Leipzig Catholic Church
St. Paschal's Parish
In 1905 the first German Catholic immigrants left the USA and came to Canada. Their destination was approximately three miles north west of the present site of Leipzig.
The settlers all paid $5.00 to support the building of a church which was a necessity for them. Bishop Pascal of Prince Albert sent two missionaries, Fr. Laufer and Fr. Schweers to the settlement because they understood the needs of the people in the new St. Joseph's Colony.
A small rectory was erected in 1905 on the Tramping Lake Trail near the Pascal post office. In 1906 a small church 24 x 48 x 10 was built. This building was enlarged and used until it was decided that Leipzig was more central.
In 1913 a church that was said to be one of the largest in western Canada was built. The completed cost of the church was quoted at $8000.00 and the priest's residence would cost $1500.00. Encouragement for this project was given by the "Seed Farms Ltd." R.R. Jones, general manager, donated a site 85 x 200 feet for the new church. In addition the church purchased additional lots giving the congregation 165 feet of additional frontage. E. Brielmaier and Sons of Milwaukee prepared the plans. In 1917 the interior was painted by "Imhoff" a renowned painter of religious figures. The years of 1921 and 1922 saw the parish being attended to by Fr. Shultz of Handel, but in 1923 Fr. P. Bieler came as a resident priest again.
In the fally of 1932, the church burned and by 1933 the people were busy building a new church on the old site. This church to be built under the direction of Mr. Peterson of Regina and by July 1933 the foundation was started.
In 1926, "The School Sisters of Notre Dame" had come to Leipzig and in 1928 they opened a boarding school. Daily mass was held in the convent chapel that enabled the day students to attend mass, it also saved money by not having to heat the big church everyday in the winter. The convent chapel was used as a place of worship by the congregation until the new church could be used.
Mass was held in the church basement, until the upstairs was complete, for a few years.
Much of the labour on the church was volunteer work by most of the farmers.
In August of 1931 Father Boening of Regina came to Leipzig to take over parish duties. Father Boening celebrated his 40th anniversary to the priesthood in 1936 - he passed away in 1956 still the Leipzig parish priest. His last few years were trying times for him. His eyesight was going and if it had not been for a helper Rose Stark he could not have managed, but he struggled on by having things written in large letters.
In 1958 the old rectory was demolished and a new one built at the same location. Harry Warnke a brother of Fr. Warnke's was the contracter.
The curch was always the centre of the activity in the parish. Many social evenings and bazaars were held. These were not only brought in much needed money but were places of fellowship and good cheer.
It was noted that in the early 1930's "The Girls Sadality" put on programs of skits and recitations, mainly in the German language. The settlers also joined Volksnerein, an organization to protect the rights of the German People.
The "Altar Society" held card parties and socials proceeds to go to the church or Notre Dame convent. In 1950 the Leipzig Catholic Women's League started and is still active.
In 1954, the Knights of Columbus began in the Leipzig area. For the young crowd there was the Catholic Youth Club -- later known as the Catholic Youth Organization.
In 1980 the St. Paschal Church, along with the province of Saskatchewan celebrated its 75 anniversary. The bell from the Church that burned was placed on a cairn honoring our early pioneers. This cairn was placed at the front of the cemetery.
The number of parishioners has steadily declined, and with the current shortage of priests, Leipzig no longer has a resident priest.
Fr. W. Rolheiser of Wilkie now ministers to the needs of the parish.
It is sad to think that a parish that was once a flourishing spot, having both a resident priest and the School Sisters of Notre Dame; should now be only a shadow of what it once was.