St. Wenceslaus celebration ends Sunday

This weekend is the official birthday celebration of St. Wenceslaus parish, although many special activities throughout the month have led up to this 150-year observance.

The parish began when Anton Philipp, New Prague's founding father, donated 40 acres of land for a church in September 1857. A log chapel on that site was completed in 1858.

In 1863, the log church accidently burned down. Work began on the second church in 1866. Constructed of brick and stone, it was completed in 1868. From 1880 to 1884, the church building was enlarged, and wings were added.

The parish continued to prosper and grow, along with the city itself.

In 1904, the decision was made to build a larger church. Construction began in 1906. The present-day building was completed in 1907.

The first Mass was celebrated in the current church on July 7, 1907.

St. Wenceslaus Parish is the oldest Czech parish in Minnesota, with a current membership of 1,100 to 1,400 households.

This year's celebration

The entire month of September was set aside to observe the century and a half history of the local Catholic parish. With open houses, special music, tours, displays and dedications already held, this final weekend - Saturday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30 - will be the culmination of the celebration.

St. Wenceslaus church choirs will be featured at all Masses, which will be followed by donuts served in the Parish Activity Center.

A short program will be conducted, with the Happy Birthday! song sung in Czech, German and English. The winner of Father Kevin Clinton's grandfather clock raffle will be drawn, and a 150-year student documentary will be presented.

A display of the present and future of the parish can be seen in the Parish Activity Center both Saturday and Sunday.

The newly released 150-year anniversary history book of the parish will also be sold throughout the weekend.

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