Diocese of St. Cloud, MN

The Diocese of St. Cloud, MN was formed in 1889 and consists of Stearns, Sherburne, Benton, Morrison, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Isanti, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, Grant, Douglas, Wilkin, Otter Tail, Todd, and Wadena Counties in Minnesota. The map provided plots the locations of the Polish Roman Catholic Churches in this diocese. Given addresses were usually of the rectory and not the church building itself. The map markers correspond to the church building if you zoom in close enough (they will put you at the front door). The Polish Catholic churches were identified based primarily on The Polish-American Parish published in 1963 by the Orchard Lake Schools, Henry P. Mucha, editor.

Many small churches were established so parishioners wouldn't have to travel as far or to serve a particular ethnic population (say, Polish). Better transportation, loss of ethnic identity, and lack of priests has meant that many of these churches were no longer sustainable. Many have closed or merged with other churches to form larger faith communities. For example, the parishes of Immaculate Conception in Becker and Our Lady of the Lake in Big Lake were merged in 2012 to form The Church of Mary of the Visitation. Merged parishes often receive new names so that the constituent churches appear as equals instead of one parish being gobbled up by another. St. Elizabeth was founded in 1924 by Father Brenny in what became Brennyville as a midway location between two other small communities. There was no indication this was a Polish parish but was listed in my master list. St. Joseph Church in Browerville merged with the German parish in 1980 to become Christ the King. Like any parish cemetery, I searched for Sacred Heart Cemetery of Flensburg in the immediate vicinity of the church. I found a few neat rows (of grave stones) on the satellite image east of the church and thought it was the cemetery. But only a couple of rows? It led me to doubt that this was the cemetery. It was and the mystery was explained. All the grave stones had been moved into the rows seen and no longer marked individual graves. A new Sacred Heart parish cemetery is south on Elm Street. St. Adalbert Church in Little Falls was merged in 1957 into St. Mary's Church. I don't have the exact address of St. Adalbert and could not find a church building in the region given by its partial address. Holdingford Area Catholic Community was formed from the merger of several nearby churches.