Catholic Faith has Been Final Word in Strasburg
Conrad, Marc. "Catholic Faith has Been Final Word in Strasburg." Bismarck Tribune, 1 February 1987, sec. C1.
Even more solid than the brick walls of Strasburg’s Sts.
Peter and Paul Catholic Church is the faith of its parishioners.
The spiritual and social life of Strasburg revolves around this
church, which has been ultimate authority since the town was founded
“If you needed rain for the crops, you went to church and
prayed for rain,” says Al Kramer, a retired Strasburg businessman.
“If it rained in a few days, well, then you figured it helped.
Anything you needed—it had to come from God.”
And the parish priest has always played a prominent role in the
community, Kramer says. “People thought of their priest as
the communicator between God and the people.”
The five German-Russian immigrants who started the town were so
devoted to the church that they fell on their knees when a Catholic
missionary from Fort Yates visited the in 1889.
Respect for the parish priest was reinforced by parents. “People
can’t talk back to a priest,” Kramer says. “People
who talked back to a priest got slapped—he was the ultimate
Kramer says people—especially senior citizens feel trapped
between their respect for the parish priest and respect for their
ancestors’ church, which the current pastor, the Rev. Jerome
Kautzman, wants to modernize in keeping with Vatican II.
The possibility of not having a priest inhibits older members from
telling Kautzman how they feel about remodeling the church, Kramer
“They believe if we don’t get along with this priest,
the bishop could say ‘OK boys, you didn’t like what
you had - now you’ve got nothing.”
And these people feel if they don’t have a priest in their
final hour they could go to hell, Kramer says.
But Kramer, who is vehemently opposed to changes in the church,
says their fears are groundless.
“Strasburg has never been without a priest for any length
of time during my lifetime,” he says. “And even if this
one leaves, they’ll send another one. The parish is too big
to just close the doors.”
Reprinted with permission of The Bismarck Tribune.
91, helped build the church 70 years ago.
the ornate pulpit may be removed.
like Stations of the Cross are rumored to go.
Catholics fear losing a place in the cemetery if they speak