Church: Neillsville - St. Mary’s Catholic (1906)
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----Source: NEILLSVILLE TIMES (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 02/01/1906

Church: Neillsville - St. Mary’s Catholic (1906)

The establishment of St. Mary’s Parish, Neillsville, Clark Co., Wis., dates back to the year 1876, when a little log church was erected. The Catholic population then number about a dozen families, who were then attended by missionary priests at regular intervals.

In 1878 the present church was erected and St. Mary’s became a mission attached to St. Joseph’s Parish, of Fairview (near Humbird). Until 1885 services were conducted by priests residing at Fairview. Their names are Rev. H. Heiss, Rev. L. Spitzelberger, Rev. Bergmann and Rev. Jos. Volz.

In the year 1884 the parsonage was erected and Rev. Volz, who had visited Neillsville for the past six years became the first resident pastor.

Among the notable events of the Rev. J. Volz’s pastorate are to be mentioned: the founding of the parochial school, 1887, the improvement on the church buildings and successful liquidation of the debts incurred by the extensive building and improving operations. Those buildings tel of his enduring zeal. Their brick are no more numerous, their foundations no more firm than were his acts of self-sacrifice and deeds of love, which remain as guardian spirits might to further the work and secure the power of his character and life. He had many friends outside the church as well as among his fellows of faith. After a service of 18 years he left in 1897 to take charge of St. Joseph’s Church, Menomonie, Wis.

He was succeeded by Rev. A. Joerrers, Rev. A. Birsner, Rev. C. Youngblut and Rev. J. L. Hauck, the present rector since 1902. The latter was born at Cresco, Iowa, 1877. After passing the graded schools of his town he went to Mankato, Minn., where in 1892 he graduated from the high school. In 1896 he graduated from Lawrence College, Mt. Calvary, in science and language courses. In 1898 he completed the study of philosophy and was honored with the A. B., and in 1901 he was ordained priest at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wis., for the La Crosse diocese. His first appointment was to Sacred Heart Parish, Superior, whence the bishop called him to St. Mary’s Parish, which then happened to be on the spiritual and financial toboggan.

St. Mary’s Parish numbers 160 families and the old church is too inadequate to contain all, hence the congregation is planning to erect in the enar future a large church of firm dimensions and architectural beauty.