About the Church of Saint Boniface
We, the Church of Saint Boniface, as a Roman Catholic parish in the Diocese of Saint Cloud that has been served by Benedictine monks and Sisters since its founding in 1878, participate in the mission of the Church given by the Lord Jeus to proclaim His Gospel and make disciples of all nations, to welcome these new disciples in a praying and hospitable community, and to provide on-going formation in discipleship of Jesus Christ.
As a community of faith, we look to Saint Boniface as a model for how to live our mission. Boniface, a Benedictine monk, became the missionary sent to proclaim the Gospel to the Germanic lands.
As a monk, Boniface would have taken the vows of conversatio, stability and obedience. Conversatio reminds us that we must daily choose to follow Christ as His disciples. Stability challenges us to be rooted and centered in the person of Jesus Christ through His Church, founded on the rock of Saint Peter. Obedience calls us to listening to the voice of Jesus, even as He speaks through the poor, the immigrant and the stranger. As Saint Benedict reminds his followers, we seek to receive everyone who comes to us as though he or she is Christ Himself (RB 53).
As a missionary, Saint Boniface faced the challenge of making the Gospel relevant to the Germanic people. After some failed attempts at evangelization, he was finally able to preach the Gospel in a way that converted tribes and nations, and, through his leadership, was able to establish the Church in Germany. In his life as a missionary, we see ourselves who have been entrusted with this same Gospel to share it with all we encounter, taking heart when we fail, so that led by the Holy Spirit, we may bring others to Christ through His Church.
The History of the Church of Saint Boniface
1855 The Fuchs, Theis, Hansen, Maselter, Kirsch and Jacoby families are the first six pioneer families to settle in the area.
1856 "Cold Spring City" is platted and settled by Joseph J. Gibson and Seth Turner. Catholics attend Mass at Jacob's Prairie.
1877 The first Assumption Chapel is built in honor of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to rid the area of a grasshopper plague.
1878 The Church of Saint Boniface is established, with 70 families. Father Leo Winter, OSB, is named its first pastor, thus starting an association between the parish and Saint John's Abbey that continues today. A rectory (on the site of the current church) and a basement church (later completed and currently the parish center) are constructed and a first Mass celebrated. On November 1, the first funeral and burial is celebrated for Ann Lauer. Bernard Klein is the first person to be baptized.
1879 Saint Boniface's first marriage is that of Joseph Weismann and Anna Kellner.
1884 The upper portion of the church is completed and is dedicated the following year. The parish's first lay organization, the Saint Joseph Society, is founded.
1889 Saint Boniface becomes part of the newly formed Diocese of Saint Cloud.
1894 The first Assumption Chapel is destroyed by a tornado. The statue of the Virgin Mary survives. 1904 the Church of Saint Boniface is incorporated.
1905 The "Maria Hilf" chapel is built in Saint Boniface cemetery and dedicated to Saint Mary Help of Christians, in memory of Marcus Maurin, a prominent member of the community.
1912 Electric lights are installed in the church and rectory.
1916 The parish's first grade school is built west of the rectory .The first Benedictine sisters come from Saint Joseph to teach, thus beginning decades of loyal service to Saint Boniface.
1920 Sister Incarnata Girgen, OSB, and Prof. Joseph Theisen begin the first high school classes in two rooms of the new grade school.
1926 A well-equipped high school (on the site of the current Rocori District Educational Facility) is built, with a gym-auditorium-stage area on the second floor and bowling lanes in the basement.
1936 Father Victor Ronellenfitsch, OSB, begins the first year of his 18-year pastorate, the longest in parish history.
1943 The Maurin mansion is acquired as a convent.
1944 Sermons in German are discontinued.
1951 A new Assumption Chapel, built of granite by local talent, is erected on the Chapel Hill site of the original 1877 chapel.
1952 An addition to the back of the Sister's convent is completed.
1960 A large granite-clad addition connecting Saint Boniface Grade and High Schools is constructed. Several classrooms, a gymnasium, library, band room, heating plant, separate shop building, and cafeteria are included.
1963 Assumption Nursing Home opens.
1964 English replaces Latin in the Mass, and other changes are effected, as a result of the Vatican II Council convened by Pope John XXII in 1962.
1965 An art, music, and stage area is added to the west side of Saint Boniface High School's gym.
1966 Sister Bernice Knelleken, OSB principal of Saint Boniface High School for eighteen years, bids farewell.
1967 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) instruction begins.
1968 The last class graduates from Saint Boniface High School. The Parish Council is established.
1974 Saint Boniface's school buildings are sold to Rocori District 750.
1978 The parish celebrates its centennial year on June 4th, with 869 registered families, and votes to build a new church. The original rectory is demolished to make room for the new construction. Ground is broken for the new church on October 29.
1980 The new Saint Boniface Catholic Church and School are completed and blessed. The 1884 church is transformed into a parish center. The John Paul Apartments open.
1982 The Maurin mansion becomes the parish rectory and administrative offices.
1996 Assumption Court Apartments are built.
1999 A house at 22 N. 5th Avenue is acquired for the Elementary Religious Education. This house currently is rented to the Casa Guadalupe Multicultural Ministries of Cold Spring.
2003 Saint Boniface celebrates its 125th anniversary.
2004 The 1884 church is demolished to make room for additional classroom space, gymnasium and Parish Center. In October, the new addition is blessed by Bishop John Kinney.
2007 On March 19 construction of the new bell tower is completed. The three bells ring on April 8, Easter 2007. View the construction of the bell tower on the Saint Boniface website.
2013 On June 30, Father Cletus Connors, OSB, ended his sixteen year pastorate, the second longest in Saint Boniface history.
2014 The new Marrin Organ, opus XI, is completed and blessed by Bishop Donald Kettler. The parish also completed a year-long campaign to replace the original sound and lighting systems of the 1980 church.
Pastors of the Church of Saint Boniface
1878-1880 Rev. Leo Winter, OSB
1880-1883 Rev. Benedict Heindl, OSB
1883-1886 Rev. Ambrose Lethert, OSB
1886-1892 Rev. Ludger Ehrens, OSB
1892-1899 Rev. Pauline Wiesner, OSB
1899-1906 Rev. Stephan Koefler, OSB
1906 Rev. Alfred Mayer, OSB
1906-1915 Rev. Maurus Ferdinand, OSB
1915-1923 Rev. Meinrad Seifermann, OSB
1923-1925 Rev. Adrian Schmitt, OSB
1925-1933 Rev. Adolph Dingmann, OSB
1933-1934 Rev. Magnus Hermanutz, OSB
1934-1936 Rev. Meinrad Seifermann, OSB
1936-1954 Rev. Victor Ronellenfitsch, OSB
1954-1957 *Rev. Othmar Hohmann, OSB
1957-1967 Rev. Elmer Eisenschenk, OSB
1967-1972 Rev. Matthew Kiess, OSB
1972-1976 Rev. Simon Bischof, OSB
1976 Rev. Peter St.Hilaire, OSB
1976-1983 *Rev. Brennan Maiers, OSB
1983-1990 Rev. Mel Taylor, OSB
1990-1994 Rev. Roger Klassen, OSB
1994-1997 Rev. Julian Schmiesing, OSB
1997-2013 Rev. Cletus Connors, OSB
2013- Rev. Matthew Luft, OSB
Parochial Vicars (In process)
1879 Rev. Joseph Vill, O.S.B.
1901 Rev. Lawrence Steinkogler, O.S.B.
1901-1904 Rev. Agatha Gebret, O.S.B.
1904-1905 Rev. Bonaventure Hansen, O.S.B.
1905-1907 Rev. Robert Wewers, O.S.B.
1910-1921 Rev. Julius Locnikar, O.S.B.
1921-1924 Rev. Celestine Kapsner, O.S.B.
1924-1925 Rev. Edward Bozet, O.S.B.
1925-1927 Rev. Demetrius Hagemann, O.S.B.
1927-1932 Rev. Isidore Siegler, O.S.B.
1932-1936 Rev. Berthold Ricker, O.S.B.
1936-1939 Rev. Fabian Wegleitner, O.S.B.
1939-1940 Rev. Egbert Goeb, O.S.B.
1940-1942 Rev. Constantine Thelen, O.S.B.
1940-1944 Rev. Giles Nathe, O.S.B.
1944-1946 Rev. Rupert Shreifels, O.S. B.
1946-1947 Rev. Aloysius Michels, O.S.B.
1947-1948 Rev. Gall Fell, O.S.B.
1956-1958 Rev. Donald McGinnis, O.S.B.
1959-1961 Rev. Sebastian Schramel, O.S.B.
1961 Rev. Bunda (Benito) Soh, O.S.B.
1961-1962 Rev. Severin Lauer, O.S.B.
1962-1963 Rev. Aquinas Sipe, O.S.B.
1963-1964 Rev. Alto Butkowski, O.S.B.
1962-1965 Rev. Knute Anderson, O.S.B.
1965-1966 Rev. Ansgar Rosen, O.S.B.
1966-1968 Rev. Olaf Skjolsvik, O.S.B.
1968-1969 Rev. James Wilde, O.S.B.
1967-1970 Rev. Harold Fuchs O.S.B.
1969-1972 Rev. Rupert Schreifels, O.S.B.
1972-1974 Rev. Cletus Connors, O.S.B.
1975-1976 *Rev. Thomas Gillespie, O.S.B.
1976-1977 Rev. Joel Daniel Kelly, O.S.B.
1977 Rev. Jose Gutierrez, O.S.B.
1980-1984 *Rev. Francis Hoefgen, O.S.B.
2005-2008 Rev. Matthew Luft, O.S.B.
2017-present Rev. Isaiah Frederick, O.S.B
Other priests who assisted at Saint Boniface
1948-1949 *Rev. Casimir Plakut, O.S.B.
1949-1952 Rev. Athanasius Fuchs, O.S.B. (Superintendent of St. Boniface High School)
1952-1959 Rev. Philibert Harren, O.S.B. (Superintendent of St. Boniface High School)
1952-1968 Rev. Vernon Miller, O.S.B. (Superintendent of St. Boniface High School 1959-1968)
1958-1959 *Rev. Augustine Strub, O.S.B.
1990-1994 (?)Rev. Sebastian Schramel, O.S.B.
1997-2000 (?)Rev. Gregory Miller, O.S.B.
2004-2005 (?)Rev. Dominic Ruiz, O.S.B. (Hispanic Ministry)
*Listed by Saint John’s Abbey as monks who “likely have offended against minors.” More information available on the Abbey’s Safe Environment webpages.