Since there was no Catholic parish in Stuart during the early years of its growth, those who wished to go to Mass and receive the sacraments probably had to travel to O’Neill, NE, where Father John T. Smith was the pastor, or Father John would visit the surrounding areas and minister to them.
It wasn’t until 1890 that
the Catholic settlers purchased their first real estate, an old District #44
public school building, which served as a place of worship for several
years. With the help of Father Emil Klemenz of Atkinson, the Stuart Catholics built their first
frame church in 1896. It had a seating
capacity of 168 and cost approximately $2,400.
It was located near the present pastor’s garage. St. Boniface officially became a mission of
Three years later, in 1899,
Bishop Scannell of the
As the parish continued to grow, a small school was organized in 1904 under the direction of Father Brietkopf and a group of Catholic families. It became established as a parochial school, supported by the entire parish in 1907, and has remained as such to this very day.
Father Julies Heffwer was appointed as the third parish priest and began an ambitious expansion program. Under his guidance, the rectory was remodeled and the building of the present day church was begun in 1911.
When completed, St. Boniface Church became the tallest building in Stuart which included a clock tower, church bells, beautiful stained glass windows and a large pipe organ. It was truly a place of worship dedicated to Almighty God.
Throughout the years, the parishioners have continued to make the necessary repairs to keep St. Boniface a beautiful edifice. 2001 was no exception. The church interior was completely refurbished and finished by August. The vestibule project began in September of 2001 which included an enclosed entryway with handicap facilities. This project was completed in August of 2002.
In June 2004, it was announced
that St. Boniface and
St. Boniface Church has been blessed with many dedicated parishioners and parish priests. St. Boniface has been a place of worship since 1896 and continues to serve the spiritual needs of over 200 families and households.
enrollment went down,
From 2008 – 2009 Little Sprouts Preschool was held at the school, taught by Jan Kunz.
In the fall of 2009 the Stuart Public School rented a room in the St. Boniface School and now has a pre-school for 3 and 4 year old children at the facility. Thus, the building is still being used as a school for children as our parish founders intended.
Also during 2009, a number of smaller repairs were done to the parish building to keep our buildings in good repair.
Renovation of the choir loft was completed in 2011.
In August of 2011 – we held our 100 year Celebration of the dedication of St. Boniface Church. In honor of this occasion we sold t-shirts/polo’s, coasters, and had a parish directory made. We held monthly basket raffles to help with the fundraising. Archbishop George J. Lucas celebrated Mass that day followed by a parish dinner. Former pastors attending were Rev. Francis Kubart and Rev. Doug Scheinost. Many enjoyed reminiscing and looking at old photographs.
continues to serve the people of Stuart and also invites the