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Evansville, Indiana
November 6, 1987     The Message
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November 6, 1987

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Father John L, Boeglin, left, is the new pastor at SL, Celestine. He succeeds Father August Busch, opposite page, right. The interior, immediately below, is described as in a parish publication as "simple, yet rich looking," with statuary, pews, walls, and carpeting giving predominance to the altar of sacrifice and the tabernacle. Names and dates on cemetery markers, below, testify to the German heritage of the area. I I I I p Dubois County parish is ,very St. Celestine owes its beginning to the driving force behind much of the development of Dubois County and surrounding areas: Father Joseph Kundek. The Croatian-born, German-speaking missionary had been assigned to the wilderness area in 1837. A year later, the Bishop of Vincennes ap- pointed him pastor of St. Joseph, Jasper. Soon he had established churches at Ferdinand, Troy, Fulda and Celestine, At Calestine, Father Kundek used the same method as he had used at Ferdinand to build a church. He bought large tracts of land, laid them out in lots and sold the lots to finance the church construction. Father Kundek bought the land at Celestine in 1843 from Bernard - Merkel and Boniface Fehr, two emigrants from Baden, Germany, accordi to a parish booklet published in 1968. The priest platted 166 lots with three north.south streets and eight east-west streets, Twenty acres was reserved for the church, which was named to honor the bishop, Celestine de la Hailandere. The first log church at Celestine was dedicated in October. 1844; Father Kundek came from his parish at Jasper, to hold services once a month on Saturdays. The first resident pastor was Father Mathias Leutner; his first counselors were George Fisher, Franz Miller, Bernard Merkel and Andrew Brang. The parish publication describes an unusual event in the early history. A priest in Switzerland, Father Joseph Wirz, had-asked to come to the Diocese of Vincennes, in 1853, He disappeared from Switzerland, but there is no record of his arrival in America. In September, 1854, a man who :-. claimed to be Wirz presented himself to the bishop at Vincennes, who sent him to be pastor at Celestine. Suspicion was aroused about the man, "because of the fact that he never signed his name to baptismal, funeral, or any other kind of church records, but always some other wording in distorted writing." The Benedictines at St. Meinrad began an investigation, when "by chance a passport was found that contained the name of Michael Spichting, a teacher from the vicinity of the disappeared Father Wirz in Switzerland." According to the story, Spichting was the man who played the part of the priest for 22 months at Celestine. When the investigation began, he, t In 1863 "i build a new winds on th tracts were new church Father J thony; there began at Cel original parJ : alscL.establis ather t 1865, durin ,, June 24. 181 The thi] tober 17, 18 church was which was Finis. New ps very vibrani 1987; he re "The fi first time p assc:iate pa excited." Father ] ment in the lot in comrr from Siberi finding out He says "We know' power more St. Celestine Catholic Chur Post Office Box 1 Celestine, Indiana 47521 Pastor: ................................ Mass Schedule Saturday: .....................  ......... Sunday: ............................ ... A I