Milroy’s St. Michael’s believes in unity; proud of unique structure

Photo by Jody Isaackson Pictured in front of their uniquely structured church, Church of St. Michael in Milroy, are parishioners Beverly Welu, Melvin Welu, Adam Welu, Ann Felton, John Zwach, Dean Zwach, Jean Schmidt and Mike Welu. These people spoke of how friendly and unique their church was and that it offered many children’s programs as well as adults.

MILROY — There’s always that certain something that holds people to a specific ideal, truth or religion, sometimes even one specific church.

St. Michael’s 320-member congregation in Milroy believe unity is a strong feature of the church. But parishioners say they are also proud of the church’s structure.

“The shape and style is unique,” Jean Schmidt said.

Melvin Welu agreed that the configuration of the physical part of the church was unique.

“The sanctuary makes you feel close to the altar,” Welu said. “It’s kind of spread around it. The farthest pew back is nine pews on the sides.”

Mike Welu added that the center was only seven pews deep.

“Wherever you sit, you feel that you’re part of the Mass. There is never a spot that you can’t see the altar.” Beverly Welu said.

On the outside, the church is a square box with its hat on sideways. The front entrance flattens a corner with huge picture windows that create a sun porch in the narthex.

The parishioners are also proud on how they make guests feel welcome inside their church.

“When you walk up the steps, greeters open the door and give you a hearty ‘Good morning,” Beverly Welu said. “It makes you feel special.”

“When I walk into church, I have this sense of home and family,” Ann Felton said.

“I like that you know everybody,” Dean Zwach said. “We’re all neighbors getting together.”

“You know everybody,” Welu said. “We are in close supportive relationships. We have a lot of warmth and goodness among our parishioners. It’s one of our attractive qualities. Nothing paves the way for church growth in a small community like a reputation of kindness, honesty and helpfulness. Our church has a very effective way of spreading the goodwill and the awareness of our church. It is the willingness to be of service.

“On Sundays when we come together to celebrate the Mass, it is the highlight of our week. Sharing together the Eucharist and the Word, and sharing our lives with each other in prayer. Lifting each other up when we are down and celebrating with them when they are happy or having a special occasion. They are forgiving when we good up. That is what makes us a family in Christ, one body. I am so proud to be a part of this parish.” 

John Zwach also said that the Holy Eucharist (Communion) was what he liked best about his church.

“So many people are involved in helping this parish function and we are blessed. That is why I am proud to be a part of this parish,” Schmidt said. The church also offers a children’s liturgy for those ages 4-9. There were nine Sunday confirmands at St. Michael’s this year. They get confirmed as a area faith community with St. Mary’s in Tracy and St. Paul’s in Walnut Grove.

The CCW (Council of Catholic Women) organization put on many breakfasts, which support the needy, the pro-life organization, St. Nicholas Day and scholarships to be used during the year.

The youth work together during the year making Belgium cookies, putting on a soup-chili cookoffs and a candlelit Valentines dinner.

The vacation Bible school includes 4-year-olds to sixth grade, with the older children helping as leaders and helpers. 

The Church of St. Michael includes the youth in its choir and many help at Sunday liturgy as cantors, lectors and ushers, and drummer for the choir. At times, it even puts together a tone chime song or two on special occasions.

Adam Welu is the drummer for the choir.

“There are so many ways for young people to get involved, like singing in the choir and going on mission trips,” he said.

The Church of St. Michael has its worship service worship at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays. It has two organists, Carole Snyder, and Doris Cauwels. The congregation shares its priest, the Rev. Robert Mraz, with two other churches, St. Mary’s in Tracy and St. Paul’s in Walnut Grove.

 The Church of St. Michael was established in 1958 with the first church being built in 1904. On March 7, 1961, groundbreaking took place for the new church that stands on main street today.