintel
John A. Brungardt                                           Paul Schumacher
Joseph Brungardt                                            William Schrant
Andrew Brungardt                                           Joseph Greise
John Schamne                                                Nick Neirenberger
George Luebbers                                             Joseph Neirenberger
Ben H. Schulte                                                Mike Weigel (Carpenter)
Frank Schulte                                                
 
          To finance the construction of the church was a major problem confronting the founders of the parish. They contributed not only their labor but every dollar they could possibly spare. However, this was not sufficient. They needed help and depended on their relatives, friends and businessmen. Four women took upon themselves the task of going out to solicit donations. Mrs. Baier and Mrs. Rajewski traveled together while Mrs. Huser and Mrs. Dreiling teamed up. With horse and buggy they canvassed the areas of Gorham, Walker, Victoria, Emmeram, and Hays. They went to their relatives, friends and businessmen to plead their cause. They were always well received and every hospitality was shown to them. They accepted money or material for the church. Any gift large or small was always welcome and appreciated. Not only gifts were offered to them but occasionally a meal, or a Tasse Kaffee und Kuchen, which they enjoyed while traveling along the countryside. They were so successful in their solicitation of funds, and the donations made by the founders that they were able to pay for the material for the church as it was needed.
          It has been an unusual experience to review and study the record book that was kept by my father, the late Moritiz Baier, where every donation whether large or small together with the donor’s name is recorded. Also where the material and the cost of some were purchased. Records show that lumber and supplies were purchased at Walker, Victoria and Hays. The lumber dealers made generous contributions to the building fund. Donations ranged from 25 cents to over $300.00. Not only Catholic friends donated, but non-Catholic businessmen and friends contributed. Among the generous donors were the late Harvey J. Penny and C. M. Wann. Mr. Penny was Catholic. They held extensive interest in land in this community and were generous donors to the parish for many years. The generosity of all these good people made it possible to construct our church on a pay-as-you-go basis.
          Work on the church resumed after the fall farm work was completed. Volunteer workers offered their help to speed the completion of the church. Work on the interior began. Mr. Weigel, the carpenter, returned to work on October 21, and the construction work progressed rapidly. To provide space for a sacristy, living quarters for the pastor and a bedroom, a partition was installed near the west end of the church. Part of the original partition still is in the same location. The center section of the partition was so constructed that it could be removed at a later date to make way for a recessed altar space. The ceiling was boarded solid in preparation for a metal ceiling. The walls were prepared for
Mr. McLain of Hays did the plastering and local help mixed and carried the cement. To provide an entrance to the church a vestibule 10’ x 10’ was added to the east end of the church. A small bell tower was built on the center of the roof to house the bell. Following a custom of laying the floor of a church on a sand bed, the same method was also used here. The purpose of doing this was to eliminate floor drafts and to make a firm and more silent walking floor. In years to come this type of a floor proved to be a haven for termites and many floors had to be removed and replaced.
          To provide water for the site a well was dug. It was located about twenty feet south from the southwest corner of the church. It measured about 25 feet in depth and had a limited amount of water supply. A pump was installed and this well provided water for the pastor and later the Sisters. The exterior of the church was painted and also the woodwork in the interior. Since the windows had just plain glass panes, the panes were painted with a light color paint and scored diagonally. The purpose of this was two-fold. It gave the window panes and the interior of the church a better appearance, and secondly it obscured the exterior view from the interior.
          While the men were busy at work at the church the women were not idle, they had much to do. Donations were always welcome and especially now as there was nothing in the line of furnishings and paraphernalia for the church. They made altar linens, Mass server cassocks and surplices and whatever they could make to furnish the church. Due to lack of funds, only the most essential things were obtained and purchased from donated money. To aid the new parish, St. Fidelis Church of Victoria, donated some vestments and a monstrance. St. Catherine Parish, Catherine, donated a side altar which served as the high altar for many years. St. Francis Parish, Munjor, donated a communion railing. Bernard Huser donated funds to purchase a chalice. Moritz Baier donated a new parlor organ for the choir. The Rajewski family donated funds to purchase items for the altar and the sanctuary. Henry H. Robben and Clement G. Robben donated funds to purchase a bell. The bell was purchased from Montgomery Ward and Co. The bell weighed 350 pounds. The cost was $20.00 plus $4.87 freight. St. Fidelis Menner Verein of Victoria donated $50.00. This society of men was very active in Victoria for many years and its membership extended into the neighboring parishes as the members retained their membership after the Vincent Parish was founded.
 
 
First Pews Made
 
          The first eight pews were made by Moritz Baier, Walter Rajewski and Ulrich Berens in a shed on the Baier farm. These were the only pews in the church on dedication day. They provided sufficient space for the families on completion date. Additional pews were added as needed.
 
 
Choir Organized
 
          The original plan for the church did not call for a choir loft due to the limited height of the ceiling and available space. A small enclosed stage about three feet from the floor was built in the northeast corner of the church. It measured 8’ x 10’ feet. This space was used for a choir until 1925. Walter Rajewski, Lorenz Braun and daughters constituted the first choir. Agnes Rajewski, daughter of Walter Rajewski, became the first organist. They rehearsed in preparation for dedication day.
 
 
Dedication Day
 
          The church structure was completed in early December of 1907, and arrangements were made for the dedication of the church. The structure, simple in design both exterior and interior, did present an atmosphere of great satisfaction in return for many days of hard labor and sacrifice. The interior was neat, cozy and quite devotional.
 
 
St. Boniface Church, Dedicated December 18, 1907
 
          The first Holy Mass to be offered in the new church was said on dedication day Dec. 18. Prior to the Mass, the church was dedicated and blessed by Fr. Jerome Mueller, O.M.Cap., pastor of St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, Kansas, who was delegated by Bishop Cunningham, Bishop of the Concordia Diocese, to perform the dedication ceremony. Fr. Pancratius Dockler, O.M.Cap., preached the festive sermon. Fathers Matthew Hau, O.M. Cap., Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M.Cap., and Fr. Vincent Brandt, O.M.Cap., the first pastor were present in the sanctuary. The first two Mass servers of the parish and who assisted at the dedication Mass were Henry Huser and Joseph Rajewski. They were assisted by Alex J. Dreiling and Peter P. Dreiling servers from the St. Fidelis Church. Shortly thereafter Thomas Baier and Wendelin A. Dreiling became Mass servers. Henry Huser’s and Joseph Rajewski’s services as servers were short lived as they both joined the choir. Henry remained on the choir until his death in Nov. 1966. Joe sang until several years ago when he and his wife moved to Hays to retire.
          Dedication day was a cold stormy day. Nevertheless, many friends and relatives attended the ceremony. A dinner was served in the homes of the parishioners for members of the clergy, relatives and friends.
          A large collection and donations were received on dedication day. Several families expressed their desire to join the parish and contributed generously on that day.
          For the families of this new parish, dedication day was a day of rejoicing and especially a day of thanksgiving. Their long awaited desire and dream had been fulfilled. A
House of God now stood in their midst. They were grateful to their many benefactors. It was through their generosity in contributing both labor and funds that made the construction possible. They were especially jubilant on this day for being debt free. The cost of material and labor amounted to $1700.00. An additional $300.00 was invested in furnishings for the church.
          From this great day to the present our church stands as a living memorial, reminding us of the courage, perseverance and untold sacrifices the founders of our parish made not only for themselves but also for the future generations.
 
 
Patron Chosen
 
          Since all the families involved in the formation of our parish were German speaking people, it was thought proper and most fitting to name the church after the great Apostle of Germany, St. Boniface. The feast day of our Patron is observed on June 5, of each year and for many years in the past a Solemn High Mass was offered on this day, in honor of St. Boniface.
 
 
New Town Named Vincent
 
          When the parishioners were informed that their first Pastor was to be
Rev. Father Vincent Brandt, O.M.Cap., they decided to name the new townsite in honor of their Pastor.
 
 
First Pastor Assigned
 
          Fr. Vincent, the first Pastor of St. Boniface Church officially became pastor on dedication day. No doubt he felt honored to receive the appointment. It is also certain that he realized the many needs of this new parish. Despite the many handicaps confronting him and the parish, one thing that overshadowed all these problems was that he could administer the spiritual needs of his congregation and leave the rest to the good Lord.
          During his tenure as pastor, records show that many urgently needed articles were acquired for the church such as vestments, statues, a ciborium, oil stocks, a chalice and many other items. All this was made possible by donations from the parishioners and  The first two committeemen to be appointed were Moritz Baier and Lorenz Braun and
they served for some time during the early years of the parish existence. Moritz Baier assumed the duties as sacristan and served in that capacity until 1924.
          In 1908 the cemetery was officially surveyed and the tract plotted into lots, streets and alleys. No cross was erected at that time due to lack of funds.
          To provide meals for the pastor and visiting clergy, Mr. and Mrs. Mortiz Baier offered to board the priest. Breakfast was taken to the rectory for the pastor. For the noon and evening meal the pastor would to the Baier home. When inclement weather prevailed the pastor would be hauled by buggy or wagon and an occasional sled ride during the winter months to and from the Baier home for his meals. The pastors always enjoyed a home cooked meal and their presence at the table always created an atmosphere of reverence and dignity and current local and world problems were the general topics of discussion.
          Beginning in 1016 the Rajewski family boarded the pastor and continued to do so for a number of years. 
 
 
Transportation Furnished for the Pastor
 
          Since the only method of transportation was by horse and buggy or wagon, the parishioners took turns to get and return the pastor from Victoria on weekends so that regular services could be held at Vincent. The Pastor would announce during Mass whose turn it would be to get the Pastor the following weekend. The Pastor would set the day and time. Ordinarily the pastor would be gotten on Friday after dinner and returned on Monday morning after Mass. During the summer months when the horses were needed for the field work he was taken beak to Victoria on Sunday afternoon. This method was used until 1923 when the when the parish bought a car for the Pastor. During this period of time, services were held regularly every Sunday. Only on one occasion, due to a misunderstanding as to whose turn it was to get the pastor, no Mass was said on Sunday. However, the parish recited a rosary, litany and other prayers as the time would not permit them to drive to a neighborhood parish to attend Mass.
          Likewise the parishioners took turns to haul coal for the church and furnished kindling wood to light the stoves.
 
 
Religious Instructions
 
          Religious instructions for the children of the new parish was not overlooked, and every effort was made to give them the best possible. As previously stated, the one room school house stood south and east of the church where the children were in attendance. Fr. Vincent, the pastor arranged for the children to leave school on Friday afternoon and to come to the church for instructions. The children walked from school to church. Occasionally the pastor would visit the school for instructions. On Sunday afternoon at 1:30 instructions were also given followed by either Vespers or Rosary and Benediction. The parents always attended and thereby could observe how their children were learning their religion. This custom prevailed for many years in the parish.
          It is not difficult to conclude that the first pastor did an exceptionally well job in getting everything organized and functioning. He was a very kind and understanding man and whatever he did propose or carry out was never done for personal glory but all for the greater honor and glory for God. He served the Parish form December 18,1907 to January 1909. During his tenure several more families joined the parish, and the seed for future growth had been planted.
 
 
Fr. Basil Heim
 
          Fr. Basil became the second Pastor in January of 1909 and served the Parish until October of 1909. During his short stay he continued as his predecessor to add necessary articles for the Church. He was successful in adding six more families to the Parish roster.
 
 
Fr. Edmund Trischler
Nov. 1909-1911
 
          Fr. Edmund, a young priest assumed the duties as pastor in November 1909.
With the advent of Christmas near at hand he saw the need of a crib for the church to solemnize the Feast of Christmas more properly, he induced Brother Wendelin Weisner of
Victoria to make a crib. Brother Wendelin accepted the suggestion and made a beautiful crib which was used for many years in our church. Figures for the crib were purchased. The cost amounted to about $8.00. Fr. Edmund continued to induce more families to join the parish and during his stay was successful in enrolling ten more families to the parish.
          In May of 1910 a cross with a corpse was erected in the cemetery. A sanctuary lamp was installed and two adoring angels were placed on either side of the high altar. Records show that on Jan.19,1910 the first financial statement was submitted to the Bishop. Receipts totaled $740.00 and expenditures were $610.30 leaving a balance of $130.00.
          May 11, 1911, was a day of celebration in the parish. On that day a number of boys and girls made their solemn communion. This was done when the age of 12 had arrived. Also on that day the children who had received the age of seven made their first Holy Communion. This was made possible by a new ruling made at that time.
          Perhaps few parishioners knew that Vincent once had a windmill that was put up in January of 1911 on the well that was previously dug. The tower and mill head cost $54.00. It stood there for about five years when it was sold and removed. There was insufficient water in the well to make the mill useful. Bernard Huser purchased the mill.
 
 
1911 Another Historic Year
 
          The parish was now in its fourth year of existence. It had witnessed a growth in numbers and was quite well established. However, to have a parish in their midst was not the only wish and desire. They wanted better facilities for their children both religious and academic. In the spring months of 1911 a movement began to organize a parish school.   Everyone agreed to the need of such a facility. To build and finance such a project was beyond the ability of a small parish to sponsor. Since this was out of reach other means were discussed. The thought of moving the one room school house from its present location to the parish site was considered.   If the district would consent to this relocation and bear the expense of moving the building and adding an additional room, the parish would finance the building of a home for Sisters and maintain the home if Sisters could be induced to come to Vincent and teach in a public school. This arrangement would offer the training for the children the parishioners and patrons of the district long had desired and not out of reach to finance.
          The Mother Superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, was contacted and the wishes of the parish presented to her. The Sisters agreed to furnish two teachers provided a furnished home was built. With their acceptance no time was lost in planning and building the home. Plans called for a two story home 24’ x 24’ with a half basement. The estimated cost was placed at $1600.00 minus furnishings. There was no building fund or ready cash to finance this construction. Again it meant a great sacrifice for the parishioners to raise funds. All labor except that of a carpenter was to be donated. Relatives and friends again came to their assistance donating money and labor. Work began in spring in the hope to have the home completed by September for the opening of school. While the house was under construction the school house was moved and a room added. It was a busy time at Vincent. What seemed nearly impossible only a few months earlier would soon be a reality. The Pastor, Fr. Edmund, contributed much to this movement and through his advice and encouragement united the community in this undertaking. His Pastorate at Vincent ended in July so he could not remain to see the opening of school and to welcome the Sisters.
 
 
Fr. Pancratius Dockler
July 1911-July 1912
 
          The new pastor was no stranger to the parishioners and his coming was welcomed. He proceeded to see the completion of the buildings and the arrival of the first Sisters. It pleased him very much that the parish now had facilities to take care of the religious training of the youth. The school opened and operated much like a parochial school.
The only difference was in the method of support. The District paid the Sisters and maintained the school while the parish assumed the needs for the Sisters home. This was the first public school to have Nuns as teachers in Ellis County. The first teachers were Sr. Sylvester and Sister Borgia. They were also blood sisters. They taught in our school for a number of years. This arrangement worked satisfactorily for many years or until the time came when the Nuns were withdrawn due to the lack of teachers to staff the school. This withdrawal took place after the close of school in the spring of 1956.
          After the Sisters house was completed and furnished, only a small debt remained to be paid and this was soon liquidated.
          Fr. Pancratius served the parish for one year. He loved to preach and when the opportunity presented itself he lectured to non-Catholics, bringing the word of God to them.
 
 
Fr. Celestine Oswald
July 1912-July 1916
 
          Fr. Celestine, a young and energetic person soon found things to do at Vincent. A number of hand tools were purchased and work began. In early 1913 the metal border on the church ceiling was installed. A floral embossed wall board was placed on the wall behind the high altar and bordered with a frame to give the area a more attractive and secluded appearance. In 1914 a sidewalk was laid south of the church and a fence built along the east property line to keep out stray animals. A cistern was dug and gutter placed on the church. In the spring of 1915 Windophanie was placed on the church windows. This beautiful paper in brilliant colors marked a great improvement in appearance to the interior of the church. In the fall of 1913 the first parish mission was held.
          The German language was used almost exclusively in all the churches in this area. St. Boniface Church was no exception. Sermons were delivered in German and the prayers and confessions were likewise so done. Fr. Celestine saw the need of a change and once or twice a month delivered an English sermon and advocated English confessions. Some opposed this change vigorously and threatened to leave the parish. But in due time it became evident that it was for the best interest of the youth and the English was accepted. Our parish was one of the first parishes in this area to make this transition. This change proved especially helpful to the young men of the parish who were called to service in World War One. Due to the untiring efforts of Fr. Celestine much was accomplished during his four year stay here at Vincent.
 
 
Store Opened At Vincent
 
          In the spring of 1914 Jacob Falkenstein moved his store from Pfeifer to Vincent and conducted a general merchandise business. The store stood across the road due east from the present school. This was during the horse and buggy days and he did a good business. He sold groceries and dry goods and bought cream and eggs. When the auto came into use his business suffered and like many country stores soon was forced to close as he could not compete with the city markets.
 
 
Fr. Ulrich Zeller
July 1916-Sept. 1917
 
          Fr. Ulrich Zeller was no stranger to the parishioners as he had been stationed in nearby parishes.
          Since the original church structure did not have a tower, it was decided to construct a tower on the church to give it a better appearance. In the spring of 1917 sufficient donations were received to warrant the construction. Alex Schueler, Sr. from Catherine was hired as carpenter and the men of the parish supplied the labor. Total cost amounted to about $300.00.
          Fr. Ulrich loved to play cards and introduced the game of Pinochle to the parishioners. In leisure time he enjoyed his cigars. After one year as Pastor he was transformed to another parish. His presence was greatly missed.
 
 
Fr. Chrysostom Jacob
Nov. 1917- July 1919
 
       It was a cold November day when Fr. Chrysostom made his appearance at Vincent. Shortly after his arrival he went to the school to meet the Sisters and the children. As he approached the school, all the children viewed him in amazement. He was of average height and heavy build, wearing a long white beard. With his cowl over his head and a long Pennsylvania Stogie cigar in his mouth, leaving a cloud of smoke behind him as he entered the school.
          The children greeted him as all the priests were greeted and he responded in German “Ich bin der Santa Claus.” This caused quite a roar of laughter. He enjoyed children and having them about him. Some of the smaller children could not remember his name and soon called him Santa Claus. While this was perhaps not an appropriate name for a Pastor, it was but a short time until this title did prove to become a reality.
            Living quarters for the pastor were very inadequate. One room served as the parish office and living quarters. The small bedroom, (now the south sacristy) was not too comfortable a room to sleep in. A pastor’s residence was badly needed. To build a residence and remodel the church would require quite an amount of money which was not available at that time. Fr. Chrysostom had friends and relatives back east, and he proceeded to solicit money to finance this undertaking. The parishioners seeing the need of this improvement donated money, and held raffles to start a building fund.
          In a brief period of time sufficient funds were on hand or pledged to construct the rectory. Construction began in early 1918 and on March 19, 1918, the cornerstone was laid. The plan called for a one story building 26’ x 28’ with four rooms and a small basement. Fred Tholen and Moritz Baier supervised the construction and did the carpenter work. The men of the parish furnished the labor. The rectory was completed by early spring and the pastor moved into his new home. The cost of the rectory was $760.00.
 
 
Sanctuary Remodeled in 1918
 
          In May of 1918 the partition was removed which separated the sanctuary from the living quarters and office behind the high altar. This enlarged the sanctuary and a recessed area for the high altar. The bedroom in the southwest corner of the church was converted into the altar boy’s sacristy. The interior of the church was painted after alterations were completed.
 
 
New High Altar Installed
 
          In May of 1918 a new High Altar was installed. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Christian Steinmetz of Wheeling, West Virginia, friends of the pastor.
          The late John Linenberger, a carpenter and cabinet maker of Victoria made and installed the altar.
          This change greatly improved the interior of the church. The old high altar was converted in a side altar. Both altars served their use until recent years when new altars were installed. 
          The pastor was most grateful to the parishioners and to his many friends who contributed to make these necessary improvements and in such a short period of time. His two year stay at Vincent and the accomplishments experienced were long remembered by the parishioners. He was truly a Santa Claus to the parish and lived up to this title from the first day he arrives at Vincent when he introduced himself as Santa Claus. In July of 1919 he was transferred to Walker, Kansas.
 
 
Fr. Michael Neff, O. M. Cap
Sept. 1919-Feb. 1920
 
          During this short period of time nothing special occurred. He performed his pastoral duties and the parish continued to grow. 
 
 
Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M. Cap
Feb. 1920-Dec. 1921
 
          Fr. Emmeram who was well known in this area as a pastor and designer and builder of churches became pastor of St Boniface. He was a very religious man, loved to preach and was a pastor loved by all. No special improvements were made during his stay at Vincent.
 
 
Fr Michael Neff Returns
Dec. 1921-July 1925
 
     Fr. Michael returned to Vincent as pastor and during his tenure as pastor a number of interesting things took place. 
     The original custom of taking turns by the families of the parish to transport the pastor to and from Vincent to Victoria still existed. It had worked splendidly, but Fr. Michael felt the time had come for a better way of transportation and for more service to the parish by the pastor. Fr. Michael loved to ride a motorcycle and suggested the purchase of one. However the parish felt that a car would be more appropriate for a pastor. In August of 1922 the first parish car was purchased. Each family was assessed $30.00 and a car was purchased. This relieved the families of transporting the pastor. On June 19, 1923, the parish held its first picnic. Additional pews were installed in 1924 to accommodate the parish which was steadily growing. Two Sunday Masses were inaugurated.
     For several years the pastor advocated the renting of the pews to increase the revenue for the church. Up until this time the men occupied the pews on the Epistle side and the women the pews on the Gospel side of the church. Renting of the pews would permit each family to be together in church. After several years of meetings and discussions the pews were rented for the first time on Feb. 22, 1925.
     In August of 1024 the parish was assessed $200.00 by Bishop Tief to build on Episcopal residence at Concordia. Each family was assessed $6.00 and the debt was paid.
 
 
Silver Jubilee
Fr. Michael Neff
 
     On June 4, 1925 the Parish joined with Fr. Michael in celebrating his silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood. A solemn High Mass opened the activities followed by a dinner and an all day parish picnic. The parish gave him $100.00 as a jubilee gift.
     Fr. Michael loved to work in the harvest field and when harvest came he could be found pitching wheat in a header box. He worked at the Baier and Rajewski farms.
     In 1925 the present school building was constructed by the district. Although not completed in June it was used to celebrate Fr. Michael’s Silver Jubilee. In July he was transferred to Antonino
 
 
Fr. Edward Heyl
July 1925-Feb. 1927
 
   As Fr. Edward arrived he found a thriving parish and the need of additional space in church to accommodate the parishioners. In the fall of 1925 the nave was lengthened by extending the front of the church out as far as the tower. The space gained on either side was 10’ by 10’. A choir loft was built into this space on the south side: and the confessional and shrine now occupy the space gained on the north side. The men of the parish did the work under the supervision of Mr. P. P. A. Dreiling of Victoria. The cost amounted to $313.95. New pews were added to fill the space gained by the extension. In April of 1926 the interior and exterior of the church were painted. A new car was purchased in January of 1927, a difference of $515.00 was paid. Fr. Edward had made his contribution and was relieved of his duties in February 1927.
 
 
Fr. Raphael Engel
Feb. 1927-July 1927
 
   Fr. Raphael, assistant pastor at Victoria was assigned as a temporary pastor of our parish to fill the unexpired term of Fr. Edward. No special improvements were made during his short stay. 
 
 
Fr. Callistus Rectenwald
July 1927-July 1928
 
   Fr. Callistus Rectenwald came to Vincent as a young ordained priest and this assignment was his first as a pastor of a parish.
 
 
Picture of Fr. Callistus Rectenwald
 
     Father Callistus, Louis Rectenwald, was born and raised in the large industrial city of Pittsburgh, PA. The son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Louis A. Rectenwald and the second oldest of a family of ten.l There were four boys and six girls in the family. Mr. Rectenwald was a pharmacist and chemist by profession. As a boy and young man Father Callistus assisted his father in the operation of the drugstore
     Fr. Callistus began his studies for the priesthood at a Benedictine college. After a year of study there he transformed to St. Fidelis Seminary, Herman, Pa., to study for the capuchins. Completing his novitiate, he came to St. Fidelis Monastery, Victoria, Kansas, to study philosophy. After his theological training at SS Peter and Paul’s Monastery, Cumberland, Md., Father was ordained, June 15, 1926, by Archbishop Curley of Baltimore, Maryland.
His first appointment was to major in education at Catholic University of America. When his health broke down the following year, he came to Vincent as pastor.
     Coming to Kansas as a cleric to study philosophy, gave Father Callistus his first view of Kansas. The great open plains country, the people and their living habits, the climate and photography all so different in comparison with his home state of Pennsylvania.
 
 
First Assignment 1927
 
          Were it possible to put in words the thoughts and fears experienced by Father Callistus when he was notified of his appointment as a pastor of Vincent, Kansas, it would in itself make a most interesting story to read. To leave a city, the heavily populated areas, the mountains, rivers, and acquaintances and go to Kansas to a country sometimes in the East referred to as the wild west, where the coyotes howl, the winds, snow, and dust blow madly, no mountains and but few trees in sight, and to live a solitary life in a rural parish caused near despair.
          In obedience he came, determined to conquer all obstacles and perform his duties as a pastor to which he had been assigned.
          The Parish welcomed him and felt very fortunate to have the services of a young devoted pastor. In a brief period of time he became a friend to everyone. Soon after his arrival he could be found in working clothes, painting, repairing or working about the buildings. His zeal and devotion to the parish was soon noted by the congregation and in return he received its wholehearted support.
          Every pastor has his worries. In October of 1927 the parish received its second assessment to help liquidate the debt on the Bishop’s House at Concordia, the Episcopal See of the Concordia, Diocese. A previous assessment of $200.00 had been paid. This additional $800.00 assessment was considered an unjust levy on such a small parish. It was paid in small installments over a period of several years.
          With the approach of the Christmas season, Father remodeled the crib and made plans for a beautiful Nativity scene in the church. The first Christmas at Vincent may well be recorded as the beginning of the beautiful Nativity scenes we have had the pleasure to view and enjoy over the past many years. Few men have the art of producing such a masterpiece as Father Callistus.
          Feb. of 1928 found our pastor busy replacing the imitation stained glass paper on the church windows. He did most of the work himself and did it most artistically. The colors, designs, symbols, portraits and arrangement incorporated into each window gave it a truly liturgical effect. This added much beauty to the interior of the church. With the bright rays of sun shining through the beautiful colors in the windows it was believed by many that the church had stained glass windows. There were other improvements on the list to be undertaken.
          However, everything came to a halt when the unexpected announcement came that our pastor was to leave our parish and be transferred to Charleston, West Virginia. Father Callistus had adapted himself to the people, the parish, the quiet life and especially to our church. He had won the admiration of every one and his leaving was regretted both by the pastor and the parish.
 
 
Father Fidelis Meier
July 1928-Nov. 1928
 
          Father Fidelis Meier, a retired professor accepted the pastorate at Vincent believing that he could perform the pastoral work in a small parish. However, in a brief period of time he experienced that the duties of a rural pastor were more than what he could cope with.  Driving a car in all types of weather, building his own fire in the rectory and church and living alone were quite different from monastery life and he resigned after a brief stay.
 
 
Father Raymond Ryan
Nov. 1928-Feb.1929
 
            Father Raymond was appointed pastor and, not in good health soon experienced that the duties in a rural parish, as mentioned before, were more than his health would permit.
In fairness to the parish he asked to be relieved of his duties in Feb. 1929.
 
 
Father Callistus Returns
Feb. 1929
 
       After leaving Vincent in July of 1028 and returning to the East for pastoral work, he soon experienced that the climatic conditions there did not agree with him and became ill. In the fall of 1928 he was transferred back to Victoria to recuperate. No doubt there was one thought and prayer in Father Callistus’ mind and that dear Lord, give me back Vincent. This wish and desire became a reality in February 1929. The parish was very happy when the announcement came that Fasther Callistus would return to Vincent.
          Upon his return Father started to make the improvements which he had previously planned on making. One of the first improvements to be made was the beautification of the sanctuary. A new carpet was laid on the predella; linoleum on the sanctuary floor; communion rail lowered; the closets in the sacristies remodeled, all this just a beginning of many more improvements.
          The years from 1929 to the present time have been filled with so many improvements and to overlook them and not to make mention of them as they occurred would certainly be a great injustice to our Pastor and the parishioners who have cooperated so splendidly over this long period of time. The accomplishments for such a small parish as this is so remarkable and unique that it may well become a symbol for other parishes to follow. Likewise it is important that the many sacrifices and contributions our Pastor has made be properly documented that not only this generation but the future generations may be reminded of and given the opportunity to appreciate what has been done for them by the Pastor and parishioners.
 
 
List of the major improvements
1929-1968
 
1929—Laundry addition to Sisters House                                         $ 264.75
          New Car $700.00, Sacred Heart Statue                                               91.00                 Vestment Cabinet                                                                    100.10
1930—New Chimney on the Church                                                    71.40
        Plastering of rectory                                                            170.00
1932—Electric Light Plant                                                                   50.00
          Wiring and fixtures                                                              172.00
1936—Oil Heater for Church                                                               85.00
1937—New Car                                                                             590.00
1940—Shingling of Church roof                                                        161.92
1943—Baptismal Font                                                                    135.03
1944—Stations of the Cross                                                            257.23
          Celutex wall board (Church)                                                  318.04
          Windophanie for Windows                                                     306.42
1945—Rectory Bathroom                                                                597.39
1946—Electric Bell Ringer                                                                  275.00
          New Garage                                                                       638.47
          Shingling of rectory                                                             118.08
          Gas Installation all Bldgs.                                                     1307.62
          New bell, Church tower                                                        431.55
1947—Wurlitzer Organ                                                                  3620.00
          Tile floor in church                                                               344.84
          Oak floor Sisters House                                                        170.42
          Kneeling pads for pews                                                        400.00
1948—New Car                                                                           1679.00
          Calvary Group (Cemetery)                                                  1307.62
          Rectory furnace                                                                    175.81
          Gold Vestment                                                                      239.95
1949—Annex to Church                                                                 1230.20
          Cabinets for sacristy                                                              197.50
1950—Water well, pipes, etc.                                                            742.48
1951—Sisters Bathroom                                                                   473.48
          Fatima Statue                                                                       212.20
1952—Asbestos Siding (Church)                                                        301.59
          Celutex, Church ceiling                                                           204.72
1953—Asphalt shingles (tower)                                                         130.87
          Light fixtures in church                                                           866.00
          Sanctuary Lamps                                                                  250.00
          Infant of Prague statue and throne                                         160.00
          Gutter for church                                                                  106.29
1955—New Car                                                                            1623.00
          Water pump and Tank                                                         260.00
1956—Stained Glass Windows                                                         5096.00
1958—Lecturn                                                                     150.00
1958—New Pews                                                                         3148.00
1959—Sanctuary floor remodeled and Communion Rail                        425.00
          Sedelia                                                                              160.00
          Carpet for Sanctuary                                                           375.00
          Electric fans for the Church                                                   200.00
          Lanterns at Church entrance                                                  112.07
          Fire extinguishers                                                                269.85
1960—Metal Utility shed                                                                  171.80
1961—Sanctuary remodeled                                                           3762.00
          Lawn Mower                                                                       300.00
1962—Stainless Cross for Church tower                                             150.80
          Brass adjustable Pedestals                                                    210.00
1963—New Confessional & Lighting                                                   269.95
          Oak paneling on Church walls                                                 450.00
          New oak inside church doors and stained glass                         398.95
          Baptismal font                                                                    225.00
          Cadet tractor mower                                                            685.00
          Lightning rods for the church                                                 196.30
1964-- Ciborium                                                                            146.54
          New furnaces for church                                                      349.00
          Cushions for communion rail                                                    79.64
          Portable Altar                                                                       120.00
1965—Ciborium                                                                              203.34
          Lecturn                                                                             120.00
          New Car                                                                           2190.00
          Pew book racks                                                                  120.40
1966—Oak window frames in church                                                   480.00
          Painting the church tower                                                        153.55
          Reshingling of the church roof                                                 700.00
          In addition to the above mentioned improvements there were many donations for items for the sanctuary, vestments and supplies and if their value would be included the total figure would be amazing.
          Relatives and friends of our Pastor have contributed the sum of $9008.00 to our Parish. Many reside in Pennsylvania. In addition to this our Pastor himself has contributed $5389.00, the profit of thousand of rosaries he made and sold. Without these two generous contributions many of the improvements would not have been made.
          The Parish owes a great debt of gratitude and thanks to our Pastor and benefactors for their generous contributions.
          In addition to his pastoral duties at Vincent, Father Callistus has taught at St. Francis Seminary for the past sixteen years. His specialty: Latin. For a number of years he has taught Latin IV, and tutors special students. Through his teaching efforts many students have received Latin awards from the National Association for the promotion of the
Study of Latin.
 
 
Water Problem Solved
 
       A shortage of water existed since the parish was formed. The original well failed, rainfall was insufficient on many occasions to keep the cistern filled with water. For many years water had to be hauled so that the Pastor and Sisters had water for their use. Every attempt had been made to find water on the church premises but to no avail. In 1950 another attempt was made to find water. It was discovered on the William Baier farm about one hundred feet west from the northwest corner of the church property. A well was drilled by hand, a pit for the pump was dug, a pipeline laid to the buildings and necessary connections were made and from that date there has been an ample supply of water at Vincent. Many of the trees and shrubs would not be found about the buildings had this water supply not been discovered. The buildings were modernized and a most needed improvement realized.
 
Portable Altar Installed
 
           In compliance with the changes made in recent years and the and the introduction of the English language in the liturgy of the church our parish readily conformed with the new rulings and installed a portable altar. The first English Mass that was said in our parish took place on Christmas Day 1964. This change was well received by the parishioners. The Pastor is most pleased for this cooperation.
 
 
Diocesan Assessments on the Parish
 
          St. Boniface Parish has shared in various assessments made by our Bishop for Diocesan projects.
          1924—For construction of Bishop’s House at Concordia                       $200.00
          1927—Second assessment for Bishop’s house                                    800.00
          1952—For the construction of the new Cathedral at Salina                     286.50
          1962—For the construction of the Newman Club Center
                   At Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas                        1650.00
 
 
Anniversaries
 
          In the years past a number of anniversaries and Jubilees have been observed in the parish.
 
 
Silver Jubilee
1925
 
       Father Michael Neff, Pastor celebrated his Silver Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood on June 4, 1925. A Solemn High Mass of thanksgiving followed by a dinner and an all-day picnic climaxed the day’s program. This was the first celebration of its kind to be held at Vincent.
 
 
Parish Twenty-Fifth Anniversary
1932
 
          The parish celebrated its Silver Anniversary on Sept. 5, 1932. A Solemn High Mass was celebrated by the Pastor Father Callistus, assisted by Father Alfred Carney as
Deacon and Father Edwin Dorzweiler as Subdeacon. Father Alfred preached the festival sermon. An all day parish picnic followed. The ladies of the parish served a chicken dinner and supper in the school hall.
 
 
Vincent Celebrated 40th Anniversary
1947
 
 
          The fortieth anniversary of the formation of our parish at Vincent was celebrated on December 8, 1947, with the Rev. Fr. Alfred Carney, as the celebrant at the solemn High Mass. Assisting Fr. Alfred at the altar were Rev. Richard Bollig as Deacon and Father Callistus as Subdeacon. Fr. Alfred delivered the sermon. The celebration was also the occasion of the blessing of the new Wurlitzer double manual electronic organ purchased for the church. The purchase made possible by donations of the parishioners. An all day celebration had been planned but due to bad roads and inclement weather activities were confined to the church services.
 
 
Organist Marks 25th year at Keys
1949
 
          News Years day Jan. 1, 1949 marked the 25th. Anniversary of William Baier as organist of St. Boniface’s church. A High Mass was offered by the pastor in thanksgiving for his services to the parish.
          While attending St. Joseph’s college at Hays, Mr. Baier studied music, receiving his training from the late Father Didacus, O.F.M. Cap. He was graduated from the college in the spring of 1924 and took over the duties as organist and choir director on Jan. 1, 1924.
          In appreciation of these 25 years of service to the parish, the Pastor on behalf of the Parish presented Mr. Baier as a gift a large silver plague of the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother, centered with a bouquet of flowers upon which the figure 25 is displayed.
 
 
Father Callistus Silver Jubilee
 
          Rev. Father Callistus Rectenwald, pastor of Vincent, celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary in the priesthood on Thursday, June14, 1951. The day’s festivities began with a Solemn High Mass at 9:30 AM. Celebrant of the Mass was the Rev. Jubilarian; He was assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Alfred as Deacon, and Very Rev. Fr. Claude as subdeacon. Fr. Christian acted as Master of Ceremonies. Fr. Virgil Kuhn delivered a sermon on the priesthood, a eulogy, becoming and beautiful. Servers for the Mass included Joseph Leiker and Jerry Lee Wellbrock, thurifers, and Donald Wellbrock and Adrian Leiker, acolytes. The choir under the direction of Mr. William Baier, organist, sang the choral Mass by Gounod.
          Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed the Mass and at its conclusion the entire congregation sang the TeDeum.
          The parishioners and guests assembled in the school hall shortly after Mass for the festive dinner. Among the seventeen clergy-men present were two of special distinction; namely, Fr. Richard and Fr. Mathias, classmates of the Jubilarian. The ladies of the parish did a commendable job of preparing and serving the meal to approximately a hundred and fifty guests. A triple layer cake, baked and tastefully decorated by Mrs. Louis Leiker and daughters formed the centerpiece of the head table. Sister Tersina made clever cutouts of Capuchin friars to serve as placecards.
          `In the brief address concluding the banquet, Fr. Christian introduced the Rev. Jubilarian who in turn thanked all for what they had done for him, especially the people of Vincent among whom he had labored for twenty-three years. The Capuchin friars brought the celebration to a musical conclusion with a rendition of the “Ultima, a hymn in honor of the Blessed Virgin.
 
 
Parish Golden Jubilee
1957
 
       A Solemn High Mass was celebrated Monday Dec, 9, 1957, in St. Boniface Church to commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the founding and dedication of the church and parish.
          The Rev. Mark Linnenberger was celebrant of the Solemn High Mass with Father Bertrand Brookman, then the Dean of the Hays Deanery, as Deacon, and Father Raphael Engel as Subdeacon. Master of ceremonies was Father Virgil Kuhn. Father Simon of
Victoria delivered the Jubilee sermon. Other Clergy present for the occasion were Fathers Mathias, Francis, Christian, Hyacinth, Walter, Richard, Ervan, Gabriel and our Pastor Father Callistus. Brother Sebastian of Hays also attended.
          A dinner for the clergy, visitors and parishioners was served in the school hall after the Mass. The women of the Parish served the dinner. A short program followed the dinner with William Baier as Master of Ceremonies. Visiting clergy were introduced, and congratulatory remarks were made by several of the visiting clergy. This day was long to be remembered by those who attended the festivities.
 
Golden Wedding Anniversaries
 
       The first Golden Wedding to be celebrated in the parish took place on June, 1946. Mr. Mrs. Mortiz Baier, founders of the parish, celebrated their Golden Wedding in the church and parish they helped to organize. A Solemn High Mass opened the day’s program with the Very Rev. Provincial, Father Claude Vogel delivering the Jubilee sermon. A large number of clergy attended the Mass, and dinner was served for the clergy, family, relatives and friends in the K of C Hall at Victoria.
          Other families to observe their Golden Wedding Anniversary in the parish are: Mr. and Mrs. Bernard H. Munk, Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Kippes and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rajewski.
          A number of families in the parish have also observed their Silver Wedding Anniversaries.
 
Rajewski Nuns Observe Anniversaries
 
          Three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, founders of our parish, chose the religious life and became members of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, Kansas.
          Agnes, the eldest daughter entered the convent in August 1911 and is known as Sr. M. Hubert. In 1936 she celebrated her Silver Jubilee. In 1961 she observed her Golden Jubilee. Both occasions were celebrated in her home parish, St. Boniface Church. 
          Clara, the second oldest daughter entered the convent in early spring of 1921 and took the name of Sr. M. Alice Irene. In 1946 she returned to her native parish to celebrate her Silver Anniversary.
          Mary, the youngest daughter and child of the Rajewski family entered the convent in 1925 and took the name of Sr. M. Alvarita. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee at Vincent in 1950. She died in July of 1956 at Salina Kansas.
 
Parish Organists
 
       Since the formation of the parish in 1907, it has been fortunate in having the services of an organist. To date five parishioners have shared the honor and duty as organist of our parish.
          Agnes Rajewski, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, now Sr. M. Hubert, was the first organist of our parish and gave her services until she entered the convent in 1911.
          Mary Baier, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Mortiz Baier, and Clara Rajewski, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, no Sr. M. Alice Irene became organists. Mary Baier played the organ for the High Masses and Clara the Vespers and Benediction. This continued until 1921, when Clara entered the convent, Mary, who married Joseph Rajewski in June of 1921, continued to play until May of 1922.
          Leo Rajewski then assumed the duties as organist and played until the end of the year of 1923.
          William Baier assumed the duties as organist of the parish on January 1, 1924 and has served continuously from that date.
 
 
Unique Nativity Scene
 
          For a number of years our Pastor has created a most unique Nativity scene in our church for the Christmas season. Not only the parish but the entire surrounding community has enjoyed viewing one of the most beautiful and truly Christmas Nativity scenes prepared by our Pastor, Father Callistus. There is perhaps none to be found that can compare in beauty, originality, design, and one that exemplifies the true purpose and meaning of Christmas, as the one that is to be found in our church t Christmas time. On this scene you can find a beautiful set of figures replicas of the Holy Family, the Wise Men and Shepherds, the sheep and other animals that could be found in the land where our Lord was born. There are the hills with their ledge of rock, the valleys where the shepherds are watching their flock of sheep, the streams and waterfalls, and the pine trees adorned with lights and ornaments, portray such an illustrious scene that cannot be justly described in words. The revolving color light that casts a variety of colors on the scene giving the effect of early morning light, the brightness of midday and the setting of the evening sun. The bright shining star of Bethlehem above the scene casting out its inviting rays of light, inviting all to come to see our Lord in the crib. In addition to all this you will find an unusual collection of stones, shells, and pieces of ore from nearly country and island of the world. They are arranged on the landscaping in a manner to display their beauty. Why the stones and shells we may ask? As this collection of stones and shells represent nearly all the lands of the earth, they represent the people of the world for whom Christ was born, lived, suffered and died, for the redemption of all mankind. This is what makes the scene so impressive and inspiring. 
          It has taken a number of years to make up this collection of stones. After it became known that Father Calllistus was interested in such a collection, friends, relatives, and others began collecting and sending rare and beautiful pieces of stone, ore or shells to him for his collection. Young men of our parish serving in the armed forces in foreign lands contributed towards this collection. Many were obtained by the pastor by writing to foreign missionaries for stones, etc., and through their cooperation the pastor has been able to make up this beautiful collection. It is no doubt one of the most unique collections to be found anywhere. Each stone and shell is labeled so that it can be fully identified as to its place of origin.
 
 
The Grotto
 
       The late John Heger, a former parishioner, having great devotion to the Blessed
Virgin Mary, donated a statue of the Blessed Virgin in 1974, with a specific request that a grotto be built on a hill near Big Creek, and that this statue be placed therein. The site chosen is on the south bank of Big Creek one-half mile east of the church.
          The grotto is built of rock found in that vicinity. Stone steps lead from the base of the hill to the towering ledge where the grotto stands. Father Callistus, Joseph Rajewski and his two sons constructed the grotto.    Many visitors have visited the grotto since its erection.
          John Heger, a brother of the late Mrs. Walter Rajewski, came to this country many years ago and worked in this community for many years. He made his home with the Rajewski family. He donated the greater part of his life’s savings to the church and he will always be remembered by those who knew him for his generosity.
          He spent his final years of his life in California. He was born at GrossTriebendorf, Austria. He died August 7, 1949, at San Jose, California, and is buried there.
 
  
Calvary Group
 
          In 1948 the present Calvary Group was erected on the cemetery. It was one of the most beautiful groups to be found in any cemetery. John Heger donated the funds for the group. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rajewski, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rajewski and Mr. and Mrs. Leo Rajewski donated the funds for the base and altar on which the group rests.
          Men of the parish furnished the labor. Alfred Dreiling supervised the work and did the masonry work.
 
Disaster Strikes
 
          For many years the parish did not experience any loss by fire or tornado. On December 6, 1962, a near disastrous fire threatened to destroy the church structure.
          Redecoration of the interior of the church was in progress and the work was in the final stages of completion to have it ready for Christmas. The new altars and the communion rail had just been installed, new flooring laid and the men were putting on the final coat of paint on the ceiling. All seemed well when they left for lunch, but when they returned about forty five minutes later, they found the church filled with smoke.    Edward F. Schulte, a painter and a member of the parish called the Victoria fire department for assistance.  While waiting for the fire department to arrive, the painters fought the fire, holding it in control with fire extinguishers and water hose. Members of the parish soon arrived to assist in extinguishing the fire. Other units from Hays answered the call bringing water chemicals. The fire was brought under control, however considerable damage was done to the south wall of the church where the fire started. The sanctuary floor, communion rail and front pews received the most damage. Other than smoke tarnishing the beautiful altars, the church interior and stained glass windows were spared further effects. The loss was covered by insurance and the final estimate was set at $3997.50 Work immediately began to repair the damage done and by Christmas most of the work was completed. Origin of the fire remains unknown. After all repair work was completed our little church known as the “Pearl of the Prairie” again stood in all its beauty and splendor. The parishioners never can be too thankful to the Lord for sparing our church from total destruction.
 
 
Survivors
 
          It is of interest to find that since the parish was organized in 1907 to the present time that there are a number of the original parishioners still living. Records show that there are five of the original parishioners still residing in the Vincent community and the members of St. Boniface Church. A number of others reside in other areas and belong to other parishes.
 
          The five surviving parishioners are:
 
Mr. and Mrs. Leo Rajewski                                Mr. & Mrs. Alfred A. Dreiling
William Baier
 
 
          Surviving parishioners living in other areas:
 
Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich H. Berens     (Founders)                            Victoria, Kansas
Louis Berens                                                                      Collyer, Kansas
Mrs. Peter I. Weigel     (Foundress)                                       Oakley, Kansas
Rose Weigel   (Mrs. John Windholz)                                        Walker, Kansas
Anna Weigel   (Mrs. Joseph Mader)                                        Oakley, Kansas
Mary Weigel   (Mrs. Bernard Mader)                                      Oakley, Kansas
Frank Rajewski                                                                  Hays, Kansas
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rajewski                                               Hays, Kansas
Sr. M. Hubert Rajewski                                                        Concordia, Kansas
Sr. M. Alice Irene Rajewski                                                  Silver City, New Mexico
Philomena Rajewski   (Mrs. Joseph Haselhorst)                        Antonino, Kansas
Herman Huser                                                                   Omaha, Nebraska
Bernard Huser                                                                   Salina, Kansas
Elizabeth Huser   (Mrs. Oscar Roussea)                                  Wichita, Kansas
Catherine Huser   (Mrs. Gabriel Brull)                                     Hays, Kansas
Margaret Reichert   (Mrs. B. J. Schulte)                                  Hays, Kansas
Anna Reichert    (Mrs. Frank Schippers)                                 Victoria, Kansas
Odilla Reichert   (Mrs. Joseph Langlois)                                   Monmouth, Illinois
Matilda Reichert   (Mrs. Louis Scheck)                                    Loveland, Colorado
Andreas L. Braun                                                               Victoria, Kansas
Wendelin L. Braun                                                              Hays, Kansas
Catherine Braun   (Mrs. Anthony Denning                                Victoria, Kansas
Mary Braun   (Mrs. Joseph Younger)                                      Tribune, Kansas
Clara Braun   (Mrs. Isidore Binder)                                        Hays, Kansas
Dreiling                                                                             Larned, Kansas
 
 
 
 
Parishioners active in Community Organizations
 
       Although all the parishioners are living on and operating a farm , a number of them have contributed generously of their time and effort to fraternal organizations farm programs and farm organizations, service on the local and high school boards and other boards and community projects.
          A large per cent of the men of the parish are members of the Knights of Columbus and many of the ladies members of the Daughters of Isabella. William Baier and Leo Rajewski and James Rajewski have served as Grand Knight of St. Fidelis Council at Victoria.
Likewise William Baier, Leo Rajewski and Herman Wellbrock have served terms of the Faithful Navigator of the Fourth Degree Assembly at Victoria. Others have held other offices and committee assignments. Mrs. Alfred Dreiling held the office of Regent for the Daughters of Isabella for several years. Other members have been very active in promoting the work of their organization. It can well be said that this community has always excelled in leadership.
 
 
          The parish can well feel proud of one of its former parishioners, Elmer Vonfeldt, who is the present editor of the Columbia, the monthly publication of the Knights of Columbus, which has the largest circulation of all Catholic publications of our country. Prior to this appointment he served as a reporter for the National Catholic Welfare Council, Washington, D.C. Headquarters for Mr. Vonfeldt is at the home office of the Knights of Columbus, New Haven, Conn.
 
          Members of the parish who served in World War One
 
Name............................................................................................ Branch of Service
Joseph Rajewski................................................................... Army 89th. Div. Inf. Co. K.
Nick Schmidtberger*............................................................ Army 34th. Div. reg. Co. D.
Balthasar Vonfeldt*.......................................................... Army F. Remount sp. Co. 320
Peter G. Vonfeldt.............................................................................. Army Med. Corps
Henry Huser*........................................................................ Army Med Corps Base 23
Thomas A. Baier*.............................................................................. Army Med Corps
Wendelin A. Dreiling*................................................. Army 10th. Div. 30th Mach Gun Bat.
......................................................................................................... Camp Funston
Jake Bell*................................................................ Army 6th. Inf. Co. K Camp Funston
Joseph Lederhos*................................................... Army 3rd. Div. 7th. Inf.Co. L (Gassed)
 
No casualties                                                        * Deceased
 
          Young men from our parish who have served our Country in World War Two, Korean War, Army of Occupation, military training and National Guard.
 
Paul Baier           Lloyd Kippes                 LeRoy Schmidtberger          Delbert Truan
Roy Baier           Verlin Leiker                 Alvin Schmidtberger            Arthur Vonfeldt
Victor Berens      Joseph Leiker                Virgil Schmidtberger            Robert D. VonLintel
LaVern Braun      Robert Leiker                Richard Schmidtberger        Allen D. VonLintel
Gerald Braun       Frederick Munk             Albert Staab                      Gary VonLintel
Wilbert Dreiling    Gilbert Rajewski            Albert Schulte                    Regis VonLintel
Earl Huser          Vern Gene Rajewski       Virgil Schulte                     Roger VonLintel
Julian Huser        Marvin Rajewski            Gary Schulte                     Leroy Wellbrock
Roy Kippes         Delando Rajewski          William Smith                     Milton Wellbrock
Eugene Kippes    Celestine Riedel              Frederick Tholen                Wayne Wittman
 
          The parish can feel proud of the large number of its young men who have answered the call of duty to their country. With but a few exceptions, unless because of physical conditions, every young man took his training. Several fought in battles on foreign lands to protect our freedom. The parish has been especially blessed through all the wars of the past 50 years that not a single one was seriously wounded or gave his life for his country. Pray that it will never happen.
 
Conclusion
 
          It has been a most interesting and gratifying experience to write the history of our Parish. The years past have been marked with events that should be of special interest to the readers of this history. To the young generation it should be of special interest. May the readers receive as much enjoyment and knowledge as I myself did recording the past events. I am pleased to make this contribution to our Parish, its members and friends.
          We can truthfully say that our Parish has been blessed with a pastor who has devoted his life to our Parish and the spiritual welfare of each member. Accomplishments since 1929 are due to his leadership, guidance, understanding and patience. Too often we are apt to take them for granted, and often forget that to accomplish things as have been done in our parish
are due to leadership, as has been demonstrated to by our Pastor.
          We all owe him our prayers and words of thanks for his work. My special thanks to him for his interest and cooperation in supplying needed data, and the privilege of using the church records to obtain necessary information. To all those whom I interviewed for information, my thanks.
 
 
Highlights of St. Boniface Parish
1968-1997
 
Closing of Schools
1970
 
          The closing of the of the district grade school at Vincent in 1970 and transferring the students to Victoria, relieved Fr. Callistus of his Religious Education program here at St. Boniface. Fr. Callistus was also an instructor at St. Francis Seminary in Victoria at the time of it’s closing the same year.
 
45th Anniversary of Fr. Callistus
1971
 
          On Sunday, June 20, 1971, Fr. Callistus celebrated his 45th. anniversary as a priest.
A concelebrated High Mass of Thanksgiving was offered in St. Boniface Church. A dinner for all present, former parishioners and friends was served in the school basement after Mass.
 
50th Anniversary of Fr. Callistus
1976
 
          After spending 48 years so faithfully serving the parishioners of St. Boniface, Fr. Callistus celebrated his 50th. anniversary to the priesthood on June 10, 1976. Father privately celebrated his Golden Jubilee Mass with his parishioners and a few invited guests at Vincent.
Presiding at the Mass of Thanksgiving were Bishop Cyrill Vogel and Bishop Firmin Schmidt along with numerous other area priests. A dinner and reception for all was held at the VFW Hall in Victoria.
 
Death of Fr. Callistus
1980
 
        Fr. Callistus had prayed that he would die among the people he had served most of his life. His prayers were answered on Sunday, April 13, 1980, just after celebrating Mass with his congregation at St. Boniface. Fr. Callistus had served as pastor of Vincent for more than 52 of his 54 years as a priest. Funeral services were held at St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, with Provincial Vincent Rohr and his Capuchin brothers concelebrating Mass with interment in St. Fidelis Cemetery. The Capuchin Friar has touched so many lives with his faithful devotion and gentle kindness, that a memorial in his name was established to help educate young men to the priesthood. Father Callistus would be pleased to know that he is remembered in this way, as he spent many years teaching the seminarians at St. Francis Seminary in Victroria.
 
Mission Parish
1980
 
          Following the death of Fr. Callistus, St. Boniface Church became a Mission Parish of
St. Fidelis in Victoria, without a resident pastor and daily Mass. The children received their religious education and related activities in Victoria. The Parish liturgy, religious education, and family life Commissions all have worked in cooperation with St. Fidelis under their guidelines.
Each Commission member his representation and works under with the Victoria Parish to minister the various programs available to the Parish.  
 
80th. Anniversary of Parish
1987
 
          St. Boniface Parish celebrated the 80th. anniversary of its founding on Sunday, December 20, 1987. Bishop George K. Fitzsimons graced the occasion by offering a concelebrated Mass with Fr. Gene Emrisek and other attending area Priests in the Vincent Church. A dinner in Victoria was served for all members and guests.
 
90th Anniversary of Parish
1997
 
          Bishop George K. Fitzsimons offered a Mass of Thanksgiving with concelebrants, Fr. Bernard Tomassetti and Fr. Felix Petrovsky, on Sunday, December 15,1977, in honor of 90 years of St. Boniface Parish. After Mass a dinner and program was held in Victoria for all the attending clergy, parish members and guests.
 
Fr. Callistus’ “Crib”
1980-1997
 
          For 70 years members of St. Boniface have enjoyed the celebration of the Birth of Christ with a very special “Little Town of Bethlehem”. The Nativity display, which began as a labor of love for Father Callistus in 1927, is now a monument to his memory. Each Christmas season since his death in 1980, members of the Parish have reassembled the display as a tribute to it’s creator and as a memorial in his name for the education of Seminarians in the Capuchin Order. The church is open for visitors on Sunday afternoon during the Christmas season and all are welcome to view Fr. Callistus’ unique work of Art.
 
1997
          Over the last 90 years the community spirit has continued as the people have taken great pride in their Parish. The spiritual attributes have motivated the families to develop a bond that will hopefully last throughout the century, and the many years to come. May God grant us our wish.
 
Pastors who served St. Boniface Church
1968-1997
 
                   1929-1980               Rev. Callistus Rectenwald
                   1980-1981               Rev. Michael Scully, Rev. Bill Kraus. Rev. John Lager
                   1981-1983               Msgr. Francis Senecal
                   1983-1986               Rev. Gilmary Tallman, Rev. Clement Naef
                   1986-1991               Rev. Gene Emrisek
                   1991                      Rev. Earl Befort
                   1991-1992               Rev. Greg Byer
                   1991-1993               Rev. David Gottschalk
                   1993-                     Rev. Frank Grinko, Rev. Berard Tomassetti, Rev. Christian
                                                Fey
 
          Our Parish is especially thankful to the dedicated Priests and Sisters who have served us so faithfully over the years. Their loyalty, devotion, guidance, sacrifices and love for the parishioners can never be expressed in words. May God bless them all.
 
 
Highlights of St. Boniface Parish
1997-2007
 
Cemetery Updated
200-2005
 
          Cemetery improvements the past years included the marking of the cemetery plots with numbered cement markers in all four corners. New iron gates the front entrance were installed, plus a drive through gate for vehicles to enter. A chain link fence replacing the barb wire was added. The Calvary Group on the altar was repaired and repainted. All of the work was done by volunteers in their spare time.
 
 
Death of Fr. Christian
2002
 
          Fr. Christian Fey, a former teacher and rector of St. Francis Seminary in Victoria, devoted most of his life to Capuchin seminaries and formation programs. He also was director of two Seminaries in Papua New Guinea for 15 years. Later in his career, he served various parishes in the area, including St. Boniface. His devotion and gentle kindness for our Parishand it’s members will never be forgotten!! May God bless Him!!
Death of Fr. Berard
2003
 
          Fr. Berard Tomassetti’s life was rich in variety and long in patience. After three years with the U.S. Navy in New Guinea during World War II, he returned home and began his studies for the Capuchin priesthood. Following his ordination, he returned to New Guinea as a missionary for 34 years. After his return in 1989, he ministered to various parishes in the area, including St. Boniface. Father was concelebrant of our 90th anniversary Mass, along with Bishop Fitzsimmon. His loyalty and devotion for our Parish can never be expressed in words. May God Bless Him!!
 
Parish Improvements
1998-2006
 
          Improvements to our parish by volunteer members over the last 10 were the drilling of a new water well, and the water and electrical lines were installed underground. A new septic system, and plumbling and plumbing was replaced for both houses. The propane tank was moved and the lines replaced. The outside of the church, rectory, garage and out buildings were repainted, and the rectory and garage shingled. Also, each spring a volunteer work day was scheduled to take care of minor repairs of the buildings and ground. Contracted labor this past year included the installation of a new air conditioning and heating system, plus new sidewalk improvements.
 
Christmas Memories
 
          As we approach the 100th. anniversary of our Parish, the community spirit has continued and our members have taken pride in our “Little Town of Bethelem” each Christmas season. Volunteers have spent many hours reassembling the display as a tribute to Fr. Callistus, it’s creator, and as a memorial in his mane for the education of Seminarians in the Capuchin Order.
After 80 years, visitors are still welcome after Sunday Mass and during the afternoons of the Christmas season to enjoy His work of art.
 
2007
 
          As we look forward to our official 100th. anniversary date of our Parish on December 18, 2007, may our parish members continue to work together and may they take a great pride in their Parish for many, many more years. On this centennial. Dedicated to St. Boniface, we pray that our Blessed Mother smile on her children in Vincent and keep us close to her Divine Son!
 
 
 
Pastors Who Served at St Boniface Church
1997-2012 
          1997-2001                        Rev. Fr. Frank Grinko, Rev. Fr. Berard Tomassetti, and
                                                Rev. Fr. Christian Fey
 
          2001-2001                        Rev. Fr. Maris Goetz
 
          2001-2004                        Rev. Fr. David Gottschalk
 
          2004-2007                        Rev. Fr. Charles Polifka
 
          2007-2011                        Rev. Fr. Michael Scully
 
          2011-                              Rev. Fr. Jeffrey Ernst
 
          We offer our prayers and words of thanks to the dedicated Priests, Office Staff, & Laity who served us so faithfully these past 10 years. Their devotion, guidance, and love will always be remembered! May God bless them all!!
 

Transportation Furnished for the Pastor 

         Since the only method of transportation was by horse and buggy or wagon, the parishioners took turns to get and return the pastor from Victoria on weekends so that regular services could be held at Vincent. The Pastor would announce during Mass whose turn it would be to get the Pastor the following weekend. The Pastor would set the day and time. Ordinarily the pastor would be gotten on Friday after dinner and returned on Monday morning after Mass. During the summer months when the horses were needed for the field work he was taken beak to Victoria on Sunday afternoon. This method was used until 1923 when the when the parish bought a car for the Pastor. During this period of time, services were held regularly every Sunday. Only on one occasion, due to a misunderstanding as to whose turn it was to get the pastor, no Mass was said on Sunday. However, the parish recited a rosary, litany and other prayers as the time would not permit them to drive to a neighborhood parish to attend Mass.

         Likewise the parishioners took turns to haul coal for the church and furnished kindling wood to light the stoves.


Religious Instructions 

         Religious instructions for the children of the new parish was not overlooked,and every effort was made to give them the best possible. As previously stated, the one room school house stood south and east of the church where the children were in attendance. Fr. Vincent, the pastor arranged for the children to leave school on Friday afternoon and to come to the church for instructions. The children walked from school to church. Occasionally the pastor would visit the school for instructions. On Sunday afternoon at 1:30 instructions were also given followed by either Vespers or Rosary and Benediction. The parents always attended and thereby could observe how their children were learning their religion. This custom prevailed for many years in the parish.

         It is not difficult to conclude that the first pastor did an exceptionally well job in getting everything organized and functioning. He was a very kind and understanding man and whatever he did propose or carry out was never done for personal glory but all for the greater honor and glory for God. He served the Parish form December 18,1907 to January 1909. During his tenure several more families joined the parish, and the seed for future growth had been planted. 

 

Fr. Basil Heim 

          Fr. Basil became the second Pastor in January of 1909 and served the Parish until October of 1909. During his short stay he continued as his predecessor to add necessary articles for the Church. He was successful in adding six more families to the Parish roster. 

 

Fr. Edmund Trischler - Nov. 1909-1911 

         Fr. Edmund, a young priest assumed the duties as pastor in November 1909.

With the advent of Christmas near at hand, he saw the need of a crib for the church to solemnize the Feast of Christmas more properly, he induced Brother Wendelin Weisner of Victoria to make a crib. Brother Wendelin accepted the suggestion and made a beautiful crib which was used for many years in our church. Figures for the crib were purchased. The cost amounted to about $8.00. Fr. Edmund continued to induce more families to join the parish and during his stay was successful in enrolling ten more families to the parish.

         In May of 1910 a cross with a corpse was erected in the cemetery. A sanctuary lamp was installed and two adoring angels were placed on either side of the high altar. Records show that on Jan.19,1910 the first financial statement was submitted to the Bishop. Receipts totaled $740.00 and expenditures were $610.30 leaving a balance of $130.00.

         May 11, 1911, was a day of celebration in the parish. On that day a number of boys and girls made their solemn communion. This was done when the age of 12 had arrived. Also on that day the children who had received the age of seven made their first Holy Communion. This was made possible by a new ruling made at that time.

         Perhaps few parishioners knew that Vincent once had a windmill that was put up in January of 1911 on the well that was previously dug. The tower and mill head cost $54.00. It stood there for about five years when it was sold and removed. There was insufficient water in the well to make the mill useful. Bernard Huser purchased the mill. 

 

1911 Another Historic Year 

          The parish was now in its fourth year of existence. It had witnessed a growth in numbers and was quite well established. However,to have a parish in their midst was not the only wish and desire. They wanted better facilities for their children both religious and academic. In the spring months of 1911 a movement began to organize a parish school.   Everyone agreed to the need of such a facility. To build and finance such a project was beyond the ability of a small parish to sponsor. Since this was out of reach other means were discussed. The thought of moving the one room school house from its present location to the parish site was considered.   If the district would consent to this relocation and bear the expense of moving the building and adding an additional room, the parish would finance the building of a home for Sisters and maintain the home if Sisters could be induced to come to Vincent and teach in a public school. This arrangement would offer the training for the children the parishioners and patrons of the district long had desired and not out of reach to finance.

         The Mother Superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph,Concordia, was contacted and the wishes of the parish presented to her. The Sisters agreed to furnish two teachers provided a furnished home was built. With their acceptance no time was lost in planning and building the home. Plans called for a two story home 24’ x 24’ with a half basement. The estimated cost was placed at $1600.00 minus furnishings. There was no building fund or ready cash to finance this construction. Again it meant a great sacrifice for the parishioners to raise funds. All labor except that of a carpenter was to be donated. Relatives and friends again came to their assistance donating money and labor. Work began in spring in the hope to have the home completed by September for the opening of school. While the house was under construction the school house was moved and a room added. It was a busy time at Vincent. What seemed nearly impossible only a few months earlier would soon be a reality. The Pastor, Fr. Edmund, contributed much to this movement and through his advice and encouragement united the community in this undertaking. His Pastorate at Vincent ended in July so he could not remain to see the opening of school and to welcome the Sisters. 

 

Fr. Pancratius Dockler - July 1911-July 1912 

         The new pastor was no stranger to the parishioners and his coming was welcomed. He proceeded to see the completion of the buildings and the arrival of the first Sisters. It pleased him very much that the parish now had facilities to take care of the religious training of the youth. The school opened and operated much like a parochial school.

The only difference was in the method of support. The District paid the Sisters and maintained the school while the parish assumed the needs for the Sisters home. This was the first public school to have Nuns as teachers in Ellis County. The first teachers were Sr. Sylvester and Sister Borgia. They were also blood sisters. They taught in our school for a number of years. This arrangement worked satisfactorily for many years or until the time came when the Nuns were withdrawn due to the lack of teachers to staff the school. This withdrawal took place after the close of school in the spring of 1956.

         After the Sisters house was completed and furnished, only a small debt remained to be paid and this was soon liquidated.

         Fr. Pancratius served the parish for one year. He loved to preach and when the opportunity presented itself he lectured to non-Catholics, bringing the word of God to them. 

 

Fr. Celestine Oswald - July 1912-July 1916 

          Fr. Celestine, a young and energetic person soon found things to do at Vincent. A number of hand tools were purchased and work began. In early 1913 the metal border on the church ceiling wa sinstalled. A floral embossed wall board was placed on the wall behind the high altar and bordered with a frame to give the area a more attractive and secluded appearance. In 1914 a sidewalk was laid south of the church and a fence built along the east property line to keep out stray animals. A cistern was dug and gutter placed on the church. In the spring of 1915 Windophanie was placed on the church windows. This beautiful paper in brilliant colors marked a great improvement in appearance to the interior of the church. In the fall of 1913 the first parish mission was held.

         The German language was used almost exclusively in all the churches in this area. St. Boniface Church was no exception. Sermons were delivered in German and the prayers and confessions were likewise so done. Fr. Celestine saw the need of a change and once or twice a month delivered an English sermon and advocated English confessions. Some opposed this change vigorously and threatened to leave the parish. But in due time it became evident that it was for the best interest of the youth and the English was accepted. Our parish was one of the first parishes in this area to make this transition. This change proved especially helpful to the young men of the parish who were called to service in World War One. Due to the untiring efforts of Fr. Celestine much was accomplished during his four year stay here at Vincent. 

 

Store Opened At Vincent 

         In the spring of 1914 Jacob Falkenstein moved his store from Pfeifer to Vincent and conducted a general merchandise business. The store stood across the road due east from the present school. This was during the horse and buggy days and he did a good business. He sold groceries and dry goods and bought cream and eggs. When the auto came into use his business suffered and like many country stores soon was forced to close as he could not compete with the city markets. 

 

Fr. Ulrich Zeller - July 1916-Sept. 1917 

          Fr. Ulrich Zeller was no stranger to the parishioners as he had been stationed in nearby parishes.

         Since the original church structure did not have a tower, it was decided to construct a tower on the church to give it a better appearance. In the spring of 1917 sufficient donations were received to warrant the construction. Alex Schueler, Sr. from Catherine was hired as carpenter and the men of the parish supplied the labor. Total cost amounted to about$300.00.

         Fr. Ulrich loved to play cards and introduced the game of Pinochle to the parishioners. In leisure time he enjoyed his cigars. After one year as Pastor he was transformed to another parish. His presence was greatly missed. 

 

Fr. Chrysostom Jacob - Nov. 1917- July 1919 

       It was a cold November day when Fr. Chrysostom made his appearance at Vincent. Shortly after his arrival he went to the school to meet the Sisters and the children. As he approached the school,all the children viewed him in amazement. He was of average height and heavy build, wearing a long white beard. With his cowl over his head and along Pennsylvania Stogie cigar in his mouth, leaving a cloud of smoke behind him as he entered the school.

         The children greeted him as all the priests were greeted and he responded in German “Ich bin der Santa Claus.” This caused quite a roar of laughter. He enjoyed children and having them about him. Some of the smaller children could not remember his name and soon called him Santa Claus. While this was perhaps not an appropriate name for a Pastor, it was but a short time until this title did prove to become a reality.

            Living quarters for the pastor were very inadequate. One room served as the parish office and living quarters. The small bedroom, (now the south sacristy) was not too comfortable a room to sleep in. A pastor’s residence was badly needed. To build a residence and remodel the church would require quite an amount of money which was not available at that time. Fr. Chrysostom had friends and relatives back east, and he proceeded to solicit money to finance this undertaking. The parishioners seeing the need of this improvement donated money, and held raffles to start a building fund.

         In a brief period of time sufficient funds were on hand or pledged to construct the rectory. Construction began in early 1918 and on March 19, 1918, the cornerstone was laid. The plan called for a one story building 26’ x 28’with four rooms and a small basement. Fred Tholen and Moritz Baier supervised the construction and did the carpenter work. The men of the parish furnished the labor. The rectory was completed by early spring and the pastor moved into his new home. The cost of the rectory was $760.00. 

 

Sanctuary Remodeled in 1918 

         In May of 1918 the partition was removed which separated the sanctuary from the living quarters and office behind the high altar. This enlarged the sanctuary and a recessed area for the high altar. The bedroom in the southwest corner of the church was converted into the altar boy’s sacristy. The interior of the church was painted after alterations were completed. 

 

New High Altar Installed 

         In May of 1918 a new High Altar was installed. It was donated by Mr. andMrs. Christian Steinmetz of Wheeling, West Virginia, friends of the pastor.

         The late John Linenberger, a carpenter and cabinet maker of Victoria made and installed the altar.

         This change greatly improved the interior of the church. The old high altar was converted in a side altar. Both altars served their use until recent years when new altars were installed. 

         The pastor was most grateful to the parishioners and to his many friends who contributed to make these necessary improvements and in such a short period of time. His two year stay at Vincent and the accomplishments experienced were long remembered by the parishioners. He was truly a Santa Claus to the parish and lived up to this title from the first day he arrives at Vincent when he introduced himself as Santa Claus. In July of 1919 he was transferred to Walker, Kansas. 

 

Fr. Michael Neff, O. M. Cap - Sept. 1919-Feb. 1920 

         During this short period of time nothing special occurred. He performed his pastoral duties and the parish continued to grow.  

 

Fr. Emmeram Kausler, O.M. Cap - Feb. 1920-Dec. 1921 

         Fr. Emmeram who was well known in this area as a pastor and designer and builder of churches became pastor of St Boniface. He was a very religious man, loved to preach and was a pastor loved by all. No special improvements were made during his stay at Vincent. 

 

Fr Michael Neff Returns - Dec. 1921-July 1925 

    Fr. Michael returned to Vincent as pastor and during his tenure as pastor a number of interesting things took place. 

    The original custom of taking turns by the families of the parish to transport the pastor to and from Vincent to Victoria still existed. It had worked splendidly, but Fr. Michael felt the time had come for a better way of transportation and for more service to the parish by the pastor. Fr.Michael loved to ride a motorcycle and suggested the purchase of one. However the parish felt that a car would be more appropriate for a pastor. In August of 1922 the first parish car was purchased. Each family was assessed $30.00 and a car was purchased. This relieved the families of transporting the pastor. On June 19, 1923, the parish held itsfirst picnic. Additional pews were installed in 1924 to accommodate the parish which was steadily growing. Two Sunday Masses were inaugurated.

    For several years the pastor advocated the renting of the pews to increase the revenue for the church. Up until this time the men occupied the pews on the Epistle side and the women the pews on the Gospel side of the church. Renting of the pews would permit each family to be together in church. After several years of meetings and discussions the pews were rented for the first time on Feb. 22, 1925.

    In August of 1024 the parish was assessed $200.00 by Bishop Tief to build on Episcopal residence at Concordia. Each family was assessed $6.00 and the debt was paid. 

 

Silver Jubilee - Fr. Michael Neff 

    On June 4, 1925 the Parish joined with Fr. Michael in celebrating his silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood. A solemn High Mass opened the activities followed by a dinner and an all day parish picnic. The parish gave him $100.00 as a jubilee gift.

    Fr. Michael loved to work in the harvest field and when harvest came he could be found pitching wheat in a header box. He worked at the Baier and Rajewski farms.

    In 1925 the present school building was constructed by the district. Although not completed in June it was used to celebrate Fr.Michael’s Silver Jubilee. In July he was transferred to Antonino 

 

Fr. Edward Heyl - July 1925-Feb. 1927 

   As Fr. Edward arrived he found a thriving parish and the need of additional space in church to accommodate the parishioners. In the fall of 1925 the nave was lengthened by extending the front of the church out as far as the tower. The space gained on either side was 10’ by 10’. A choir loft was built into this space on the south side:and the confessional and shrine now occupy the space gained on the north side. The men of the parish did the work under the supervision of Mr. P.P. A. Dreiling of Victoria. The cost amounted to $313.95. New pews were added to fill the space gained by the extension. In April of 1926 the interior and exterior of the church were painted. A new car was purchased in January of 1927, a difference of $515.00 was paid. Fr. Edward had made his contribution and was relieved of his duties in February 1927. 

 

Fr. Raphael Engel - Feb. 1927-July 1927 

   Fr. Raphael, assistant pastor at Victoria was assigned as a temporary pastor of our parish to fill the unexpired term of Fr.Edward. No special improvements were made during his short stay. 

  

Fr. Callistus Rectenwald - July 1927-July 1928 

   Fr. Callistus Rectenwald came to Vincent as a young ordained priest and this assignment was his first as a pastor of a parish. 

 

Picture of Fr. Callistus Rectenwald

 

    Father Callistus, Louis Rectenwald, was born and raised in the large industrial city of Pittsburgh, PA. The son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Louis A. Rectenwald and the second oldest of a family of ten.l There were four boys and six girls in the family. Mr. Rectenwald was a pharmacist and chemist by profession. As a boy and young man Father Callistus assisted his father in the operation of the drugstore

    Fr. Callistus began his studies for the priesthood at a Benedictine college. After a year of study there he transformed to St. Fidelis Seminary, Herman, Pa., to study for the Capuchins. Completing his novitiate, he came to St. Fidelis Monastery, Victoria, Kansas, to study philosophy. After his theological training at SS Peter and Paul’s Monastery,Cumberland, Md., Father was ordained, June 15, 1926, by Archbishop Curley of Baltimore, Maryland.

His first appointment was to major in education at Catholic University of America. When his health broke down the following year, he came to Vincent as pastor.

    Coming to Kansas as a cleric to study philosophy, gave Father Callistus his first view of Kansas. The great open plains country, the people and their living habits, the climate and photography all so different in comparison with his home state of Pennsylvania. 

 

First Assignment 1927 

         Were it possible to put in words the thoughts and fears experienced by Father Callistus when he was notified of his appointment as a pastor of Vincent,Kansas, it would in itself make a most interesting story to read. To leave a city, the heavily populated areas, the mountains, rivers, and acquaintances and go to Kansas to a country sometimes in the East referred to as the wild west, where the coyotes howl, the winds, snow, and dust blow madly,no mountains and but few trees in sight, and to live a solitary life in a rural parish caused near despair.

         In obedience he came, determined to conquer all obstacles and perform his duties as a pastor to which he had been assigned.

         The Parish welcomed him and felt very fortunate to have the services of a young devoted pastor. In a brief period of time he became a friend to everyone. Soon after his arrival he could be found in working clothes,painting, repairing or working about the buildings. His zeal and devotion to the parish was soon noted by the congregation and in return he received its wholehearted support.

         Every pastor has his worries. In October of 1927 the parish received its second assessment to help liquidate the debt on the Bishop’s House at Concordia, the Episcopal See of the Concordia, Diocese. A previous assessment of $200.00 had been paid. This additional $800.00 assessment was considered an unjust levy on such a small parish. It was paid in small installments over a period of several years.

         With the approach of the Christmas season, Father remodeled the crib and made plans for a beautiful Nativity scene in the church. The first Christmas at Vincent may well be recorded as the beginning of the beautiful Nativity scenes we have had the pleasure to view and enjoy over the past many years. Few men have the art of producing such a masterpiece as Father Callistus.

         Feb. of 1928 found our pastor busy replacing the imitation stained glass paper on the church windows. He did most of the work himself and did it most artistically. The colors, designs, symbols, portraits and arrangement incorporated into each window gave it a truly liturgical effect. This added much beauty to the interior of the church. With the bright rays of sun shining through the beautiful colors in the windows it was believed by many that the church had stained glass windows. There were other improvements on the list to be undertaken.

         However, everything came to a halt when the unexpected announcement came that our pastor was to leave our parish and be transferred to Charleston, West Virginia. Father Callistus had adapted himself to the people, the parish,the quiet life and especially to our church. He had won the admiration of every one and his leaving was regretted both by the pastor and the parish. 

 

Father Fidelis Meier - July 1928-Nov. 1928 

         Father Fidelis Meier, a retired professor accepted the pastorate at Vincent believing that he could perform the pastoral work in a small parish. However,in a brief period of time he experienced that the duties of a rural pastor were more than what he could cope with.  Driving a car in all types of weather,building his own fire in the rectory and church and living alone were quite different from monastery life and he resigned after a brief stay. 

 

Father Raymond Ryan - Nov. 1928-Feb.1929 

            Father Raymond was appointed pastor and, not in good health soon experienced that the duties in a rural parish, as mentioned before, were more than his health would permit.

In fairness to the parish he asked to be relieved of his duties in Feb. 1929. 

 

Father Callistus Returns - Feb. 1929 

       After leaving Vincent in July of 1028 and returning to the East for pastoral work, he soon experienced that the climatic conditions there did not agree with him and became ill. In the fall of 1928 he was transferred back to Victoria to recuperate. No doubt there was one thought and prayer in Father Callistus’ mind and that dear Lord, give me back Vincent. This wish and desire became a reality in February 1929. The parish was very happy when the announcement came that Fasther Callistus would return to Vincent.

         Upon his return Father started to make the improvements which he had previouslyplanned on making. One of the first improvements to be made was thebeautification of the sanctuary. A new carpet was laid on the predella;linoleum on the sanctuary floor; communion rail lowered; the closets in thesacristies remodeled, all this just a beginning of many more improvements.

         The years from 1929 to the present time have been filled with so many improvements and to overlook them and not to make mention of them as they occurred would certainly be a great injustice to our Pastor and the parishioners who have cooperated so splendidly over this long period of time. The accomplishments for such a small parish as this is so remarkable and unique that it may well become a symbol for other parishes to follow. Likewise iti s important that the many sacrifices and contributions our Pastor has made be properly documented that not only this generation but the future generations may be reminded of and given the opportunity to appreciate what has been done for them by the Pastor and parishioners. 

 

List of the Major Improvements - 1929-1968 

1929—Laundry addition to Sisters House..........$264.75

          New Car.......... $700.00

          Sacred Heart Statue.......... $91.00 

          Vestment Cabinet.......... $100.10

1930—New Chimney on the Church.......... $71.40

          Plastering of rectory..........$170.00

1932—Electric Light Plant..........$50.00

          Wiring and fixtures..........$172.00

1936—Oil Heater for Church...........$85.00

1937—New Car..........$590.00

1940—Shingling of Church roof..........$161.92

1943—Baptismal Font..........$135.03

1944—Stations of the Cross..........$257.23

          Celutex wall board (Church)..........$318.04

          Windophanie for Windows..........$306.42

1945—Rectory Bathroom..........$597.39

1946—Electric Bell Ringer..........$275.00

          New Garage..........$638.47

          Shingling of rectory..........$118.08

          Gas Installation all Bldgs...........$1,307.62

          New bell, Church tower..........$431.55

1947—Wurlitzer Organ..........$3,620.00

          Tile floor in church..........$344.84

          Oak floor Sisters House..........$170.42

          Kneeling pads for pews..........$400.00

1948—New Car..........$1,679.00

          Calvary Group (Cemetery)..........$1,307.62

          Rectory furnace..........$175.81

          Gold Vestment..........$239.95

1949—Annex to Church..........$1,230.20

          Cabinets for sacristy..........$197.50

1950—Water well, pipes,etc...........$742.48

1951—Sisters Bathroom..........$473.48

          Fatima Statue..........$212.20

1952—Asbestos Siding (Church)..........$301.59

          Celutex, Church ceiling..........$204.72

1953—Asphalt shingles (tower)..........$130.87

          Light fixtures in church..........$866.00

          Sanctuary Lamps..........$ 250.00

          Infant of Prague statue and throne..........$160.00

          Gutter for church..........$106.29

1955—New Car..........$1623.00

          Water Pump and Tank..........$260.00

1956—Stained Glass Windows..........$5,096.00

1958—Lecturn..........$150.00

1958—New Pews..........$3,148.00

1959—Sanctuary floor remodeled and Communion Rail..........$425.00

          Sedelia.........$160.00

          Carpet for Sanctuary..........$375.00

          Electric fans for the Church..........$200.00

          Lanterns at Church entrance..........$112.07

          Fire extinguishers..........$269.85

1960—Metal Utility shed..........$171.80

1961—Sanctuary remodeled..........$3,762.00

          Lawn Mower..........$300.00

1962—Stainless Cross for Church tower..........$150.80

          Brass adjustable Pedestals..........$210.00

1963—New Confessional & Lighting..........$269.95

          Oak paneling on Church walls..........$450.00

          New oak inside church doors and stained glass..........$398.95

          Baptismal font..........$225.00

          Cadet tractor mower..........$685.00

          Lightning rods for the church..........$196.30

1964—Ciborium..........$146.54

          New furnaces for church..........$349.00

          Cushions for communion rail..........$79.64

          Portable Altar..........$120.00

1965—Ciborium..........$203.34

          Lectern..........$120.00

          New Car..........$2,190.00

          Pew book racks..........$120.40

1966—Oak window frames in church..........$480.00

          Painting the church tower..........$153.55

          Reshingling of the church roof..........$700.00

         In addition to the above mentioned improvements there were many donations for items for the sanctuary, vestments and supplies and if their value would be included the total figure would be amazing.

         Relatives and friends of our Pastor have contributed the sum of $9008.00 to our Parish. Many reside in Pennsylvania. In addition to this our Pastor himself has contributed $5389.00, the profit of thousand of rosaries he made and sold. Without these two generous contributions many of the improvements would not have been made.

         The Parish owes a great debt of gratitude and thanks to our Pastor and benefactors for their generous contributions.

         In addition to his pastoral duties at Vincent, Father Callistus has taught at St. Francis Seminary for the past sixteen years. His specialty:Latin. For a number of years he has taught Latin IV, and tutors special students. Through his teaching efforts many students have received Latin awards from the National Association for the promotion of the Study of Latin. 

 

Water Problem Solved 

       A shortage of water existed since the parish was formed. The original well failed, rainfall was insufficient on many occasions to keep the cistern filled with water. For many years water had to be hauled so that the Pastor and Sisters had water for their use. Every attempt had been made to find water on the church premises but to no avail. In 1950 another attempt was made to find water. It was discovered on the William Baier farm about one hundred feet west from the northwest corner of the church property. A well was drilled by hand, a pit for the pump was dug, a pipeline laid to the buildings and necessary connections were made and from that date there has been an ample supply of water at Vincent. Many of the trees and shrubs would not be found about the buildings had this water supply not been discovered. The buildings were modernized and a most needed improvement realized.

 

Portable Altar Installed 

          In compliance with the changes made in recent years and the and the introduction of the English language in the liturgy of the church our parish readily conformed with the new rulings and installed a portable altar. The first English Mass that was said in our parish took place on Christmas Day 1964. This change was well received by the parishioners. The Pasto ris most pleased for this cooperation.

  

Diocesan Assessments on the Parish 

         St. Boniface Parish has shared in various assessments made by our Bishop for Diocesan projects.

         1924—For construction of Bishop’s House at Concordia..........$200.00

         1927—Second assessment for Bishop’s house..........$800.00

         1952—For the construction of the new Cathedral at Salina..........$286.50

         1962—For the construction of the Newman Club Center at Kansas State University, Manhattan,Kansas..........$1,650.00 

Anniversaries 

         In the years past a number of anniversaries and Jubilees have been observed in the parish. 

 

Silver Jubilee - 1925

       Father Michael Neff, Pastor celebrated his Silver Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood on June 4, 1925. A Solemn High Mass of thanksgiving followed by a dinner and an all-day picnic climaxed the day’s program. This was the first celebration of its kind to be held at Vincent.

 

Parish Twenty-Fifth Anniversary - 1932 

         The parish celebrated its Silver Anniversary on Sept. 5, 1932. A Solemn High Mass was celebrated by the Pastor Father Callistus, assisted by Father Alfred Carney as

Deacon and Father Edwin Dorzweiler as Subdeacon. Father Alfred preached the festival sermon. An all day parish picnic followed. The ladies of the parish served a chicken dinner and supper in the school hall.

  

Vincent Celebrated 40th Anniversary - 1947 

         The fortieth anniversary of the formation of our parish at Vincent was celebrated on December 8, 1947, with the Rev. Fr. Alfred Carney, as the celebrant at the solemn High Mass. Assisting Fr. Alfred at the altar were Rev. Richard Bollig as Deacon and Father Callistus as Subdeacon. Fr.Alfred delivered the sermon. The celebration was also the occasion of the blessing of the new Wurlitzer double manual electronic organ purchased for the church. The purchase made possible by donations of the parishioners. An all day celebration had been planned but due to bad roads and inclement weather activities were confined to the church services. 

 

Organist Marks 25th Year at Keys - 1949 

         News Years day Jan. 1, 1949 marked the 25th. Anniversary of William Baier as organist of St. Boniface’s church. A High Mass was offered by the pastor in thanksgiving for his services to the parish.

         While attending St. Joseph’s college at Hays, Mr. Baier studied music,receiving his training from the late Father Didacus, O.F.M. Cap. He was graduated from the college in the spring of 1924 and took over the duties as organist and choir director on Jan. 1, 1924.

         In appreciation of these 25 years of service to the parish, the Pastor on behalf of the Parish presented Mr. Baier as a gift a large silver plague of the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother, centered with a bouquet of flowers upon which the figure 25 is displayed. 

 

Father Callistus Silver Jubilee 

         Rev. Father Callistus Rectenwald, pastor of Vincent, celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary in the priesthood on Thursday, June 14, 1951. The day’s festivities began with a Solemn High Mass at 9:30 AM. Celebrant of the Mass was the Rev. Jubilarian; He was assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Alfred as Deacon, and Very Rev. Fr. Claude as subdeacon. Fr. Christian acted as Master of Ceremonies. Fr. Virgil Kuhn delivered a sermon on the priesthood, a eulogy, becoming and beautiful. Servers for the Mass included Joseph Leiker and Jerry Lee Wellbrock, thurifers, and Donald Wellbrock and Adrian Leiker, acolytes. The choir under the direction of Mr. William Baier, organist,sang the choral Mass by Gounod.

         Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed the Mass and at its conclusion the entire congregation sang the TeDeum.

         The parishioners and guests assembled in the school hall shortly after Mass for the festive dinner. Among the seventeen clergy-men present were two of special distinction; namely, Fr. Richard and Fr. Mathias, classmates of the Jubilarian. The ladies of the parish did a commendable job of preparing and serving the meal to approximately a hundred and fifty guests. A triple layer cake, baked and tastefully decorated by Mrs. Louis Leiker and daughters formed the centerpiece of the head table. Sister Tersina made clever cutouts of Capuchin friars to serve as place cards.

         `In the brief address concluding the banquet, Fr. Christian introduced the Rev. Jubilarian who in turn thanked all for what they had done for him, especially the people of Vincent among whom he had labored for twenty-three years. The Capuchin friars brought the celebration to a musical conclusion with a rendition of the “Ultima, a hymn in honor of the Blessed Virgin. 

 

Parish Golden Jubilee - 1957 

       A Solemn High Mass was celebrated Monday Dec, 9,1957, in St. Boniface Church to commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the founding and dedication of the church and parish.

         The Rev. Mark Linnenberger was celebrant of the Solemn High Mass with Father Bertrand Brookman, then the Dean of the Hays Deanery, as Deacon, and Father Raphael Engel as Subdeacon. Master of ceremonies was Father Virgil Kuhn. Father Simon of

Victoria delivered the Jubilee sermon. Other Clergy present for the occasion were Fathers Mathias, Francis, Christian, Hyacinth, Walter, Richard, Ervan, Gabriel and our Pastor Father Callistus. Brother Sebastian of Hays also attended.

         A dinner for the clergy, visitors and parishioners was served in the school hall after the Mass. The women of the Parish served the dinner. A short program followed the dinner with William Baier as Master of Ceremonies. Visiting clergy were introduced, and congratulatory remarks were made by several of the visiting clergy. This day was long to be remembered by those who attended the festivities.

 

Golden Wedding Anniversaries 

       The first Golden Wedding to be celebrated in the parish took place on June, 1946. Mr. Mrs. Mortiz Baier, founders of the parish, celebrated their Golden Wedding in the church and parish they helped to organize. A Solemn High Mass opened the day’s program with the Very Rev.Provincial, Father Claude Vogel delivering the Jubilee sermon. A large number of clergy attended the Mass, and dinner was served for the clergy,family, relatives and friends in the K of C Hall at Victoria.

         Other families to observe their Golden Wedding Anniversary in the parish are: Mr. and Mrs. Bernard H. Munk, Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Kippes and Mr.and Mrs. Frank Rajewski.

         A number of families in the parish have also observed their Silver Wedding Anniversaries.

 

Rajewski Nuns Observe Anniversaries 

         Three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, founders of our parish, chose the religious life and became members of the Congregation of the Sisters of St.Joseph, Concordia, Kansas.

         Agnes, the eldest daughter entered the convent in August 1911 and is known as Sr. M. Hubert. In 1936 she celebrated her Silver Jubilee. In 1961 she observed her Golden Jubilee. Both occasions were celebrated in her home parish, St. Boniface Church. 

         Clara, the second oldest daughter entered the convent in early spring of 1921 and took the name of Sr. M. Alice Irene. In 1946 she returned to hernative parish to celebrate her Silver Anniversary.

         Mary, the youngest daughter and child of the Rajewski family entered the convent in 1925 and took the name of Sr. M. Alvarita. She celebrated herSilver Jubilee at Vincent in 1950. She died in July of 1956 at Salina, Kansas.

 

Parish Organists 

       Since the formation of the parish in 1907, ithas been fortunate in having the services of an organist. To date fiveparishioners have shared the honor and duty as organist of our parish.

         Agnes Rajewski, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, now Sr. M. Hubert,was the first organist of our parish and gave her services until she enteredthe convent in 1911.

         Mary Baier, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Mortiz Baier, and Clara Rajewski,daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rajewski, no Sr. M. Alice Irene became organists. Mary Baier played the organ for the High Masses and Clara the Vespers and Benediction. This continued until 1921, when Clara entered the convent, Mary, who married Joseph Rajewski in June of 1921, continued to play until May of 1922.

         Leo Rajewski then assumed the duties as organist and played until the end of the year of 1923.

         William Baier assumed the duties as organist of the parish on January 1, 1924, and has served continuously from that date. 

 

Unique Nativity Scene 

          For a number of years our Pastor has created a most unique Nativity scene in our church for the Christmas season. Not only the parish but the entire surrounding community has enjoyed viewing one of the most beautiful and truly Christmas Nativity scenes prepared by our Pastor, Father Callistus. There is perhaps none to be found that can compare in beauty, originality, design, and one that exemplifies the true purpose and meaning of Christmas, as the one that is to be found in our church t Christmas time. On this scene you can find a beautiful set of figures replicas of the Holy Family, the Wise Men and Shepherds, the sheep and other animals that could be found in the land where our Lord was born. There are the hills with their ledge of rock, the valleys where the shepherds are watching their flock of sheep, the streams and waterfalls, and the pine trees adorned with lights and ornaments, portray such an illustrious scene that cannot be justly described in words. The revolving color light that casts a variety of colors on the scene giving the effect of early morning light, the brightness of midday and the setting of the evening sun. The bright shining star of Bethlehem above the scene casting out its inviting rays of light, inviting all to come to see our Lord in the crib. In addition to all this you will find an unusual collection of stones, shells, and pieces of ore from nearly country and island of the world. They are arranged on the landscaping in a manner to display their beauty. Why the stones and shells we may ask? As this collection of stones and shells represent nearly all the lands of the earth, they represent the people of the world for whom Christ was born, lived, suffered and died, for the redemption of all mankind. This is what makes the scene so impressive and inspiring. 

         It has taken a number of years to make up this collection of stones. After it became known that Father Calllistus was interested in such a collection,friends, relatives, and others began collecting and sending rare and beautiful pieces of stone, ore or shells to him for his collection. Young men of our parish serving in the armed forces in foreign lands contributed towards this collection. Many were obtained by the pastor by writing to foreign missionaries for stones, etc., and through their cooperation the pastor has been able to make up this beautiful collection. It is no doubt one of the most unique collections to be found anywhere. Each stone and shell is labeled so that it can be fully identified as to its place of origin.

  

The Grotto 

       The late John Heger, a former parishioner,having great devotion to the Blessed

Virgin Mary, donated a statue of the Blessed Virgin in 1974, with a specific request that a grotto be built on a hill near Big Creek, and that this statue be placed therein. The site chosen is on the south bank of Big Creek one-half mile east of the church.

         The grotto is built of rock found in that vicinity. Stone steps lead from the base of the hill to the towering ledge where the grotto stands. Father Callistus, Joseph Rajewski and his two sons constructed the grotto.    Many visitors have visited the grotto since its erection.

         John Heger, a brother of the late Mrs. Walter Rajewski, came to this countrymany years ago and worked in this community for many years. He made hishome with the Rajewski family. He donated the greater part of his life’ssavings to the church and he will always be remembered by those who knew himfor his generosity.

         He spent his final years of his life in California. He was born at Gross Triebendorf, Austria. He died August 7, 1949, at San Jose,California, and is buried there.

  

Calvary Group 

         In 1948 the present Calvary Group was erected on the cemetery. It was one of the most beautiful groups to be found in any cemetery. John Heger donate dthe funds for the group. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rajewski, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rajewski and Mr. and Mrs. Leo Rajewski donated the funds for the base and altar on which the group rests.

         Men of the parish furnished the labor. Alfred Dreiling supervised the work and did the masonry work.

 

Disaster Strikes 

         For many years the parish did not experience any loss by fire or tornado. On December 6, 1962, a near disastrous fire threatened to destroy the church structure.

         Redecoration of the interior of the church was in progress and the work was in the final stages of completion to have it ready for Christmas. The new altars and the communion rail had just been installed, new flooring laid and the men were putting on the final coat of paint on the ceiling. All seemed well when they left for lunch, but when they returned about forty five minutes later, they found the church filled with smoke.    Edward F. Schulte, a painter and a member of the parish called the Victoria fire department for assistance.  While waiting for the fire department to arrive, the painters fought the fire, holding it in control with fire extinguishers and water hose. Members of the parish soon arrived to assist in extinguishing the fire. Other units from Hays answered the call bringing water chemicals. The fire was brought under control, however considerable damage was done to the south wall of the church where the fire started. The sanctuary floor, communion rail and front pews received the most damage. Other than smoke tarnishing the beautiful altars, the church interior and stained glass windows were spared further effects. The loss was covered by insurance and the final estimate was set at $3997.50 Work immediately began to repair the damage done and by Christmas most of the work was completed. Origin of the fire remains unknown. After all repair work was completed our little church known as the “Pearl of the Prairie” again stood in all its beauty and splendor. The parishioners never can be too thankful to the Lord for sparing our church from total destruction.

  

Survivors 

         It is of interest to find that since the parish was organized in 1907 to the present time that there are a number of the original parishioners still living. Records show that there are five of the original parishioners still residing in the Vincent community and the members of St. Boniface Church. A number of others reside in other areas and belong to other parishes.

 

          The five surviving parishioners are:

 Mr. and Mrs. Leo Rajewski,   Mr. & Mrs. Alfred A. Dreiling,  William Baier 

 

          Surviving parishioners living in other areas:

Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich H.Berens    (Founders),  Victoria, Kansas

Louis Berens, Collyer, Kansas

Mrs. Peter I.Weigel    (Foundress), Oakley, Kansas

Rose Weigel  (Mrs. John Windholz),  Walker, Kansas

Anna Weigel  (Mrs. Joseph Mader),  Oakley, Kansas

Mary Weigel  (Mrs. Bernard Mader), Oakley, Kansas

Frank Rajewski, Hays, Kansas

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rajewski, Hays, Kansas

Sr. M. Hubert Rajewski, Concordia, Kansas

Sr. M. Alice Irene Rajewski, Silver City, New Mexico

Philomena Rajewski   (Mrs. Joseph Haselhorst), Antonino, Kansas

Herman Huser, Omaha, Nebraska

Bernard Huser, Salina, Kansas

Elizabeth Huser   (Mrs. Oscar Roussea), Wichita, Kansas

Catherine Huser   (Mrs. Gabriel Brull), Hays, Kansas

Margaret Reichert  (Mrs. B. J.Schulte), Hays, Kansas

Anna Reichert    (Mrs. Frank Schippers), Victoria, Kansas

Odilla Reichert   (Mrs. Joseph Langlois), Monmouth, Illinois

Matilda Reichert   (Mrs. Louis Scheck), Loveland, Colorado

Andreas L.Braun, Victoria, Kansas

Wendelin L.Braun, Hays, Kansas

Catherine Braun   (Mrs. Anthony Denning, Victoria, Kansas

Mary Braun  (Mrs. Joseph Younger), Tribune, Kansas

Clara Braun  (Mrs. Isidore Binder), Hays, Kansas

Dreiling, Larned, Kansas

  

Parishioners Active in Community Organizations 

       Although all the parishioners are living on andoperating a farm , a number of them have contributed generously of their timeand effort to fraternal organizations farm programs and farm organizations,service on the local and high school boards and other boards and communityprojects.

         A large per cent of the men of the parish are members of the Knights of Columbus and many of the ladies members of the Daughters of Isabella. William Baier and Leo Rajewski and James Rajewski have served as Grand Knight of St. Fidelis Council at Victoria.

Likewise William Baier,Leo Rajewski and Herman Wellbrock have served terms of the Faithful Navigator of the Fourth Degree Assembly at Victoria. Others have held other offices and committee assignments. Mrs. Alfred Dreiling held the office of Regent for the Daughters of Isabella for several years. Other members have been very active in promoting the work of their organization. It can well be said that this community has always excelled in leadership.

  

         The parish can well feel proud of one of its former parishioners, Elmer Vonfeldt, who is the present editor of the Columbia, the monthly publication of the Knights of Columbus, which has the largest circulation of all Catholic publications of our country. Prior to this appointment he served as a reporter for the National Catholic Welfare Council, Washington, D.C.Headquarters for Mr. Vonfeldt is at the home office of the Knights of Columbus,New Haven, Conn.

          Members of the parish who served in World War One

 Name............................................................................................Branch of Service

Joseph Rajewski...................................................................Army 89th. Div. Inf. Co. K.

Nick Schmidtberger*............................................................ Army34th. Div. reg. Co. D.

Balthasar Vonfeldt*.......................................................... Army F.Remount sp. Co. 320

Peter G.Vonfeldt..............................................................................Army Med. Corps

Henry Huser*........................................................................Army Med Corps Base 23

Thomas A.Baier*..............................................................................Army Med Corps

Wendelin A.Dreiling*.......................... Army 10th.Div. 30th Mach Gun Bat. Camp Funston

Jake Bell*................................................................ Army 6th.Inf. Co. K Camp Funston

Joseph Lederhos*................................................... Army 3rd.Div. 7th. Inf.Co. L (Gassed)

 No casualties        * Deceased

 

         Young men from our parish who have served our Country in World War Two, Korean War, Army of Occupation, military training, and National Guard. 

PaulBaier           LloydKippes                LeRoy Schmidtberger          DelbertTruan

RoyBaier            VerlinLeiker                AlvinSchmidtberger           Arthur Vonfeldt

Victor Berens      Joseph Leiker               Virgil Schmidtberger           Robert D. VonLintel

LaVern Braun      Robert Leiker               Richard Schmidtberger        Allen D. VonLintel

Gerald Braun      FrederickMunk            AlbertStaab                     Gary VonLintel

WilbertDreiling    GilbertRajewski           AlbertSchulte                   Regis VonLintel

EarlHuser          Vern GeneRajewski       VirgilSchulte                    Roger VonLintel

JulianHuser        MarvinRajewski            GarySchulte                    Leroy Wellbrock

RoyKippes         DelandoRajewski          WilliamSmith                    Milton Wellbrock

EugeneKippes    Celestine Riedel             FrederickTholen               Wayne Wittman

 

         The parish can feel proud of the large number of its young men who haveanswered the call of duty to their country. With but a few exceptions,unless because of physical conditions, every young man took histraining. Several fought in battles on foreign lands to protect ourfreedom. The parish has been especially blessed through all the wars ofthe past 50 years that not a single one was seriously wounded or gave his lifefor his country. Pray that it will never happen.

 

Conclusion 

          It has been a most interesting and gratifyingexperience to write the history of our Parish. The years past have beenmarked with events that should be of special interest to the readers of thishistory. To the young generation it should be of specialinterest. May the readers receive as much enjoyment and knowledge as Imyself did recording the past events. I am pleased to make thiscontribution to our Parish, its members and friends.

         We can truthfully say that our Parish has been blessed with a pastor whohas devoted his life to our Parish and the spiritual welfare of eachmember. Accomplishments since 1929 are due to his leadership, guidance,understanding and patience. Too often we are apt to take them for granted,and often forget that to accomplish things as have been done in our parish

are due to leadership,as has been demonstrated to by our Pastor.

         We all owe him our prayers and words of thanks for his work. My specialthanks to him for his interest and cooperation in supplying needed data, andthe privilege of using the church records to obtain necessaryinformation. To all those whom I interviewed for information, my thanks.

 

 

Highlights of St. Boniface Parish - 1968-1997

 

Closing of Schools -  1970 

          The closing of the of the district grade schoolat Vincent in 1970 and transferring the students to Victoria, relieved Fr.Callistus of his Religious Education program here at St. Boniface. Fr.Callistus was also an instructor at St. Francis Seminary in Victoria at thetime of it’s closing the same year.

 

45th Anniversary of Fr.Callistus - 1971 

         On Sunday, June 20, 1971, Fr. Callistus celebrated his 45th. anniversary as apriest.

A concelebrated HighMass of Thanksgiving was offered in St. Boniface Church. A dinner for allpresent, former parishioners and friends was served in the school basementafter Mass.

 

50th Anniversary of Fr.Callistus - 1976 

         After spending 48 years so faithfully serving the parishioners of St. Boniface,Fr. Callistus celebrated his 50th. anniversary to the priesthood on June 10, 1976. Father privately celebrated his Golden Jubilee Mass with his parishioners and a few invited guests at Vincent.

Presiding at the Mass ofThanksgiving were Bishop Cyrill Vogel and Bishop Firmin Schmidt along with numerous other area priests. A dinner and reception for all was held atthe VFW Hall in Victoria.

 

Death of Fr. Callistus - 1980 

        Fr. Callistus had prayed that he would die among the people he had served most of his life. His prayers were answered on Sunday, April 13, 1980, just after celebrating Mass with his congregation at St. Boniface. Fr. Callistus had served as pastor of Vincent for more than 52 of his 54 years as a priest. Funeral services were held at St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, with Provincial Vincent Rohr and his Capuchin brothers concelebrating Mass with interment in St. Fidelis Cemetery. The Capuchin Friar has touched so many lives with his faithful devotion and gentle kindness,that a memorial in his name was established to help educate young men to the priesthood. Father Callistus would be pleased to know that he is remembered in this way, as he spent many years teaching the seminarians at St.Francis Seminary in Victroria.

 

Mission Parish - 1980 

          Following the death of Fr. Callistus, St.Boniface Church became a Mission Parish of St. Fidelis in Victoria,without a resident pastor and daily Mass. The children received their religious education and related activities in Victoria. The Parish liturgy, religious education, and family life Commissions all have worked in cooperation with St. Fidelis under their guidelines.

Each Commission memberhis representation and works under with the Victoria Parish to minister the various programs available to the Parish.  

 

80th Anniversary of Parish - 1987 

          St. Boniface Parish celebrated the 80th.anniversary of its founding on Sunday, December 20, 1987. Bishop George K. Fitzsimons graced the occasion by offering a concelebrated Mass with Fr. Gene Emrisek and other attending area Priests in the Vincent Church. A dinner in Victoria was served for all members and guests.

 

90th Anniversary of Parish - 1997 

          Bishop George K. Fitzsimons offered a Mass of Thanksgiving with concelebrants, Fr. Bernard Tomassetti and Fr. Felix Petrovsky, on Sunday, December 15,1977, in honor of 90 years of St. Bonifac eParish. After Mass a dinner and program was held in Victoria for all the attending clergy, parish members and guests.

 

Fr. Callistus’ “Crib” - 1980-1997 

         For 70 years members of St. Boniface have enjoyed the celebration of the Birth of Christ with a very special “Little Town of Bethlehem”. The Nativity display, which began as a labor of love for Father Callistus in 1927, is now a monument to his memory. Each Christmas season since his death in 1980,members of the Parish have reassembled the display as a tribute to it’s creator and as a memorial in his name for the education of Seminarians in the Capuchin Order. The church is open for visitors on Sunday afternoon during the Christmas season and all are welcome to view Fr. Callistus’ unique work of Art.

 

1997

         Over the last 90 years the community spirit has continued as the people have taken great pride in their Parish. The spiritual attributes have motivated the families to develop a bond that will hopefully last throughout the century,and the many years to come. May God grant us our wish.

 

Pastors Who Served St. Boniface Church - 1968-1997 

                  1929-1980   Rev. Callistus Rectenwald

                  1980-1981    Rev. Michael Scully, Rev. Bill Kraus. Rev. John Lager

                  1981-1983    Msgr. Francis Senecal

                  1983-1986    Rev. Gilmary Tallman, Rev. Clement Naef

                  1986-1991    Rev. Gene Emrisek

                  1991             Rev. Earl Befort

                  1991-1992    Rev. Greg Byer

                  1991-1993    Rev. David Gottschalk

                  1993-            Rev. Frank Grinko, Rev. Berard Tomassetti, Rev. Christian Fey

 

         Our Parish is especially thankful to the dedicated Priests and Sisters who have served us so faithfully over the years. Their loyalty, devotion, guidance,sacrifices and love for the parishioners can never be expressed in words. May God bless them all.

 

 

Highlights of St. Boniface Parish - 1997-2007

 

Cemetery Updated 2000-2005

          Cemetery improvements the past years included the marking of the cemetery plots with numbered cement markers in all four corners. New iron gates the front entrance were installed, plus a drive through gate for vehicles to enter. A chain link fence replacing the barbwire was added. The Calvary Group on the altar was repaired and repainted. All of the work was done by volunteers in their spare time.

  

Death of Fr. Christian - 2002

           Fr. Christian Fey, a former teacher and rector of St. Francis Seminary in Victoria, devoted most of his life to Capuchin seminaries and formation programs. He also was director of two Seminaries in Papua New Guinea for 15 years. Later in his career, he served various parishes in the area, including St. Boniface. His devotion and gentle kindness for our Parish and it’s members will never be forgotten!! May God bless Him!!


Death of Fr. Berard - 2003

          Fr. Berard Tomassetti’s life was rich in variety and long in patience. After three years with the U.S. Navy in New Guinea during World War II, he returned home and began his studies for the Capuchin priesthood. Following his ordination, he returned to New Guinea as a missionary for 34 years. After his return in 1989, he ministered to various parishes in the area, including St. Boniface. Father was concelebrant of our 90th anniversary Mass, along with Bishop Fitzsimmon. His loyalty and devotion for our Parish can never be expressed in words. May God Bless Him!!

 

Parish Improvements - 1998-2006

          Improvements to our parish by volunteer members over the last 10 were the drilling of a new water well, and the water and electrical lines were installed underground. A new septic system and plumbing was replaced for both houses. The propane tank was moved and the lines replaced. The outside of the church, rectory, garage and out buildings were repainted, and the rectory and garage shingled. Also, each spring a volunteer work day was scheduled to take care of minor repairs of the buildings and ground. Contracted labor this past year included the installation of a new air conditioning and heating system, plus new sidewalk improvements.

 

Christmas Memories

         As we approach the 100th. anniversary of our Parish, the community spirit has continued and our members have taken pride in our “Little Town of Bethelem” each Christmas season. Volunteers have spent many hours reassembling the display as a tribute to Fr. Callistus, it’s creator, and as a memorial in his mane for the education of Seminarians in the Capuchin Order.

After 80 years, visitors are still welcome after Sunday Mass and during the afternoons of the Christmas season to enjoy His work of art.

 

2007

     As we look forward to our official 100th.anniversary date of our Parish on December 18, 2007, may our parish members continue to work together and may they take a great pride in their Parish for many, many more years. On this centennial. Dedicated to St. Boniface, we pray that our Blessed Mother smile on her children in Vincent and keep us close to her Divine Son!

  

Pastors Who Served at St Boniface Church - 1997-2012 

          1997-2001     Rev. Fr. Frank Grinko, Rev. Fr. Berard Tomassetti, and

                                 Rev. Fr. Christian Fey

          2001-2001     Rev. Fr. Maris Goetz

          2001-2004      Rev. Fr. David Gottschalk

          2004-2007      Rev. Fr. Charles Polifka

          2007-2011      Rev.Fr. Michael Scully

          2011-               Rev.Fr. Jeffrey Ernst

          We offer our prayers and words of thanks to the dedicated Priests, Office Staff, & Laity who served us so faithfully these past 10 years. Their devotion, guidance, and love will always be remembered! May God bless them all!!