Assumption Church History
Eden Valley is bisected by a line between Stearns and Meeker counties. The same line also separates the two dioceses of St. Cloud and New Ulm. Meeker County was once in the Archdiocese of St. Paul before the creation of the New Ulm Diocese in 1957.
Our parish celebrated its Centennial in 1992. In size, as to members, we compare with Luxemburg, Rockville and New Munich. Before there was an Eden Valley, there was once a thriving little town called “Logering,” located 2 – ½ miles east from here along the county line. Today the area is farmed by owners with modern farm buildings.
In 1880 August Logering built a store and post office there. As business increased, a saloon, livery barn, a blacksmith shop and a 4-room guest house went up, and soon after a small Catholic church was also built to accommodate the growing number of worshippers. The church in Logering was called Popple Bush. It was nestled among the Popple Trees. The bell was transferred to the Assumption Church.
When the Soo Line Railroad came through in 1886 bypassing Logering, it soon changed the future of Logering. Frank Smith, who owned the land that is now Eden Valley, struck a deal with the railroad and brought the train to this site and settlers moved in rapidly.
Soon the little church in Logering no longer could handle the influx of worshippers so Benedictine Fr. Joseph Bastien, who at the time was serving old St. Nicholas and Logering, would now also offer Mass every other Sunday in a hall above a butcher shop here on Main Street. By December 1892, the Logering church closed its doors.
Our present Assumption Church was then built, and on December 4, 1894, was dedicated by Bishop Otto Sardetti. In 1895 and 1896, Fr. Kastigar, stationed in Watkins, was in charge of our new Assumption Parish. On St. Patrick’s Day Sunday in 1896, he organized our St. Joseph’s Society. Fr. Isadore Hentgarten became our first resident priest and the first rectory was built by him during his 2 – ½ years here. In 1899, Fr. Nicholas Peipfer, who served for the next 35 years, brought the Assumption Parish to its full development. In 1901, our first parochial school was built, a 3-story brick structure costing $7,000. In 1926, a new Sister house for 10 nuns was built. The teachers at the first new parochial school were three nuns. Enrollment the first year – 50 children. In 1905 the balcony was extended to accommodate the extra flow at the late Sunday Masses. In 1934, Fr. Peter Gruenes (a native of Eden Valley), became our next pastor, serving 15 years until his fatal heart attack during the construction in 1949 of our next new parochial school costing $160,000. It was in operation for the next 21 years. It closed in 1971. Benedictine Sisters staffed the schools for 70 years. The school was leased to the Koinonias, who conduct regular retreats there. It was eventually torn down.
In 1937, this church was enlarged by adding two wings resembling a cruciform, for increased seating. Credit must be given to Fr. Peter for this hand carved main altar and the two side altars imported from Bavaria. They were donated by the Gruenes estate. This Eucharistic table was put together from the two side altars. The Stations of the Cross also came from Bavaria. After the death of Fr. Peter, his brother Al Gruenes, became our next pastor, serving until 1957. When he also died of heart failure, Fr. Sylvester Renner then was appointed pastor and served until 1964. Our next pastor, Fr. Fancis Hohn, served for four years. Under his leadership, a new rectory and Education Center were built. From 1968 to 1980, Fr. Peter Snyers became our next pastor. Under his term, the exterior of our church was tuckpointed and the interior redecorated in 1976. Fr. Leo Leisen followed, serving the next 12 years. With the shortage of priests becoming more imminent, especially in the Diocese of New Ulm, and with the help and approval of the Bishops from both dioceses, Fr. Leo formulated the Catholic Faith Community of Eden Valley, with the parishes of Assumption and St. Peter to be served by one pastor.
In 2013 the Assumption Parish was "twinned" with the Church of St. Anthony in Watkins in the New Ulm Diocese. Two parishes, two diocese, one pastor. Father Jerome Naduvathaniyil, OSB from India was the pastor during this time. In 2014 Father Jerome was elected abbot of his monastery and was called back to India.
Since the dedication of our church, ten priests have served at Assumption. On vocations, our parish has produced eight priests and 24 nuns. Eucharistic Adoration was changed to run weekly starting Jan. 5, 1997 with 125 members participating. In 2014 Fr. Aaron Nett became our Pastor.