Saint Wenceslaus, The Patron of Bohemia and Czechs

Photo Credit: St. Wenceslaus Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

September 28th is the Feast Day of Saint Wenceslaus the patron of Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). He is also the patron of many Catholic Parishes in Europe and the U.S. including several in the midwestern States of Nebraska and Iowa where many Czech immigrants settled in the 1800’s.

Saint Wenceslaus is venerated as a martyr as his death was the result of his efforts to support Christianity in the face of harsh opposition.  His relics are part of the Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague and his feast day is marked by celebration.  Read more about Saint Wenceslaus https://churchwonders.com/mary-saints/saints/saint-wenceslaus/

The Feast of Saint Wenceslaus is a public holiday to the people of the Czech Republic, and is also a dear event to people of Czech ancestry in Nebraska and Iowa – especially to those Catholic Parishes that have taken Saint Wenceslaus as their patron.  These parishes are the outgrowth of large populations of Czech immigrants between 1850 and World War I when they left their homeland due to difficult economic conditions in Bohemia and Moravia in the late 1800’s, as well as to seek more economic and political opportunity in the U.S. – and particularly land ownership as part of the Homestead Act.  In 1920 census, more than 600,000 Americans reported Czech as their mother tongue.  The 2010 U.S. census indicated nearly 1.6 million Americans of Czech descent.  Nebraska was a popular destination for Czechs from the homeland, as well as other U.S. states.  They formed settlements which became the towns of today like Crete and Wilber, the county seat of Saline County where the first Czechs settled in Nebraska in 1865. In Fillmore County, Milligan is the home to many of Czech descent. There were also sizeable settlements in Saunders County (Wahoo, Touhy), Butler County (Dwight, Bee, David City) and Colfax County (Schuyler, Clarkson, Tabor) among others.  In addition to the liturgical celebrations of Saint Wenceslaus, these cities also hold secular celebrations of the Czech heritage with the biggest being the annual Czech Festival in Wilber, NE http://www.nebraskaczechsofwilber.com/czech-days/ .

A listing of some of the Saint Wenceslaus Catholic Churches in Nebraska and Iowa follows:

Nebraska

Omaha https://www.stwenceslaus.org/

Verdigre  http://www.saintsww.org/

Wahoo https://bishopneumann.com/st-wenceslaus/st-wenceslaus-church-bulletin/

Dodge  http://www.stwenc.org

Wilber https://stsenceslauswilber.org

Milligan

Bee

Iowa

Iowa City https://stwenc-ic.com/

Cedar Rapids  https://swcr.church/

Spillville

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: