St. George's Catholic Church

St. George's Catholic Church of Cooperstown started out as a mission of St. Lawrence's of Jessie.  In its infancy, Mass was held at the then Max Wild home.  It is now the home of Mrs. Alyce Lura.

As the membership grew, they purchased what had been the Congregational Church in 1939.  Father George Miller was the pastor.  The people named their new parish after the much-loved priest. The document of incorporation was dated August 29, 1941 with officers listed as Bishop Muench, Fr. George Miller, Fr. Leo Dworschak, William Pfeifer and Frank Bednar.

The Redemptorist Fathers came to Cooperstown in 1941.  They were a group of missionary priests working from the Cooperstown Mission House, serving a large area of the upper mid-west states.  They purchased the Dr. C.F. Craig residence known to many as the P.H. Costello home.  It was named the Redemptorist Mission House.  A large house was needed as they had several priests working from their new mission house.

The first Redemptorist to be pastor of St. George I s was Fr. Anthony Huber.  He performed the first wedding; that of Loretta Bednar and John Paintner, June 6, 1944.  August 14 the same year was the start of daily Mass being said at St. George's.  The Catholic youth organization began November 2, 1944.  The first midnight Mass in Cooperstown was offered December 25, 1944.  The first confirmation class was June 16, 1945 confirmed by Bishop Muench of Fargo.

Fr. Bernard Guenther followed Fr. Huber coming in August of 1945.  He prevailed on the parishioners to purchase land for a cemetery, about one-half mile north of Cooperstown.  The first burial was Mrs. Theodore Hovel, July 2, 1948.

Fr. Breitenbeck was the next pastor, arriving in 1950 to 1956.  It was under his leadership that the steadily growing parish decided to build the present structure.  The first masses were held Easter week in 1953.

Bishop Leo Dworschak at dedication services, new St. George's Church, 1952.

Fr. Bernard Langton came in 1956 to 1959.  He was followed by Fr. Stanley Burke, 1959-1964.  They spent much of their time raising funds to pay on the large debt.

In 1964 the care of St. George's was transferred to the diocesan priests.  Fr. C. Jaillet was the first. He was here less than one year, leaving Cooperstown for the mission fields of the Bahamas.

Fr. Adam Hasey came to Cooperstown from nearby Tolna, North Dakota in the summer of 1965.  He remained here for eight years.  The membership had grown to over 300 people by the time he left.  It was then the parish voted to build a new rectory, attached to the church.  A full-sized catechetical center was built in the rectory basement.  The old rectory was torn down to make a much-needed parking lot.  Fr. Hasey left in July of 1973.

Fr. George Schneider followed.  He was installed in September of 1973.  In December of 1978 a mortgage ceremony was held, twenty-five years after the church was built.  Fr. Schneider left after seven years as pastor of St. George's.

He was succeeded by Fr. C. Richard Rudd, the present pastor, who arrived in 1980.  Shortly after he arrived, the parish voted to put on a new insulated roof, and off-peak electric heat, hoping to improve the energy conservation.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 158

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