As we consider the Catholic faith in Cherokee County, we truly have to credit the railroad as it brought many new people from the east and the west to settle in Cherokee County. Many of these people, mostly German and Irish, were of the Catholic faith.
As early as the 1870's, Catholic churches were erected in both Cherokee and Marcus. Years later, Maryill and Quimby also establish parishes. Although the parishes of St. John, Quimby, and Visitation, Maryhill, have closed in recent years, the Catholic faith is still vibrant in the county through Immaculate Conception Parish of Cerokee and Holy Name Parish of Marcus.
The histories of Immaculate Conception
Parish and Holy Name Parish share many similarities. Each church
location is presently in its third site. The present Immaculate
Conception Church was built in 1907 and Holy Name Church in 1915. Both
churches were built by one of the greatest church architects of the day,
William L. Steele of Sioux City. Both churches are adorned with the
finest stain glass windows of the day. Both Churches and their halls
have gone through major renovations in recent years. Both parishes,
since their early days, were blessed with Catholic Schools.
Unfortunately, both parishes lost their Catholic Schools in the late
1960's and early 1970's due to shortages of priests and sisters to serve
There are many similarities as well with those who have served the parishes over the years. Both parishes have been served by priests of the Sioux City Diocese. For a number of years, both parishes were blessed with both a Pastor and an Associate Pastor. Both parishes were served by Religious Sisters. Immaculate Conception was served by the Servants of Mary and the Franciscans and Holy Name was served by the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both parishes have been served by Permanent Deacons for over 30 years, and since 2009, both are now served by the same pastor, with residence in Cherokee.
Since the closing of the Catholic Schools, Immaculate Conception and Holy Name have maintained active programs for Faith Formation and Youth Ministry by hiring professional people to lead these ministries. The parishes have also employed professionals to enhance the liturgies in each parish. Competent professionals also serve as secretary, bookkeeper, and custodians in each parish.
Both parishes are blessed with many gifted volunteers serving on numerous committees and organizations. Both parishes are fortunate to have many men actively involved in the Knights of Columbus and equally, many women involved in the Catholic Daughters of America and the Parish Guilds. Both parishes are guided by dedicated and competent parishioners serving on the Parish Councils and Finance Committees. Both parishes are heavily involved, both financially and with volunteers, in serving their local Food Pantry.
Today, the Catholic Communities of Cherokee County serve about 850 Catholic households. There are about 550 in Cherokee and 300 in Marcus. Both Immaculate Conception and Holy Name Parishes look forward to serving the people of Cherokee County for many years to come. We realize that God has blessed us in the past, and we fully trust God will provide for us in the future.