Holy Trinity Church – History

People of the Czech descent left their homeland to seek prosperity in America. In the spring of 1896, the first Czech Catholic bought land and settled in Haugen. The Vinopal family were the first Czech Catholic family who bought land and settled in Haugen, in the spring of 1896. In May of 1897, the Reverend Xavier Till celebrated the first mass in Haugen at the home of Mr. Joseph Vinopal. It was that same month that the bishop gave permission to build a church. Local real-estate dealer, Mr. Rozholt, donated three acres of property for church purposes. When the church was finished, a celebration was held on the Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity in the year of 1901. During this time on June 29th, 1899, Articles of Incorporation were signed and filed.

In 1907 the Altar Society was founded to take charge of the needs pertaining to the services of God. The first parish picnic was held that July with the Altar Society preparing a tasty dinner. Not only did the affair contribute to financial success, but also to the community spirit of the parish, and thus initiated the still famous and delicious Holy Trinity church dinners.

On April 30, 1912, the parish purchased 13 acres of land situated on the edge of town on the banks of Bear Lake. Reverend Joseph Hynek, who was appointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Pribram, twenty two miles away, came to Haugen every second Sunday to administer to the people. Later, after Reverend Hynek had horses he came out every Sunday. Two years later, Reverend Hynek had to resign due to failing eye-sight. The parish therefore remained orphaned for a short time.

It was in June 1914, that Father Adalbert Janda was appointed as the first resident pastor of Holy Trinity. However, a year later, he was recalled to Chicago. A few months later, Reverend Damian Kvitek (who served for seven years) was appointed as pastor of Haugen. In the year 1917, the enlargement of the church was decided upon. The church was remodeled in such a fashion that a future addition of 32 feet long and 45 feet wide was possible. In the basement was installed a furnace, a coal bin, kitchen and refectory.

A cemetery was needed. Mr. Rozholt, the local real-estate man, was asked to donate some land for this purpose and he willingly gave three acres. Since there were neighborhoods of various beliefs other than Catholic, both sides met and agreed that the three acres should be divided equally. Holy Trinity had seem many of her native sons serve in the armed forces and are buried in this cemetery. Graves are marked with a standard into which a new flag is placed every Memorial Day by American Legion members. Also on Memorial Day a contingent of war veterans visits the cemetery to honor these dead. In an impressive ceremony the firing squad presents arms and fires a three-round gun salute followed by “Taps.”

After an affirmative 46 to 13 votes, and funding was raised, construction of a parish school begin. The finished school was blessed on August 14, 1927 with classes beginning that fall.

The present church building was constructed in 1950 under the direction of Father Benedict Bauer. The façade and bell tower are constructed of Indiana limestone, with the remainder of brick, matching the brick of the school. Interior wood trim is of oak. The front of the church showcases a large glass block 20 x 14 foot window, which is divided by a large white stone cross. The church was blessed on July 26, 1951 by Bishop Meyer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the blessing of the first church as well as celebrating the 25th anniversary of the school.

The pride of the Holy Trinity congregation is the Christ of Lympias Corpus crucifix. On their way home from the Holy Year Pilgrimage, Father Bauer and Father Hodik visited Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany, where they located wood carver, Xavior Hochenlichter. They ordered a life-size crucifix, to be carved from a single block of seasoned linden. After a year, in July 1951, the crucifix arrived by boat at Superior, Wisconsin. The crucifix was a gift to the parish from Father James Hodik, a friend of Father Bauer’s. The Holy Trinity Cross to which the Crucifix is fastened was made by Laddie Snobl and donated by the Ausha family.

The Pieta statue is a copy of the original of Michelangelo’s Pieta in Rome. Made of marble, it was the most important work of his youth. Holy Trinity’s copy, which was imported from Italy, is carved from wood and was donated in 1955 by Mrs. Joseph Shanka, Dwight, Nebraska. Pieta means “pity” and shows Mary as she cradles the dead Jesus after crucifixion.

An informal “pew club” was formed in which to purchase new pews. The estimated cost of each pew was $125. Funds were solicited in amounts of $125. Dr. I.L. James, local veterinarian, was in favor of the proposal and gave for the first pew. Matt Konop and Edward Kinnick Sr., took care of the solicitations. Donations for eight pews were secured that day. Shortly after, the contributions for all forty pews needed had been collected.

A set of resonant church bells were installed in the sixty foot bell tower in 1956. The bells were cast in Holland and weigh one ton. The largest bell weighs eleven hundred pounds, the center bell weighs six hundred forty pounds, and the smallest bell weighs three hundred ten pounds. Their musical notes are A, C and E natural. They were donated by the parishioners, Altar and Rosary Society and Holy Name Society. On a clear day, they can still be heard as far away as Sarona and Long Lake.

In 1967, after 25 years of dedicated and faithful service to the parish, Father Bauer retired due to illness. After a couple of short-term pastors, Father Brendan Kunda was appointed as pastor not only of Holy Trinity Parish in Haugen, but also that of our Lady of Lourdes in Dobie. Under his leadership, the parish flourished and the school was a steadfast standard of Catholic education. By 1979, pastoral residency was a Dobie. Again, after a few short-term pastors and continued shortage of priests, Father Allan Bradley led the parish in church ministry. Father Al served for eleven years, to be followed by Father James Imse.

On August 14, 1977, the Reverend George Hammes celebrated the 50th anniversary of the school. After sixty two years of teaching, the school doors closed in 1989 due to declining enrollment. The sister’s house was torn down and the rectory was dedicated to Bishop Hammes. It is now known as the Bishop Hammes Center for Religious Education.

In November of 1988, a stain-glass window, donated by Francis and Gloria Bednar and Dick and Dee Prince was add to the church.

On, July 1, 2014, a new cluster was formed. This cluster included Holy Trinity, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph, in Rice Lake.  Masses continue to be held at all four churches, with the cluster parish office being at 111 West Marshall Street in Rice Lake.