HISTORY OF ST. DOMINIC CATHOLIC CHURCH
In 1870, Catholic families of the Jackson County area joined together and requested services of a priest from the Jesuit mission in St. Marys, Kansas. The first Mass of the new parish community of St. Dominic was celebrated on Christmas Day.
In 1872 parishioner Mrs. Catherine Bishop began peaking the interest of other parishioners to build a church. By July of that year stone was being hauled to the proposed site and by early fall construction began on the 28 x 43 frame building that was completed in 1874
Benedictine priest Fr. Maurus Lynch, OSB, from the Abbey in Atchison, Kansas began coming to St. Dominic in 1874 on the third Sunday of each month. Later that year Fr. John Begley would become the first permanent pastor.
By 1886 St. Dominic was a parish of 40 families and with their resident pastor Fr. Alexander Jennings built a parish rectory. In October of that year from the bequest of Catherine Cooney, Fr. Jennings obtained five acres two miles west of Holton for a cemetery. A large wooded cross was erected and the cemetery was blessed and named Mt. Calvary.
Due to the growth of the parish the pastor added 18 feet and a sacristy to the church in 1891. In 1896 a vestibule with a cupola was added to house the bell that was donated by Mrs. Catherine Bishop.
In 1914 Bishop John Ward urged the people of Holton and Mayetta to build a new church since they had out grown the one they had. The Catholic residents of Mayetta, who had for some time wanted to build their own church, and on hearing that they were to contribute $5,000 toward the new church in Holton decided to build their own church. As a result the plans for a new church in Holton were put on hold.
Fr. Francis Geinitz, who over saw the construction of the new church of St. Francis Xavier in Mayetta, moved from Holton to Mayetta in 1918 to become their first and only resident pastor. Fr. Patrick McIntyre was named pastor of St. Dominic.
In 1921 Fr. Cowell O′Neil came to Holton as pastor and renewed interest in building a new church. That next year property for the new church, at the corner of 5th and Ohio, was purchased for $2,000. By spring of 1922 work began on the foundation. The foundation and the corner stone were in place by November 7. Work on the church continued in the spring of 1923. On Christmas Day Fr. O′Neil celebrated the first Mass with the parishioners in the new church. The new church was officially dedicated on June 24, 1924 on the feast of St. John the Baptist. The new church measured 40 x 102, with a steeple that rises 110 feet into the air and is surmounted with a cross.
Fr. G.F. Hart became pastor in 1929. The depression, low farm prices and hard times made the parish debt seem almost insurmountable.
In 1932 Fr. John Ryan was named pastor of the 50 family parish.
In 1945 Fr. Francis Glowacki was named pastor and during his tenure the debt on the church was paid off, the old church which had become the parish hall was remodeled and in 1950 a new parish rectory was built.
Fr. Leo Cooper was named pastor in 1954. During Fr. Cooper′s residence, an improvement fund was established in hopes of a Catholic Grade School be opened in Holton. Property was purchased across the street from the rectory, but plans to open the grade school did not come to fruition.
Fr. Anthony Lickteig was named pastor in 1958. While he was pastor the church was repainted, a new gas furnace was installed and new stained glass windows were place in the church completing the work begun in 1922. A second parcel of property was purchased across the street from the rectory. The house on the property would later become the home of two Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastic in Atchison who were in charge of the parish religious education program.
In 1964 Fr. Edward Hays was named pastor. These were the days following the Second Vatican Council. The Church was experiencing a lot of change: Mass was said in the vernacular, a second altar was added facing the people and new forms of parish administration were developed such as the first parish council in 1967. The council consisted of eight men and eight women chosen by the parishioners and was convened with Gene Crannell as its first president.
St. Dominic Parish adopts a sister parish in 1968: the Mission of Our Lady in Malawi, East Africa and has contributed money, ever since.
In 1970 St. Dominic celebrated it centennial. In preparation the 130 families of the parish, with the guidance of Fr. Hays remodeled the interior of the church and added a new handicap entrance on the south side of the church. The parish hall was also remodeled for the occasion.
Fr. William Kaufman was named pastor in 1971. Fr. Kaufman continued the improvements in the church, of which was the purchased and installation of the crucifix, and Stations of the Cross.
St. Dominic was a parish of a 150 families when Fr. Carl Dekat was named pastor in 1979. At that time the parish was in need of a new parish hall and religious education center to replace the old parish hall which had been the first church and was 111 years old. The reality of a new parish hall and a religious education center came to fruition in 1983 due to the bequest of the estate of parishioner Alice McDaniel and the improvement funds raised by the parish. In June the old parish hall was torn down and by July construction had begun on the new building. The new building would measure 82 x 42. It had a full basement with 10 classrooms for religious education.
In 1985 Fr. Bob Hasenkamp was named pastor. Fr. Bob worked diligently to create opportunities for the local Christian churches to come together to work and to pray. During his time in Holton, the mission of Our Lady of the Snows was reopened.
Fr. Ron Cornish was named pastor in 1991. The St Dominic community now number 250 families. Fr. Ron served as pastor until July 2001.
In 2001, due to the shortage of priests, St. Dominic and St. Francis Xavier was without a pastor and was served by several administrators. Fr. Kyle Haden served from July 2001 to December 2001. Fr. John Fiala served from January 2002 to April 2002. Fr. Norbert Lickteig served from April 2002 to July 2002. Fr. Jon Hullinger of Nortonville served as the Pastoral Administrator from July 2002 to July 2004, with the assistance of Fr. Robert Burger and Fr. Tom Hesse as Sacramental Ministers.
In July 2004, newly ordained priest Fr. Richard Halvorson was named Pastor of St. Dominic and its 300 families; and St. Francis Xavier and its 125 families.
In November 2005 construction was begun to add a vestibule-with much needed restrooms to the south side of St. Dominic church. These church level restrooms would be the first in the church′s 83 years history.
Painters from Dave Hunter Painting of Council Bluffs, Iowa, arrived in January 2006 to begin painting the interior of St. Dominic church complete with intricate gold-leaf stencils. There were also minor renovations done to the interior of the church with included the installation of new red oak cushioned pews. The renovations were complete in June 2007.
Remodeling began on the rectory in 2008, the first changes to the rectory since its construction in 1950. The project was completed in the spring of 2009.
In July 2009 Fr. Francis Bakyour as appointed administrator of St. Dominic and St. Francis Xavier.
Fr. Bill Bruning was appointed administrator in September 2009 while remaining pastor of Blessed Mother Theresa parish in Topeka.
In July 2010, Fr. Chris Rossman was appointed pastor of St. Dominic and St. Francis Xavier.