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St. Barbara's dedication

The following article was prepared by Donna Rae Eilts as taken from The Minonk News - September 21, 1900.
Polish Church Dedicated
Vast Audience Present
Special Train From LaSalle, Peru and other Points - - A Complete Description of the Interesting Proceedings

St. Barbara church, Polish, of our city, was formally dedicated Sunday. It was an elaborate affair and drew a vast throne of visitors from the neighboring cities and villages. The fact that the dedication was to take place was generally known, but hardly anyone thought of it as anything of great importance.

The above picture was taken in front of the parish house at 829 Washington Street. This house is still standing today at the same address.

At three o'clock in the afternoon a line of march was formed at the church and headed by the Flanagan band, marched to the Illinois Central Depot to meet a special train, which was to come from LaSalle. In the line, headed by Marshal John Vetoski, were the Koschoska or National Polish Society; the Crestochoska, or St. Mary's Society; the Catholic Forresters of St. Isadore's Court No. 922; and several societies composed of young ladies of the church. There were banners and flags, both Polish and American, white dresses, and imposing uniforms to add to the picturesqueness of the thing. When the band discoursed its music the local population began turning out. Soon the streets were crowded and probably two thousand people were there to meet the incoming train.

"Special Train Brings Visitors"

At half past three the special train arrived, composed of eleven coaches and a baggage car. Each coach was jammed and even the steps were crowded with incoming delegations. Over 1,200 tickets were purchased at LaSalle and various towns along the line, but a few had been left behind. As the visitors poured out of the coaches, they formed in line, led by the Twin City and Rutland bands. They too had their banners and wore uniforms and swords and other badges of their orders, which added dignity and impressiveness to the general body.

With some fifteen or sixteen hundred in line they marched to the parsonage of St. Patrick's to meet and be reviewed by Bishop J. L. Spaulding of Peoria, and Father Isidore.

"Dedication Ceremonies At Church"

It was a magnificent turnout. The silken flags of stars and stripes flapped in the breeze side by side with the three stripes of red, white, and blue, the Polish national emblem of liberty and justice. The march was then made through town to the new Polish church in the north part of the city. Here the ranks opened and Bishop Spaulding drove through, greeted with bared heads and dignified miens on all sides. Across the street, in front of the church, was stretched a huge banner upon which was inscribed in Polish:

"Witamy Was Bracia" (Welcome Our Brothers)

Over the church was a cross of evergreens and roses from which hung graceful draperies of the same material and terminating with wreaths on either side. High up above the church steeple were the ever-present emblems of American and Polish freedom, whipping their folds in the stiff, chilly breeze of the north.

Only a few of those present could enter the church and so that all could have a chance to view the ceremonies the services were conducted outside of the platform instead of inside the church.

Bishop Spaulding, dressed in the garb of purple and lace of his eminent position in the church, and aided by assistants in their priestly robes, marched around the church building sprinkling Holy Water on all sides and uttering words of Benediction. Returning to the platform, or temporized altar the Bishop delivered a short address of congratulation and advice. He spoke of the condition of this, his diocese, when he first took charge, twenty-three years ago, and the marvelous growth it had experienced both spiritually and materially during that time. He advised the members of the church to live in sobriety and frugality so as to be both good citizens and loyal members of the church.

Bishop Spaulding; was followed by Father Dr. Skulik of LaSalle, who delivered an eloquent and lengthy address in the Polish language. After this the regular vesper service was sung, in the church. In the evening supper was served by the ladies of the church at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Knoll and the proceeds were turned over for the benefit of the church.

Brief History of Church

The history of the new Polish church dates from the beginning of this year. The Methodist church building was purchased and moved to its present site in the first ward. It was remodeled and improved and our Polish citizens may now well feel proud of their church demesne and its vicinage. Father L. Bobkiewiez, the priest, is full of energy and loyalty to his religion and will undoubtedly cause his congregation of seventy members to grow and prosper under his tutelage. A school has been organized and is in charge of Mr. S. M. Bystyzinski, an able and conscientious instructor. In connection with the school Mr. Jim Vetoski, an officer in the patriotic Polish army for a long term of years, will instruct the boys in military tactics and will form a company of Zouaves.

Visiting Priests and Societies

The following priests were present and assisted in the ceremonies:

Bishop J. L. Spaulding, Peoria, Ill.; Father Isidore, Minonk; Father Smith, Wenona; Father Quinlan, El Paso; Father McGair; Flanagan; Father Nawrocki, Chicago; Father, Dr. Skulik, LaSalle; Father Truszynski, Peru; Father Louis Heideman, Rutland.

The following societies were present in uniform and took part in a body.

Society from LaSalle: Knights of Gracow, St. Joseph; St. Stanilaus, Pulaski; St. Bernardo, St. Cecelia, St. Stephen, Zouaves and Forresters.

Society from Peru: St. Valentine, St. Karimier, St. Floryan and Barbaras.

Society from Rutland: Jelacie

Society from Minonk: Forresters, M. B. Czestochowskiej and T. Kosciuszko.

The bands that furnished music for the occasion were: Twin City Bank, of Peru and LaSalle, Flanagan Band and Minonk Band.

From Minonk News-Dispatch - December 25, 1941

Founder of Old Polish Church Here Celebrates His Golden Jubilee

The Rt. Rev. Monsignor Ladislaus Bobkiewicz, pastor of St. Hyacinth's Catholic parish in LaSalle, who in October 1899 organized the Polish parish of St. Barbara here in Minonk, Sunday, celebrated his golden jubilee of the ordination to the priesthood.

He was transferred to Rutland in October 1894 and to Lostant in 1897.

In 1899, he formed the St. Barbara parish here.