After 150 years, parish still thriving in Spring Lake Township

| August 27, 2015 | 0 Comments
St. Catherine Church in Spring Lake Township, Scott County

St. Catherine Church in Spring Lake Township, Scott County

Although the first Mass in Spring Lake Township was celebrated in 1857, it wasn’t until about the time the U.S. Civil War was ending in 1865 that St. Catherine Parish was established in a rural area of Scott County some 30 miles southwest of the Twin Cities.

That parish history will be a prominent part of the day Sunday, Sept. 13, when St. Catherine of Spring Lake celebrates its 150th anniversary.

A 3 p.m. Mass will be followed by a meal served from 4:30-6 p.m., then a history presentation and fellowship, all on the church grounds at 4500 220th St. E., Prior Lake.

Parishioners of St. Catherine continue to worship in the wooden church that was built in 1896 after the first church — constructed by parishioners in 1867 — was struck by lightning and was destroyed by fire. The parish is now a mission of St. Patrick in nearby Cedar Lake Township; Father Michael Miller became pastor of both parishes earlier this year.

That St. Catherine is still an active Catholic community 150 years later gives parishioners a sense of pride, said Rachel Friske, a 25-year-old who has been a member of the parish all her life.

“One of the things that stands out is that people have been able to maintain the parish with all the [other] parish closings [in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis],” said Friske, who teaches at nearby St. Michael School in Prior Lake.

“People are so dedicated to raising funds to keep everything going,” she said, “and when there are renovations, they are headed up by parishioners.”

The parish Council of Catholic Women is particularly active in both prayer life and service projects, she said.

“There are a lot of ways to get involved,” added Friske, who is a lector and eucharistic minister.

She has been working, too, on technology-based projects, including a video that will be shown at the anniversary celebration.

St. Catherine was fortunate in having gathered historic photos some years earlier for a 1996 book on the 100th anniversary of the building of the church, she said, but it was tricky to track down others.

“It’s very cool to see some of the photos because descendants of some of the founding families are still here,” Friske said. “When you look at the photos you see faces you see every Sunday.”

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