Cashton's Sacred Heart turning 100
History will be made this Sunday when the Sacred Heart Catholic Church parish celebrates it’s centennial.
The Cashton church, located on the east end of Hwy. 33, will host a centennial mass at 10 a.m. Sunday featuring La Crosse Diocese Bishop William Callahan, followed by a celebration feast that is open to the public and then a program at 2 p.m. that afternoon that will include music and song, history from local speakers, opening of a 98-year-old time capsule and placement of a future time capsule.
The parish has been planning the celebration since last October, according to Norma Jean Miller, who is one of eight organizers that also includes her husband, Levi. Others include Dale and Dorthea Von Ruden, Jack and Pat Herricks and Steve and Debbie Mashak-Hunt. “It’s a full day,” said Miller, pointing out they wanted it to be a memorable time for the 260 families who are members of the parish.
Miller said she hopes one of the highlights is a Parish Council for Catholic Women served luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. that day in the first floor fellowship hall which is open to anyone, including residents from outside the parish. It will feature meatballs and ham.
She said about 400 letters were sent out to former parishioners, clergy and nuns who served in the parish and they’re planning for 450 guests for the meal alone.
There will be a tent placed outside the church where people can gather to reminisce and visit with friends. The program is planned inside the tent, along with entertainment provided by local musician and parish member Pat Brueggen.
Fr. Michael Klos, who has been the pastor of the church for the past six years, said the group has done a great job of planning the celebration, which includes a centennial history booklet compiled over several years by Michael Hansen and his daughter, Lindeay. “We are proud of what the parish has done,” he said.
Officials are hoping former parishioners and families show for the event, noting many went to school together and the event could serve as a reunion of sorts. Miller said Fr. Eugene Wolf, a former area resident who is now retired and a senior priest in La Crosse, is planning to attend along with Sisters Carolyn and Michelle, both former teachers in Sacred Heart of Jesus School, which will also be open that day. “That’s who we’ve heard from so far,” she said Thursday,
Rev. Clos said he has no idea what they may unveil in opening the time capsule but said he doesn’t plan to “worry about the next 100 years.” The priest said he’s not even sure yet what will go into the new time capsule to be buried that day. He said a committee will make that decision, noting likely a copy of the centennial history book, a school annual, organic seeds and other “items that reflect life in our parish” will be placed in the capsule.
The parish was formed in 1916 but it wasn’t until 1920 when the church was erected. It is part of a three parish network that includes 165 families in the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish at St. Mary’s Ridge as well as 60 families who are members of the St. Augustine of Hippo Parrish in Norwalk.
Fr. Klos says mass at all three parishes, along with his duties as principal of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Cashton, which has an enrollment of 44 from four year olds to eighth grade students.
The church remodeled in 2010, building an extension onto the front of the church, yet keeping the former entrance to the church in tact, restoring it and building around it a “NorthX” entrance area that greets guests and parishioners with a restored Sacred Heart of Jesus statue. A three-story elevator was also added and the entire fellowship hall was remodeled including adding restrooms and storage space, all at a cost of about $800,000. (Watch for more on the history of the parish in Thursday’s Herald).
Miller said the celebration is open to anyone of any faith and says she knows many parishioners looking forward to seeing old friends. “It’s a great time for our parish,” she said.