|The congregation of St. Bridget's
Parish Hall in Stanton will gather for the last time Sunday
afternoon (September 15, 2002) as the church prepares to
close its doors after 125 years.
Sunday's mass, which will be given by
Father Joseph Trinka, will mark the end of services at the
church, and a pot luck luncheon that follows will be the last
time the congregation gathers.
The building will be closed
immediately after the gathering, and the congregation will go
their separate ways.
Jim Cody, a trustee on the church board and
member for the past 75 years, said the decision to close the
church was a hard one to make.
"It was a community decision. We've
run out of members and we have very few families left,"
explained Cody, who lives just east of New Richmond. "We used
to have a church full and we had a choir full, but now..."
At one time 50-60 families attended
the church. But now only 20 or so families remain active in
the parish. Average age of the remaining members is about 50.
"We don't have any young people in
our church at all," Cody said. "There are so many different
types of congregations now. We just don't have enough members
anymore to be able to pay the bills."
Members of the congregation are
expected to split up - some are planning to attend St. John's
Catholic Church in Clear Lake, while others say they will
attend services in New Richmond.
Father Trinka, who has been splitting
his time between St. John's and St. Bridget's, will continue
to serve the Clear Lake congregation until he retires.
Members of the church say they will
always have their memories.
"My wife (Arliss) and I were married
in that church 50 years ago and I have three generations of
family buried in the cemetery.
|Officials said the cemetery, located adjacent
to the church, will continue to be operated through donations
and volunteer work.
"Most of the people buried there are
Irish immigrants and there are lots of entire families there,
so hopefully we can keep it going," Cody explained.
Sunday's mass will begin at 2 p.m. at
the church, followed by the pot luck luncheon. The church is
located at 2245 County Road T.
Church parish hall to be
Members of the congregation have decided to donate or give
away the former St. Bridget's church building and all of its
Cody said the building must be moved
in order to make way for a special landmark, which will be
created at the spot where the church once sat.
"The inside of the building is
beautiful and we hope to put it to good use for another
congregation," Cody said. "And it's also expensive to tear it
The parish hall, located next to the
church, has been offered to the Town of Stanton for use as a
possible community center or banquet hall.
Members of the Town Board are
expected to decide tonight whether or not they would like to
assume ownership of it," Cody said. "The parish hall doesn't
have to be moved. It can sit on the property."
Members of the congregation said they
do not know what will happen to the buildings if they aren't
Persons interested in "adopting" the
old building can contact Cody at 715-246-3256.