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Smith, Mariam / The history of Omro

St. Mary Catholic Church,   pp. 64-65

Page 64

     The most distinguished window over the altar was given by 
Mrs. Hiram Webster. Later this window was removed when Clayton 
Stearig      -tTe church building to remodel into a home, and 
he presented it to the First Presbyterian church of Omro' 
                            ST. MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH 
     St. Mary's Catholic church history was researched and written 
by Ethel Bishop as follows: 
     Many families of the Catholic faith who had fled the potato 
famine in Ireland and others from eastern states who came to this 
new state of Wisconsin became pioneer farmers and small tradesmen. 
At first whenever an area priest could come to celebrate Mass 
neighboring Catholic families met at their private homes. Before 
long they petitioned for a centrally located church large enough 
for their growing nunmber of worshippers. 
      So it was in 1867 that the Milwaukee Diocese erected their 
present ediface, St. Mary's Church of Omro.   Without a rectory for 
a resident priest our Catholic church was assigned as a Mission 
parish of Poygan St. Thomas Church when their rectory was built in 
     Their resident priests then came to St. Marys to celebrate 
Masses on alternate Sunday afternoons. Five of these priests pre- 
ceded Father Honeyirian who was assigned elsewhere in 1884. That 
same year our St. Mary's Church was transferred to Winneconne as 
a Mission Parish when FatherHolzknecht became their new resident 
priest in a remodeled homae rectory. 
     However, late in 1886 when Father Gallagher became Poygan's 
resident priest our St. Mary's church again became a Poygan Mission 
parish. Father Gallagher was succeeded by four other resident 
priests, Fathers Kelleher, Tully, Linder and Luby, who all contin- 
ued to serve the Omro church. 
      In 1905 the Bishop of the Milwaukee Diocese announced a 
welcome transfer of the Qtaro St. Mary's church property to the 
Green Bay Diocese.   In 1906, after Father. Luby came to Poygan and 
their church denied his request for a new rectory, he was re- 
assigned to Winneconne St. Mary's and the Poygan St. Thomas, and Omro 
churches became Mission parishes of the Winneconne Catholic Church 
until a petition by regretful Poygan parishioners was granted by 
their Bishop to construct a new modern rectory.    Father Husslein 
was sent in 1916 to supervise construction and become their resi- 
dent pastor. 
      That same year 1918 when Fat~her LJu1hy left Winneconne to enter 
World War I as a chaplain, he was replac~ed by a former army chap- 
lain, Father William Grace . When he was reassigned, Father Victor 
Kaudy came to Winneconne where he remained until 1949 and served 
both Winneconne St. Mary' s Church and Omaro St. Mary,'s Church. 
      About 1935 the bishop of Green Bay Diocese approved a re- 
 modeling committee to make changes and repairs at the Otaro church. 
     And then 1947 marked a great milestone in 0mnro's St. Mary's 
when the Bishop announced that this church would now beco'i-e a 
resident m~rls~o 

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