Sioux City - St. Boniface
SIOUX CITY - Our life of faith far exceeds the confines of a church building, yet the growth of that structure may sometimes indicate the faith of its builders. St. Boniface was the second Catholic parish organized in Sioux City. In December of 1885, a meeting was held by German-speaking Catholics who formed an organization consisting of 23 families. In the following year, two lots on the corner of W. Fifth and Main Streets were purchased for $1,500. On Dec. 24, 1886, Father John A. Gerleman was appointed pastor of the new parish.
Today's St. Boniface Parish family members are co-owners of an edifice that began with a small frame church/school built at the corner of West 5th and Main Streets. July 17, 1887, was the date of the first Holy Mass in St. Boniface Church. School opened in September of that same year with 28 pupils under the direction of the Franciscan Sisters from Dubuque.
Father Herman J. Schleier succeeded Father Gerleman as pastor of St. Boniface Parish in October of 1902. Under his leadership, the parish paid off its debt and started a building fund for a new church.
In 1906, Franciscan priests of the Sacred Heart province, based in St. Louis, took charge of St. Boniface Parish. These men served in the parish until 1986 when it was again returned to the diocese. When Father Seraphin Lampe, OFM, became pastor in 1906, the parishioners numbered 320.
With parish growth continuing, it was obvious that the present structure was not adequate for worship and other ministries were needed in the neighborhood. Therefore, six lots were purchased on W. 5th St. between Omaha and Cook Streets. It was the Franciscans who built the present magnificent St. Boniface Church and rectory under the able guidance of Brother Leonard Darschied, OFM, who drew the plans and supervised the construction of the church.
The new church was dedicated on Sept. 4, 1911, by Bishop Garrigan. The same year, Father Honoratus opened a convent for the sisters. In 1924, a new school building was constructed and had an enrollment of 337 students.
In 1956, the school was remodeled and the school lunch program began. Alterations were made in the convent chapel and rectory kitchen in 1963.
The Sisters of the Living Word came to staff the school in 1975. Also, in 1981, Father James Keefner became the last Franciscan to serve the parish, marking 80 years of leadership by the Sacred Heart Province based in St. Louis.
St. Boniface Parish celebrated its centennial in 1986, while diocesan priests took over leadership of the parish.
Holy Family School opened in 1987, which was a consolidation of St. Boniface, St. Joseph and the Cathedral of the Epiphany's schools in Sioux City.
In the past five years, work continues as sacramental programs are enhanced to include more involvement of the parents and the youth together in the preparation for the celebration of first reconciliation, first Eucharist and Confirmation. Baptism classes are also offered for parents and god-parents as they bring their children for the sacrament.
The gathering space has been enhanced by the presence of the refurbished Baptismal font, a symbol of entrance into the church. In prominence, as well, is a beautiful ambry holding the sacred oils used in the sacraments and a statue of Jesus being baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist.
School programs are also growing, with numbers rising every year. In addition to grades K-2, who attend the St. Boniface Center of Holy Family School, there is a Holy Family pre-school and day care which serves the parish.