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Blessed Sacrament Church observes centennial
San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller concelebrates a special Mass May 20 in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Poth, commemorating the parish’s 100th anniversary.
POTH -- The parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Poth are celebrating their church’s 100th anniversary. To mark the centennial of the founding of the parish, a special Mass was celebrated May 20 by San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garc’a-Siller, who joined parishioners for the event.
Concelebrating the Mass were the Rev. Gregory Szewczyk, Blessed Sacrament’s pastor; Bishop Emeritus John Yanta of Amarillo; Monsignor John Wagner -- recognized by the archbishop as a native son of Poth, who has devoted his life to teaching the Gospel; the Rev. Boguslaw Loska, vice provincial of the Salvatorian Order; the Rev. Gregory Sawicki; the Rev. Luke Kleczka, and other visiting priests. Deacon Alan Crosby of Blessed Sacrament served as deacon of the Mass.
Local clergy members and members of religious congregations were among the more than 500 in attendance, including the Rev. Andrzej Waszczenko, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church in Kosciusko; the Rev. Samuel Heitkamp, incoming pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Canyon Lake; Sister Christine Stavinoha; and members of the Seraphic Franciscan Sisters.
Centennial events began with a balloon rosary before the Mass. A reception in the Poth VFW Hall, including a barbecue meal, followed the Mass. A mariachi band added a cultural element to the celebration.
Poth, established in 1886 on the San Antonio-Aransas Pass Railroad, was settled principally by German families, according to a history of the community shared during the parish celebration.
Men in the Poth vicinity held a meeting in March 1910 to discuss establishing a Catholic parish. Karl Billimek and William Eckel subscribed $1,400, and a committee was founded, consisting of Stephen Schwertlich, Andrew Reinhard, and John Bednarz. The men met with Bishop John A. Forest in April 1910, who granted permission to build a church in Poth.
A.H. Poth, for whom the city was named, donated 3 acres for the church. August Raabe donated an acre for a cemetery. Construction of the church began April 20, 1911; by mid-June that year, a wood frame church had been completed at a cost of $2,492. Dedication ceremonies were held Jan. 12, 1912.
The Rev. John Heinzelmeier was the first parish priest of Blessed Sacrament in Poth.
Through the years, the church, parish grounds, and facilities grew and improvements were made, including the addition of wings to the church. In 1944, fund-raising for a new church began. Groundbreaking for the new church took place in October 1958; the church was dedicated May 24, 1959. The parish priest at the time was the Rev. Armand Florizone.
The altar and baptismal font in Blessed Sacrament church are made of Italian marble. The stained-glass window depicting the Last Supper over the entrance of the church was made in Holland.
Compiled from information provided by Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church office and from various sources.
A BRIEF HISTORY
•Church built in 1911 for $2,492
•Dedicated in January 1912
•Stations of the Cross, donated by St. Mary’s in Wiley, Texas, blessed and erected Nov. 4, 1912
•Bell, named St. John the Baptist, blessed Nov. 4, 1912
•Wings added to the church, 1923
•Blessed Sacrament School built in 1925, staffed by Felician Sisters
•Electric lights added to church, rectory, and school, 1926
•Gas heaters added to church, 1934
•School burns down Sept. 5, 1942
•Old rectory is sold, 1937; new one is built
•Youth center erected, 1957
•Grotto, built in 1933, is disassembled in 1966 to make way for present rectory
•Fund-raising for new church begins, 1944
•Groundbreaking Oct. 19, 1958, for present-day church
•Present-day church is dedicated May 24, 1959
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
Pastor: Rev. Gregory Szewczyk, S.D.S.
Masses: Mon.-Fri., 6:30 p.m.; Sat., 5:30 p.m.; Sun., 7:30 and 9:30 a.m.
408 W. Westmeyer in Poth 830-484-3302 or visit www.blessedsacramentpoth.org
Photos for this article contributed by: Photographs by Jim, www.photographsbyjim.com
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