Bring your own writing utensil, and maybe a tweezer.
How do you figure the history of a pioneer parish like St Stephen's ? The first mass in the new church was on the Feast of St Stephen, September 2, 1900, or do you start when the first mass was read in the area in 1894 at the Stefan Kilzer home ? Practically all of these parishoners came from Banat in Austria-Hungary, speaking only the German language. In the 1890's, 23 familiies grouped together to form a parish and build a church. They built this church of native rock which was the cheapest material available but by far not the easiest to bring together. Until Assumption Abby got started, this parish was served by missionary priests, who traveled from one mission to another. The Abby started in 1904 and priests would come every 2 weeks. In the latter 1920's, the parish was assured of a resident priest if they could build a rectory. In 1928 the rectory was built with Fr. Othmar Steinhart starting to pray the mass on a weekly basis. As the years passed, the old St Stephen's church was bursting at the seams and a new church (the present church_) was built. The first mass was said, on September 24, 1952. The church continues it weekly mass schedule. The latest generation of parishoners have worked diligently to continue with upgrades, and the maintneance of a beautiful cemetery, thus honring their ancestors. My husband's family were founding members of this parish and we attend mass there, whenever we are in the area.
Enjoy the gorgeous Crucifix that stands proudly in the center of the cemetery.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENTER THE CHURCH, AND PLEASE SHOW RESPECT FOR THE AREA BY NOT LEAVING ANY LITTER.