Parish Profile – St. Therese, Vineland

Categories: Around the Diocese

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St. Therese of Vineland, Vineland, MN

The parish was founded in 1954. There are 24 households. The following questions were answered by the parish’s pastor, Crosier Father Jerry Schik.

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

A: The Little Flower Church building (on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation) harmonizes Catholic spirituality and Native American spirituality. The north wall is slanted from floor to ceiling to imitate the slanted wall of the teepee of the Native American spiritual leader. The south wall contains stained glass windows in imitation of Father Louis Hennepin’s churches. The two spiritualities harmonize rather than conflict. This photo of the Book of the Gospels cover (right) was crafted and beaded by Joni Boswell.

7-17StTherese_BibleQ: What is the most popular tradition at your parish?

A: Caring for the parish cemetery is important for the Catholics and Native Americans who have relatives buried there. Both have a deep reverence for their dead. A beautiful new crucifix and an attractive cemetery sign were erected two years ago.

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

A: The “parish community” was really founded by the Benedictine sisters of St. Joseph. They arrived on the scene in 1941 and built strong relationships with all of their neighbors — white and Native American alike. Thanks to the Benedictine sisters, a strong faith community was in place when the Little Flower Church was built in 1954.

 

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Father Jerry Schik

Crosier Father Jerry Schik grew up as a member of Holy Cross Church in Butler. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Francis University in Fort Wayne, Ind., and graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville in 1972 with a master’s degree in biblical theology. He was ordained a Crosier priest May 10, 1975. Since then, he has served as a novice director for the Crosiers, as a parochial vicar and as pastor of several parishes. Father Schik’s special interest in parish work has been ministry to the unemployed, serving as the leader of a support group for job seekers.

He has ministered in the Duluth Diocese, the Lincoln (Neb.) Diocese and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He has ministered at St. Therese Parish for six years and currently serves with Crosier Fathers Greg Poser and Dave Donnay as a pastoral team for the parishes of St. Rita in Hillman, Holy Cross in Onamia, Sacred Heart in Wahkon and St. Therese in Vineland. Father LeRoy Schik, a priest of the St. Cloud Diocese, is his brother.

Q: What inspired you to become a priest?

A: As a child I was always inspired by the liturgy of our church, and I wanted to be a priest for her liturgies.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your daily life as a priest?

A: Being with people and seeing the spirit of Jesus living in each of them.

Q: What was the theme of a favorite homily that you preached?

A: I like to preach about care for God’s creation, and I always speak about the Catholic Church’s three patron saints of ecology: St. Francis of Assisi; St. Therese, the Little Flower; and St. Kateri Tekakwitha. St. Kateri’s feast day was July 14.