Sacred Heart & St. Stanislaus Catholic Churches

History

St. Stanislaus, the Cathedral
on the Prairie

St. Stanislaus, located in Warsaw, ND, is listed on the National Historic Register and has merited the nickname "The Cathedral on the Prairie" due to its extraordinary grandeur and breathtaking ability to point the Christian heavenward.

In the 1870s, Polish immigrants flooded the grassy wilderness of southeast Walsh County, staking claims, breaking and plowing land and seeding wheat, oats, potatoes and rutabagas.

Warsaw, first named Pulaski after the great Polish patriot and hero of the American Revolution, became the new home to these deeply religious Roman Catholics. Naturally concerned about Sunday worship, a priest named Father Considine was summoned to pastor the people of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church, the original name of St. Stanislaus.

By 1880, there were over 100 people in this area. Burials and baptisms were performed without a church building. Several immigrants dedicated time and funds to building a church and requesting official recognition from the diocese.

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Warsaw, ND

In the spring of 1883, Father Alexander Michanowski was assigned as the first resident priest. By 1886, the size of the parish doubled. Again in 1896, the parish greatly expanded. By May 1900, the current church building of St. Stanislaus was constructed. The parishioners were intent on making it one of the most beautiful churches in the state.

At the dedication of the new St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr church, over 50 area priests attended the impressive ceremony which Bishop John Shanley officiated.

The inside of the church was frescoed and painted in 1912. Over several years, numerous positive developments graced the Catholic Warsaw church including decor, necessary church items, a Catholic school and church committees.

Polish Pride

Being of Polish descent, the parishioners of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr church often celebrated and participated in many Polish customs including the Polish Millennium, the observance of Poland's 1,000 years of Christianity. On May 3, 1966, the present Archbishop of Prague, Joseph Cardinal Beran concelebrated the celebration Mass with 10 Polish and Czechoslovakian priests as well as three bishops. More than 800 people crowded the church for this monumental event. 

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Warsaw, ND

In 1976, St. Stanislaus parish erected a Bicentennial Pioneer Monument on the church grounds in conjuction with the national bicentennial. Alongside a special bicentennial flag, the 10-ton granite Bicentennial Pioneer Monument was unveiled in honor of the first pioneer Polish settlers in the Warsaw community. A state representative and Grafton's mayor gave the dedicatory speeches.

On October 22, 1978, the Polish community of Warsaw rejoiced in the election of a pope of their own beloved land. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II, who is now Blessed John Paul II. A celebration Mass was planned.

However, a smoldering fire, which started in an electrical junction box in the basement ceiling, destroyed several parts of the church. Despite the shock to parishioners and damage to the church, they decided to proceed with the celebration Mass.

Other Polish customs and holidays observed by St. Stanislaus include Corpus Christi. The pastor and altar boys lead a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to four temporary altars around the outside of the church. All Souls Day is also observed with a procession to the cemetery to pray the litany to All Saints.

On August 3, 1979, St. Stanislaus church was placed on the National Register of Historic places and a bronze plaque commemorating this event was unveiled, blessed and dedicated by the bishop.

On July 2, 2000, a standing-room-only crowd spilled down into the basement for St. Stanislaus' jubilee. Present and past parishioners from all over the country united in their beloved church in Warsaw.  Former students of St. Anthony's Convent and School run by the Sisters of the Resurrection were welcomed into the building to reminisce about their school days.

The parishioners celebrated with Mass and a dedication of a statue of the Blessed Mother and Christ Child, as well as a blessing of a time capsule. Over 900 people enjoyed the picnic following the activities. The day was rounded out by a performance by the Polish National Alliance (PNA) dancers, a Minneapolis clown act, a village parade and a community dance.

The Priests of St. Stanislaus 

1878-1882

1883-1886
1886-1888
1889-1890
1891-1893
1893-1895
1896-1905
1905-1910
1910-1911
1911-1926
1926-1959
1959-1971
1971-1975
1975-1976
1976-1994
1994-1997
1997-2005
2005-2016
2016-

Rev. Klement Grynolc and
Rev. John Considine
Rev. Alexander Michanowski
Rev. Damin Kolasinski
Rev. Stanislaus Tokarski
Rev. Mateusz Grochowski
Rev. Roman Wawrzykowski
Rev. Francis Gawlowicz
Rev. Boleslaus Waldowski
Rev. W. St. Majer
Rev. Theodore Kupka
Monsignor John Maluski
Monsignor Petr Lekavy
Rev. Michael McNamee
Rev. Francis Kuttner, S.A.C.
Rev. Stanislaus Duda
Rev. Joseph Gregory
Rev. Damian Hils
Rev. John Kleinschmidt 
Rev. Brian Moen

The Sisters of the Resurrection, St. Gianna's Maternity Home and the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate

A religious order founded in Rome, the Sisters of the Resurrection from Chicago, Illinois, were welcomed to the Diocese of Fargo in 1918. Bishop James O'Reilly selected Warsaw as a suitable location for the sisters to reside. The sisters immediately began the construction of St. Anthony School and Convent which opened in 1921. In 1961 the school was renamed the St. Stanislaus Parochial School. However, in 1971 the school was closed due to low attendance.

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Warsaw, North Dakota

The building currently serves the community as St. Gianna's Maternity Home in honor of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. The first resident was welcomed in 2003.  The maternity home serves the Body of Christ as a pro-life home of formation for pregnant women and their children. The home offers a place for peaceful reflection and redirection as a woman determines a plan for herself and her baby.

St. Gianna's provides women with access to medical, educational and professional services. The home has a spiritual environment with women of all faiths welcome.

For more information, visit www.saintgiannahome.org.

On May 31, 2011, a new Franciscan Religious Community called Franciscans of Mary Immaculate was founded and is based in Warsaw, ND, under the auspices of Most Reverend John T. Folda, Bishop of the Diocese of Fargo, ND. The men profess the Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience and strive to live a life of simplicity, humility and penance for God’s glory, for their own conversion and holiness and for the sake of the personal holiness of the whole world.

Fr. Joseph Christensen
Established FMI and serves as chaplain for St. Gianna's Maternity Home in Warsaw

The community is dedicated to Jesus through the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the teachings and writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest, Franciscan Friar and Martyr for love of neighbor in Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

Their Apostolates include the Secular 3rd Order, preaching parish missions, retreats, youth JMI Summer Camps, media evangelization, and pro-life work particularly with the Saint Gianna Maternity Home. 

On August 14, 2016, Candidate Justin Reineke was received as a Novice, being vested in the Franciscan garb (habit) and taking the name, Brother Francis. We are so excited to have him in formation and edified by his dedication to the spirit of Saint Francis, his name sake. He will profess his First Temporary Vows on August 15, 2017. Please pray for Brother Francis and also for more vocations to our Community.

Please feel free to contact the community or visit. They would love to hear from you and pray for you!

For more information about the order, visit www.fmifriars.com.

Serving Jesus' Sacred Heart 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Minto, North Dakota

As early as the 1870s, the faith and spirit of settlers stemmed from the religious life of the Old World, and the devout worshipers pursued Catholic community life. After several years of traveling to Warsaw for Mass, the Polish Catholics wanted to establish their own church in Minto.

On April 28, 1903, the Polish Catholics acquired an old Baptist church in Minto. Sacred Heart Catholic Church was founded in 1905. By 1912, the structure was far too small for the congregation, so a noble brick building was erected in the Byzantine style.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Minto, North Dakota

A few years after construction, the church was gutted by a fire that started in the tower. A few items were removed undamaged including the pews that remain almost one hundred years later. Rebuilding commenced immediately, and the same church has stood since 1916.

In 1941, Sacred Heart parishioners were active in several societies called the Holy Rosary, the Holy Name Society, the Order of St. Francis, as well as two choirs.

In 1956, the parishioners of Sacred Heart church celebrated the diamond jubilee of their Catholic community. It was a day of triumph for Sacred Heart parish, many of whose founders were among those who braved the unknown dangers of the pioneer years.

The following year in 1957, the parishes of Sacred Heart and St. Patrick's were consolidated due to a lack of priests in the diocese. To this day, Sacred Heart church is the only Catholic church in Minto.

To symbolize their unity in the new parish, the Irish and the Polish of Minto placed statues of their national patrons inside of the church. St. Patrick and St. Stanislaus statues represent the Irish and Polish respectively.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Minto, North Dakota
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Minto, North Dakota

In 1988, the church steeples were repaired.

Sacred Heart church celebrated its centennial in 2005.
 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Minto, North Dakota

Since July 16, 2005, Sacred Heart houses one of the few Adoration Chapels in small town North Dakota. Christians are welcome to adore our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar seven days a week from noon to midnight. Our Good Shepherd waits to shower His people with graces through His Divine Presence, body, blood, soul and divinity. The parishioners of Sacred Heart and surrounding Catholic churches have adored Jesus for tens of thousands of hours in over six years. Visit the Adoration Chapel page.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Minto, North Dakota

In the early 1970s, Sacred Heart church's interior was painted white. In 2007, extensive renovation transformed the inside of the church. The church was rewired and repaired. Along with painting and stenciling, a mural of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was added to the sanctuary above the high altar. A new baptismal font, pulpit and Altar of Sacrifice were constructed to match the altars that had been acquired from St. John the Baptist church in Ardoch after its closing.

Sacred Heart's 100-year old pews were restained and varnished to their original beauty.

Sacred Heart before the 2007 renovation

During the 2007 renovation 

After the 2007 renovation of Sacred Heart

Handcrafted in Bethlehem, an intricately carved olive wood statue of the Holy Family was welcomed into Sacred Heart church in 2011. Fifty-eight Christian families in Bethlehem support their families financially by selling several different types of olive wood statues. Some of the olive wood trees are 100 years old or older. The shrine was erected to give hope, guidance and devotion to a renewal of marriage and family life as we strive for holiness in a culture of death.

The Priests of Sacred Heart

1905-1906
1906-1908
1908-1909
1909-1910
1910-1917
1917-1922
1922-1923
1923-1940
1940-1957
1957-1966
1967-1988
1988-2002
2002-2004
2004-2016
2016-

Rev. Joseph Karpinski
Rev. Wenceslaus Krzywonos
Rev. Vincent S. Mayer
Rev. Theodore Kupka
Rev. Stanislaus W. Majer
Rev. Francis Olzewski
Rev. Stephen Bryalski
Rev. Francis J. Slominski
Rev. John J. Stempel
Rev. Hilarion J. Mikalofsky
Rev. Antonio J. Richard
Rev. Feliks Lubas
Rev. Timothy Schroeder
Rev. John Kleinschmidt
Rev. Brian Moen

The Diocese of Fargo

Our two dynamic parishes, both over 100 years old, have striven to teach and uphold the Catholic faith for several generations. St. Stanislaus and Sacred Heart serve under the service of apostolic administrator Most Rev. David Kagan, the bishop of the Bismarck Diocese. The appointment follows the Most Rev. Samuel Aquila being named archbishop of the Denver Archdiocese. During this interim time, Bishop Kagan has been entrusted with the authority of the diocesan bishop to teach, sanctify and lead Catholics residing within Eastern North Dakota. The diocese, established in 1889, comprises 30 counties over more than 35,000 square miles in the eastern half of North Dakota.

The roots of the Catholic Church of Fargo reach back to the early 1800s when missionary priests from Canada served the people of the Pembina area in the northeastern part of the diocese. In 1879, the Vicariate of Dakota was established.

The Dakota Territory was divided into North and South Dakota and in 1889, the Catholic Church, recognizing the new political boundaries, created the dioceses of Jamestown and Sioux Falls out of the Vicariate of Dakota. At the age of 37, Father John Shanley was named the first bishop of the Diocese of Jamestown.

In August of 1891, Bishop Shanley decided to move the Episcopal see city to Fargo. He made plans and began construction on a cathedral. A fire that devastated downtown Fargo in 1893 halted construction for six years. St. Mary's Cathedral was finally completed and dedicated on Sunday, May 30, 1899. (Beyond Red River by Father Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B.) Today, the Diocese of Fargo has a Catholic population of over 85,000 people out of a total North Dakota population of over 377,ooo.