St. Augustine Parish sets year of centennial events

St. Augustine Parish in St. Cloud, which was established in 1919, has scheduled a year of celebratory centennial events. They begin with Mass at 9 a.m. Nov. 25, and a chili cook-off.

Additionally, a parish retreat on the “History of St. Augustine” will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 8.

In 2019, they plan special events for Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 27 through Feb. 3; a concert on Feb. 24 featuring church musicians; a Benedictine prayer service, concert and social on March 10; 24-hour adoration on Passion Sunday, April 14; Mayfest and a volunteer picnic in May; a book study, movie and feast day on Aug. 25; “Faster than the Pastor” fun run in September; a Harvest Sunday on Oct. 6; and will end on Christ the King Sunday, Nov. 24.

St. Aug’s is located at 442 2nd St. SE in St. Cloud. For more information, call the church office at 320-251-8335.

The parish was staffed by diocesan priests from its founding until 1937. At that point Benedictine priests from St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, pastored the parish until 2007, when diocesan priests resumed serving the parish as pastors.

“Being the only Benedictine parish in St. Cloud for so many years always gave us unique liturgical celebrations,” said Deacon Rick Scheierl.

“The Masses, which had an emphasis on liturgy and hospitality and generosity, and the music were rooted in their Rule of Benedict,” he said. “We got to know different priests who came here for reconciliation, and we were welcomed to join their prayer services as well. Even the architecture of our church is reflective of the Abbey, with dark woodwork and pews and straight lines.”
Long-time parishioner Dick Ruegemer described their origins as a “basement” church built in 1920.

“The idea was to get a temporary church as quickly as possible, and to build the ‘real’ one as soon as money became available,” Ruegemer said. “But, in the 1920s, the parish faced the Depression and, right afterwards, World War II. It’s amazing but our blue-collar parish paid off the debt on the basement church during the Depression.”

Ruegemer and Mary Mathews, also a St. Aug’s parishioner, are compiling a church history, adding remembrances and pictures to tell the story. The book will be available later this year.

About Nikki Rajala

Nikki Rajala is a writer/copy editor for The Visitor newspaper.

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