February 3, 1900 Oshkosh Northwestern
As detailed in this blog before (http://menashabook.blogspot.com/2013/04/st-johns.html), St. John's was formed in February of 1888 after 75 families broke away from St. Mary's to form their own congregation. Why did this happen? The Polish immigrants had been a part of Wisconsin rural life since 1860. However, because of the labor supply needs, especially due to the Menasha Woodenware and John Strange Paper Company, a sizeable migration of Polish immigrants from Milwaukee and Stevens Point moved into Menasha proper in the early 1880's. Upon their arrival in Menasha, the new settlers mostly joined St. Mary's parish. However, membership in this church did not last for long as feelings of alienation and not belonging set in. Since St. Mary's was predominantly German, sermons were in that language, church publications were in German, and church holidays were observed following German customs. It wasn't a good fit for these immigrants and they knew it.
(Reading the article above, I was curious about a few things. Despite the many celebrants of the consecration of this church, there wasn't mention of any Menasha St. Mary's priests assisting. Even though it had been over 12 years since the break, one wonders if there were still some bad feelings. And even though the Polish founded their own parish to feel more inclusive, the bishop still made sure to do a sermon in German at this festive occasion. I'm sure there was no choice in the matter...it's the bishop. But I still wonder if there was any resentment over that.)