Address: 256 N. Linden Street, Wahoo, NE 68066
The large red brick church with neo-Gothic styling of the window openings and doorways was dedicated on September 23, 1923. It is the third St. Wenceslaus Church in Wahoo, with the first being built in 1878 by settlers who arrived in the town thirty-one miles north of Lincoln on August 15, 1874. The interior space feels immense with a high rib-vaulted ceiling and wide center aisle leading to a sanctuary space most recently renovated in 2020, after a prior update in 1973. The sanctuary includes a magnificent, traditionally-styled high altar with niches for saints on either side of the central Crucifixion scene with The Blessed Mother and St. John the Evangelist at the foot of the cross. The church is full of sacred art in the form of statues, paintings and stained glass windows which provide a resource for the faithful’s worship. Not surprisingly, the most depicted, is St. Wenceslaus, the patron of the parish and the patron of Bohemia. St. Wenceslaus died at the age of around 25, after serving as the leader of Bohemia for 14 years until he was martyred on September 28, 935. Images of St. Wenceslaus are present in no less than four pieces of art: 1) a marble statue at the entrance of the church; 2) a large stained glass window in the east transept; 3) a statue in a niche on the high altar; and 4) a painting on the wall of the apse.
Special things to see in the Church
• A most distinguishing feature of the church are the 45 stained glass windows filling the structure with colorful light and providing observers with sacred sentiment. Reflecting the founding families and the current parish heritage, the windows depict important Czech saints: St. Wenceslaus (east transept); St. Ludmila, grandmother of St. Wenceslaus who is credited with teaching the young St. Wenceslaus about Christianity (east side altar); St. John Nepomucene, a 14th century priest from Pilsen who was martyred for keeping confessions confidential (west side altar); and the Apostles of the Slavs, St. Cyril & St. Methodius, 9th century brothers who led the evangelization of Moravia with the translation the Liturgy, and parts of the Bible, into the local language (west transept).
• The other windows in the church also show scenes of the life of Jesus, as well as Mary, and some other saints including the patroness of music, St. Cecilia in the choir loft. On either side of the sanctuary are windows of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus. All of the windows were restored in 2008.
• A sacred Infant Jesus of Prague statue is located on the east wall of the nave. It was donated in 1953 by parents in memory of the death of their infant son.
• The painted scenes in apse show God the Father over a bevy of angels and several groupings of Czech saints including St. Wenceslaus, St. John Nepomucene, St. Cyril and St. Methodius. The paintings were done as part of the 2020 renovation by Evergreene Architectural Arts of Brooklyn.
Interesting Fact About the Church
• The church is one of several Czech-heritage churches built in east central Nebraska with fundraising, oversight and encouragement by Monsignor Alois Klein (1866 – 1954): St. Wenceslaus churches in Wahoo (1923), Bee (1910) and Loma (1912), the first Church of the Assumption in Dwight (1899), and the spectacular Holy Trinity Church in Brainard (1908). Monsignor Klein served the Diocese of Lincoln as Vicar General for 16 years, and was a candidate for the post of Bishop that was vacated by the death of Bishop Thomas A. Bonacum in 1911. Monsignor Klein was born and educated in what is now the Czech Republic; and had fluency in the Bohemian, German and English languages which provided a perfect background for his chosen role as an evangelizer and advocate for the Czech immigrants to Nebraska around the turn of the 20th century. He fulfilled this role as pastor of several parishes; the aforementioned leadership role at the Diocese; and also as an organizer of five branches of the Catholic Workmen organization. Monsignor Klein was a man of many talents – he was a published poet and served as the head of the Nebraska Beekeepers Association from 1911-1917.