Spirit of the Church

There are no recorded documents on the Spirit of the church, but many parishioners recall happenings that have been related to them by their forbearers. The Mass and the church were an integral part of the lives of the German, Irish, and Luxembourgers who settled in and around Algona. One person tells of her great-grandfather walking the railroad tracks to Emmetsburg to attend Mass. Another tells of a priest walking from Fort Dodge area to Plum Creek to say Mass. He, then, continued to the Hegarty farm to say Mass. Priests and parishioners alike made great sacrifices to go to Mass.

When the Church was completed, Mass was at 8 am and 10 pm. Confessions were heard on Saturday evening or before each Mass. Parishioners fasted from midnight to receive Communion. They used "prayer books" to follow the Mass which was said in Latin. (About 1940 the Missal, which had both Latin and English, came into general use. After Vatican Council II came the Missalette and the discontinuance of Latin.) Devotions to the Blessed Virgin and the Sacred Heart were an integral part of family and church worship. Since the church was heated only on Sunday, daily Mass was held in the sacristy where the heat came from a pot-bellied stove. A valiant few attended daily Mass. The sick and the shut-ins could depend on a visit from the priest.

Children grew up aware they had been baptized in the Church and had godparents who were their spiritual parents. They received First Communion about the age of six. Everyone expected to be married at a Nuptial Mass, which was an occasion attended by all one's friends and family. If one married a non-Catholic, only after months of study and the signing of many papers, could one be married by a priest. Then the ceremony usually took place in the rectory. The solemnity of the funeral Mass was emphasized with the use of black vestments and a liturgy of fear of hell which contrasts with the present day use of white vestments and the message of hope.