Hatteberg's People - St. Bonafice in Vincent

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Vincent, Kan. -- Christmas in the country can be a special place. And so it is in Vincent, Kansas.

That's in Ellis County. Now there is this little Catholic Church that sits out in the middle of the prairie. Folks there don't get much publicity about what they do.

The fence line leads you to St. Boniface Church. Surrounded by farmland and steeped in history, the historic church is the center of activity for over 30 farm families that help make up the Parish.

Known locally as the Pearl of the Prairie, the church takes on added significance as parishioners create a Christmas Nativity Display that has been part of their lives for over 80 years. The Nativity scene is one of the things that holds people like Carol and Randy to the church.

Begun by Father Callistus Rectenwald who arrived at the parish in 1927, he created the Nativity display resembling the city of Bethlehem. Folks at the church, simply call it 'the Crib'.

Now, as in years past, the children and the adults make sure the display, or 'crib' as they call it is on display for all to see. It contains rocks from 105 countries all over the world.

To those who worship here, it isn't a just a 'display', it, like the church, links the people together both in memory and spirit.

The church, through Faith and food and prayer, is what holds the community together. Father Callistus knew that and when it was time for him to depart this life, his prayer was to not be a burden and to be relevant to the end and die with his parishioners. The Sunday after Easter 1980, he had just finished his sermon when he collapsed in the doorway and passed away.

St. Boniface is just a little Church on the Prairie, but to its congregation, it's history, it's people, and its past, builds the foundation for the future.

The church is open Sunday afternoons in December and on New Years Day. Tours are available by calling 785-735-2767.

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