During a recent trip to the vibrant community of Humphrey, we learned about a church that stands out on the horizon.
We visited St. Francis of Assisi in Humphrey, and we talked with Mary Anne Haschke who conducts tours of the church and knows much of the history surrounding it. "The parish itself began in 1883, and this church was built in 1893," Haschke said. "It was originally a Franciscan parish, and we were serviced by Franciscan priests and brothers until 1990. At that time, the Diocese and priests took over because the Franciscans left Nebraska."
The church is a beacon across the area, and if you've traveled by Humphrey, you know you can see the church steeple for miles. We asked Haschke is the steeple is the tallest in Nebraska. "According to the interest, it's the tallest, if that's your authority!" Haschke said.
There are many features of the church that stand out. "So many visitors to the church are in awe," Haschke said. "They say, we can go to Europe to see cathedrals, but this is beautiful. When it was dedicated, the bishop at the time called it the Cathedral of the Prairie. I agree with that."
Haschke says there are many statues around the church. The ones on the high altars have been there for decades. The church also features many stained glass windows, including one that features St. Francis of Assisi, and there are windows in the entry that are from the Sacred Heart church in Cornlea, which closed in the 1960's.
"I don't know how a farmer could exist or plant each year if he didn't have faith in God that something would grow from that seed," Haschke said. "I think everyone needs a place to be peaceful. So much good has come from this parish. We have so many young families coming back to Humphrey. This church is a treasure that we have to take care of for the future."