New Prague farmers to host archdiocese’s rural life celebration

| June 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dick and Mary Jo Hruby on their farm

Dick and Mary Jo Hruby on their farm southwest of New Prague. COURTESY THE HRUBY FAMILY

On a recent sunny, summer day, Dick and Mary Jo Hruby of rural New Prague were cleaning up their yard ­— a yard the size of six city blocks — preparing to host the archdiocese’s annual celebration of rural life.

“It’s a beautiful day: sunshine, warm and breezy,” Dick Hruby said as he and his wife took a break to talk about the June 23 Rural Life Sunday Mass, lunch, music and activities they are planning along with their parish, the New Prague Area Catholic Community, with an open invitation to Catholics across the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Attendance varies year to year, but the Hrubys are preparing for about 600 people. They’re getting help from parishioners; Knights of Columbus Council 22023 and its Ladies’ Auxiliary; their pastor, Father Kevin Clinton, who is retiring at the end of June; and the incoming parochial administrator, Father Eugene Theisen, who recently arrived from a six-month sabbatical after retiring as a military chaplain.

The Mass and festivities are a special opportunity to give thanks for farmers and ranchers, for the blessings of good harvests and to pray for continued graces from God, the Hrubys said.

“It’s in thanksgiving for the fields and the crops and the rural life,” Mary Jo Hruby said. “I love it out here in the country.”

After retiring as dairy farmers in 2000, the Hrubys continue to live on the homestead property that has been in Dick Hruby’s family since 1886.

They rent out the rest of the farm, which is about five miles southwest of New Prague, to a neighbor.

The farm is where they raised four children ­— all now adults and living in the area — and became involved with their parish and the Catholic school, the Knights and Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

IF YOU GORural Life Sunday
1:30 p.m. June 23
Mass, lunch, activities
Dick and Mary Jo Hruby family farm
31695 171 Ave., New Prague

They hope to pass on the homestead to one of their children, to keep it in the family. They are excited to celebrate their way of life with others in the archdiocese.

“I think it’s important to draw attention to rural America,” Dick Hruby said. “A lot of city people don’t realize where their food comes from.”

Father Theisen said the family-friendly day will include a hayride, games to play and animals to meet. There will be a malt and milkshake truck, sandwiches, chips and other picnic food.

“I am so looking forward to the malts and the shakes,” he said, laughing.

Father Theisen and Father Clinton said the day also is a time to reflect on the importance of farming and of the rural way of life.

“The faith life and the culture of a rural community are unique,” said Father Clinton, who has served at the parish for more than 14 years. “The rural folks are very close to the land.”

Father Charles Lachowitzer, vicar general of the archdiocese and moderator of the curia, will preside at the 1:30 p.m. Mass — for the third time in the last six years.

“It’s one of my favorite events all year,” Father Lachowitzer said. “We have deep roots in the land as Catholics here in the archdiocese.”

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