Parish profile — St. Nicholas in St. Nicholas

Categories: Around the Diocese

St. Nicholas Parish was founded in 1857  and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2007. There are currently 375 members in 130 households. The information below is from a history book about the parish written by Shirley Lutgen on its 150th anniversary and from Brenda Kraemer, parish secretary.

Q: What is an interesting historical fact about your parish?

A: Over the many years since 1857, the church building changed several times and grew too small for the congregation. A new church built at the present day location was completed in 1891. 4A parish outside1

This church burned to the ground Sunday, May 17, 1914. It was reconstructed, beginning April 18, 1915, when the cornerstone was laid by Bishop Joseph Busch. This new church was dedicated by Bishop Busch Nov. 4, 1915. A new rectory was also completed.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1965, St. Nicholas experienced another fire. The greatest loss was the beautiful altar that graced the church.

Father Alvin Quade was the pastor at the time the reconstruction was complete and ready for painting. Due to the Second Vatican Council, this painting was relatively plain in comparison to the pre-fire appearance. An image of St. Nicholas in his bishop’s miter is over the crucifix. Except for some minor changes, the present church is the same as in 1965.

Q: What is the most interesting facet of your church building?

4A parish insideA: Only three items from the church were said to have survived the [1914] fire. These were the Sacred Heart statue that is in the present day church, a large crucifix that was then damaged in the 1965 fire and a resurrection statue.

Q: What is the most popular program at your parish? 

A: St. Nicholas currently has a very active Parish Life Committee that organizes several parish events all year long. The last event was a Soup and Sandwich Supper before the Thanksgiving Mass, which had 16 different kinds of soup that parishioners made and donated. With a free will offering, the money raised was donated this year to two area food shelves. Other activities include annual parish bonfires and outdoor movie night, hayrides around the parish and a game day in January. The events are well attended by parishioners.


Meet the pastor

Father Tom Olson

Father Tom Olson grew up in Minneapolis and St. Cloud. He was ordained in May 1973. The parishes where he has served include St. Paul in St. Cloud for six years, Sacred Heart in Sauk Rapids for three years, Holy Cross in Harding for three years, St. Francis Xavier in Sartell for 11 years, and St. Elizabeth in Brennyville and St. Joseph in Morrill for six years, adding SS. Peter and Paul in Gilman to the cluster for six more years.

Olson, TomHe has been pastor at the parishes of St. Anne in Kimball for seven years and St. Nicholas in St. Nicholas for the last six-and-a-half years. Father Olson is also the defender of the bond at the Tribunal Office for the Diocese of St. Cloud, a position he has held for 37 years. 

Q: What inspired you to become a priest?

A: I discerned my vocation with family support and through prayer.

Q: What advice would you offer someone who is considering a vocation in priestly or religious life today?

A: Have a balanced life presently and know what is going on in the world and in your own life. Then you can discern a decision for priestly or religious life.