Sunday, September 30, 2012

Church Record Sunday: St. Francis de Sales, Houston, Texas

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Houston, Texas, was my family's parish from summer 1964 until my father was transferred out of Houston in late 1985.  The parish itself was founded only two years earlier, in 1962, so it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The building pictured above in the black-and-white photo is the original church building, through 1979.  It is now a gym and parish hall.  That was the original plan for it all along, as can be seen from its design inside, with high clerestories the only windows in the building.  The structure to the right in the photo above was the original school cafeteria, which was sectioned off from the church by a large folding door that could be opened for overflows at Mass. The cafeteria tables and benches neatly converted to pews with (hard!) kneelers.

The Risen Jesus mosaic above right hung above the altar in this church, as pictured below in a photograph of my brother Brian's First Communion class in spring 1969. 
Both the mosaic and the marble altar pictured below (behind Brian on his First Communion day) were moved to the new church building when it was dedicated in 1980, and are still there today.
This was the parish where my youngest sister Mary was baptized, and where I and all my four siblings had our first confessions and communions, as well as our confirmations.

My First Communion was on December 6, 1964.  Pages from a remembrance booklet I received that day are pictured above, and the photograph at left is of me in my First Communion dress and veil.  My mother made the dress.

Below is a picture of my Confirmation certificate, from April 20, 1966.  I took the confirmation name Jane in honor of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, who founded an order of nuns with the help of St. Francis de Sales.  This also honored my sponsor, my mother's long-time friend Frances Grembowiec.

This post is for a series on "Doors of Faith" at the Catholic Gene blog.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Those Places Thursday: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas

Front doors of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, December 5, 2009
Credit: St Josephs Catholic Church / R W / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 
St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, December 5, 2009
by soonerpa (Own work) [CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0], via Flickr
Stained glass windows, side of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, December 5, 2009
Credit: St Josephs Catholic Church / R W / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 
Charles Guokas Jr.'s First Communion class, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, May 18, 1913.
Charles Guokas Jr., May 18, 1913
Geraldine Guokas, First Communion,
probably 1935 or 1936
St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Houston, Texas, was the parish church for the Guokas family for about 50 years, in the first half of the twentieth century.  The photo above was taken on May 18, 1913, of the First Communion class of my maternal grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas Jr (1903-1967).  He would be among the boys in white at the right of that photo, as he is also pictured on his First Communion day at left.

Charles was also baptized at St. Joseph's, as were his younger siblings Agnes, Eva, and Roy.  All of them, as well as older sister Lizzie and older half-sisters Annie and Mamie, had their First Communions and Confirmations at St. Joseph's.  My grandfather and grandmother, Sara Melzina Wolfe (1908-1997), were married here.  Furthermore, his parents, Charles Sr. and Elizabeth, were buried from here.

This was also the childhood parish for my mother, Geraldine Guokas, and her siblings Charles III and Jo Ann.  They were all baptized, confirmed, and had First Communion here.  Mom went to the parish school from spring 1935 through spring 1941 (except for the 1936-1937 school year).  This was listed as my mother's home parish when she married my father in September 1954 at nearby Annunciation (so Jo Ann, by then Sister Jean Marie, could attend).

According to a Texas historical marker outside the church, 
A school founded by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament to serve Houston's Sixth Ward opened near this site in 1879. St. Joseph's parish, the third Catholic church organization in Houston was founded in 1880 to serve the school and the community. This Romanesque Revival structure, designed by Patrick S. Rabbit and built in 1901, replaced an earlier sanctuary destroyed in the 1900 storm. It features a basilica plan, extensive corbelled detailing and decorative brickwork.

The photo below of the interior of the church was taken sometime before June 1911, so this is how the church likely looked when my grandfather was growing up.
Interior, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, postmarked June 5, 1911
Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries [Public domain] via University of Houston Digital Library
This post is for a series on "Doors of Faith" at the Catholic Gene blog.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: St. Peter's by the Sea Catholic Church, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii,

Not really a Doors of Faith entry, just a pretty little Catholic church on the Big Island of Hawai'i, that Breathless and I saw on a Hawaii cruise with my parents and aunt in late May, 2010.  According to the North Kona Catholic Community website, the church was originally built in 1880 and moved to its present site in 1912.  The belfry and porch were added in 1938.  It is adjacent to Kahalu‘u’s Ku‘emanu Heiau, a Hawaiian surfing temple in Keauhou, just south of downtown Kailua-Kona on the western side of the Big Island.  Also known as "The Little Blue Church," it is a popular site for weddings and vow renewals.  There are only about a dozen pews inside and a lovely etched glass window overlooking the water, that is especially beautiful at sunset.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Hugo Aloysius Pape, 1879-1961

Grave of Hugo Aloysius Pape at St. Henry's Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.  Photo courtesy Bill Thayer
 Hugo Aloysius Pape was the son of my great-grandfather John Pape's brother Anton and his first wife, Regina Elisabeth Allers.  Hugo was born in Bödefeld, Hochsauerlandkreis, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, on  November 10, 1879. He and his parents emigrated from Bremen, Germany, on the Weser, arriving in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 5, 1883. The family settled in Evanston, Illinois. Hugo served as a private in Battery G of the Army's Fifth Regiment of Artillery in the Spanish-American War, and was later a commander of a Spanish-American War veterans group (per Evanston, 1924).
photo courtesy Jim Heckenbach

In the 1900 Census and 1901 Evanston City Directory, Hugo was living at 1131 Sherman Avenue with his stepmother Catherine.  He was a drug store clerk with George P. Mills.  In the 1902 Evanston City Directory, he was still living in the same place, but was now employed by Evanston Electric Illuminating Company.

Hugo married Josephine Didier on June 20, 1905 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Evanston.  They had five children, Andrew, Helen (later Sister Mary Hugo and Sister Helen, who served from 1985 to 1996 at her home parish of St. Nicholas), Robert, Marion, and Katherine; and eleven grandchildren. Soon after his marriage, Hugo began a 45-year career as a locomotive engineer with the North Western Railway. He also served as an alderman with the City of Evanston in the late 1930s.

Hugo died on May 3, 1961, in Wilmette, Illinois, and was buried at St. Henry's Cemetery in Chicago.

I did find one newspaper article pertaining to Hugo's time as an alderman (this story was picked up on the wires):

Based on an article I found from 25 years earlier (at left), it looks like the Hugo Pape family had lots of problems with their various Michaels/Michels family neighbors, while living at 822 (and later, 1002, through at least 1942) Mulford in Evanston!

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Church Record Sunday: St. Nicholas Records, 1888-1929

Here are some Pape family records I found from the early years of St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Evanston, Illinois, mostly through

The earliest family record - and the third recorded marriage at the church - is the second third marriage of my great-grandfather John Pape's brother Anton, to Catherine/Katherine Regina Hoffman on May 8, 1888:

Next, on August 15, 1889, there is the baptism of John and Gertrude Kramer Pape's oldest daughter, Clara Martha.  Catherine Hoffman Pape was her godmother:

This was followed a little over a year later with the baptism of second child Martha Elizabeth on October 26, 1890:

Then Maria Gertrude (always known as Rhea) on September 18, 1892; Catherine Hoffman Pape's sister Maria was her godmother:

Then the first son, Lee Henry, on January 7, 1894 (Catherine Hoffman Pape's sister Cecilia was his godmother; godfather Henry Hoffman is probably related too):

Followed by my grandfather, Paul Jacob (known as Paul Robert) on July 12, 1896 (Jacob Hoffman, probably kin to Catherine Hoffman Pape, was his godfather):

Then by Otto Joseph (known as Otto Richard or Dick) on November 13, 1898:

Notice the change in priests between 1896 and 1898?  According to the July 8, 2012, church bulletin, "In 1897, July 9 was a Friday, and the thermometer in Chicago reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Newspapers of the day noted that throughout the Midwest, people suffered 'prostrations' and even 'hysteria' from the heat. Father Otto Groenebaum, since 1887 the founding pastor of ...St. Nicholas..., died suddenly. He was 59. His death was attributed to the heat."  Also, on February 3, 1898, the original church building burned, so Otto/Dick was baptized in some other building.

Youngest son Walter Frank was not baptized at St. Nicholas; instead, he was baptized at St. Philomena in Chicago.  By 1899, John Pape was in business with Frank J. Senge at 883/885/889 Armitage Avenue in Chicago, Senge & Pape dry goods merchants.  On the 1900 census (taken in June), the family has rented out their home at 1043 Sherman Avenue in Evanston and are renting a home in Chicago, close to the store.  Two months later, Walter is born and baptized at St. Philomena with Frank Senge as his godfather. Oldest child Clara probably had her first communion at St. Philomena as well. 

The May 1904 issue of The Clothier and Furnisher indicates that Senge bought out John Pape at the Armitage address.  Therefore, I expect that John Pape and family had left Chicago by then, if not sooner.  Sure enough, they show up at 1043 Sherman in the 1904 Evanston City Directory, and second child Martha has her First Communion at St. Nicholas on May 29, 1904.  Younger brother Lee's First Communion is also recorded in this spread of the church register, on April 22, 1906:
Martha Elisabeth Pape on her First Communion Day, May 29, 1904

Meanwhile, Hugo Aloysius Pape, the son of Anton Pape from his first marriage to Regina Elisasbeth Allers, marries Josephine Didier (daughter of Michael and Margaretha Didier), on June 20, 1905, at St. Nicholas.  Jacob Hoffman shows up once again, this time as a witness:

Maria (Rhea) Pape and Paul Pape celebrate their First Communions on April 22, 1906, and May 2, 1909 (the Feast of St. Joseph, then celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter, which fell on April 11), respectively:

The four oldest Pape children (Clara, Martha, Rhea, and Lee) were all confirmed at St. Nicholas on October 28, 1906.  Note their confirmation names and sponsors below.  Clara's sponsor was her older first cousin, Emma Genevieve Pape, daughter of Anton and Regina.  Martha took Regina as her confirmation name; it was also the middle name of her sponsor, Anton's second wife (and by now his widow; Anton died about 1893), Catherine Hoffman.  Catherine's sister Cecilia (or Celia) Hoffman was Rhea's sponsor, who took her name (it looks like Cecilia) as her confirmation name.  And Jacob Hoffman (probably kin to Catherine and Cecilia) was the sponsor of Lee, who took the name John as his confirmation name:

On January 22, 1911, August S. Childs, future husband of Emma Pape, received his First Communion (probably shortly after his baptism; he was an adult convert to the Catholic faith).  Later that year, on April 22, Otto (Dick) Pape's sixth grade class and Walter Pape's fourth grade class at St. Nicholas received their First Communions:

August Childs and Emma Pape were married February 22, 1911, at St. Nicholas.  Emma's brother Hugo Pape and their first cousin Maria (Rhea) Pape were the official witnesses:

Paul and Otto (Dick) Pape were both confirmed at St. Nicholas on September 24, 1911.  Paul took Robert as his confirmation name, while Dick took Aloysius:

Finally, Walter was confirmed on May 10, 1914.  He also took Robert as a confirmation name.  His sponsor was Joseph A. Reis, the father of Gretchen Anna Reis, who later became Lee Pape's wife:

As noted on her baptismal record above, Martha Pape was married to Charles J. Bleidt at St. Nicholas on May 11, 1921.  Their son, my dad's first cousin John "Jack" Charles Bleidt, was baptized at St. Nicholas on March 3, 1929. 

I had hoped to find some death records for Regina Allers Pape (I think she died March 14, 1887) and for Anton Pape (who died about 1893), as they apparently lived in Evanston from 1883 on.  However, the first page of the death records for St. Nicholas in FamilySearch has a handwritten note that "Previous death records, viz. from foundation of Parish cannot be found."

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Those Places Thursday: St. Nicholas Catholic Church, Evanston Illinois

Photo of the first church building for St. Nicholas Catholic parish in Evanston, Illinois.  The caption at the bottom roughly translates to "Built in 1897 - Burned 3 February 1898." But the first church was actually built in 1887 - not sure why it's wrong here (printer's error?).  Photo courtesy St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Evanston, Illinois, and used with permission.
The current  St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Evanston, Illinois, under construction, 1904-1906.
Photo courtesy the parish and used with permission

St. Nicholas Catholic Church, Evanston, Illinois
today - building begun 1904, completed 1906.
Photo courtesy the parish; used with permission.
St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Evanston, Illinois, was the home parish of my German immigrant paternal great-grandparents, John (1851-1945) and Gertrude (1859-1919) Kramer Pape, and their seven children.  John appears in the Evanston city directory as early as 1882 (after immigrating in 1880), so he may very well have been one of the founding members.  The Pape family lived at what is now 1043 Sherman Avenue in Evanston for most of the period from 1882 through about 1925, and were members of this parish.  The six oldest of their seven children were baptized at St. Nicholas.  At least the youngest two boys (Otto "Dick" and Walter) attended and graduated from St. Nicholas School (established in 1887, in the basement of the church pictured in the souvenir above).  Daughter Martha was married there in 1921.  At least one of Martha's children, son Jack Bleidt, was baptized there in 1929.  I've found Confirmation records for all seven of John and Gertrude's children, and I'm sure I'll find First Communion records for them as well.

In addition, I have found marriage records for other Pape kin.  John's brother Anton married his second wife, Catherine Hoffman, there in May 1888 - the third marriage listed in the church records.  Anton's son and daughter (from his first marriage to Regina Allers, who died in 1887) were also married there.  Hugo Aloysius Pape (an Evanston alderman in the late 1930s) married Josephine Didier in June 1905, and his sister Emma Genevieve Pape married August Childs in February, 1911.  No doubt I'll find some more Baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations for their children.

According to information I found in recent parish bulletins (July-September, 2012):

The Morpers, the Didiers, and the Kaspers wanted to belong to a parish in which German-—their first language--was spoken. Going south to St. Henry, at Ridge and Devon, where there were others from Luxembourg, or north to St. Joseph in Wilmette, where Germans from Trier lived, was not easy in the time before automobiles and public transportation. The priests in the parish in Evanston-—then the only parish in Evanston—-St. Mary, insisted that English be learned and practiced. (They knew that the immigrants would never return to Luxembourg, and wanted them to speak English so they wouldn’t be at a perpetual disadvantage.) Then after five months of meeting and organizing, it happened. On Wednesday, July 20, 1887, Patrick Feehan, the archbishop of Chicago, formally established St. Nicholas in south Evanston as a German language parish, without territorial boundaries. (Boundaries were given 40 years later, in 1927, by Cardinal George Mundelein.)...the first Mass (said in Latin, of course) of and in the new, German-language parish of Saint Nicholas was celebrated in Ducat Hall at Chicago Avenue and Main Street on Sunday, August 7, 1887. 

The church is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a number of special events throughout the year running from July 2012 through June 2013.  On October 28, 2012, there will be a bilingual Mass at 1 PM, and a program on "Our Founders from Luxemburg and Germany."  Below is a copy of an article I found in the Lake Shore News (Wilmette, Illinois) of November 21, 1912, about the 25th anniversary of the parish.

image from the Wilmette, Illinois, Public Library online historic newspaper collection.

On Sunday, I'll post some images of the family records (mentioned above) from this church that I have found over the past few years.

This post is for a series on "Doors of Faith" at the Catholic Gene blog.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Thelma M. Wolfe, 1901 (or 1899 or 1900) - 1923

photo by Gale Green Brister via  Used with permission.
Thelma M[ary?] Wolfe is the second daughter of James Shannon Wolfe (1870-1949) and Anna Volce Wolfe (1879-1936).   She died rather young, at age 23, from gallstones and anemia. She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Houston, where her parents, sister Edna Viola Wolfe Ludwig (1896-1931) and her husband Richard F. Ludwig, and my great-grandfather Louis Henry Wolfe are buried.

After posting about her baptismal record on Sunday, I realized I had yet another year of birth for Thelma.  The record in Houston's Annunciation Catholic Church baptismal log indicates she was born January 21, 1899 (she was baptized May 23, 1901):

Her death certificate, where her father was the informant, gives her date of birth as January 23, 1900:

Thelma appears on the 1900 Census, which means she could not have been born in 1901.  I don't think the month below is correct either.  The informant (probably Thelma's step-grandfather, the head of the household) listed Shannon's parents as born in Ohio (they were born in Pennsylvania).

I think 1900 is most accurate as the year of Thelma's birth.  The tombstone may have not been erected until much later, possibly by her younger brother Joseph Shannon after their parents' and older sister's deaths, and he may not have known the year Thelma was born.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Annunciation 1901-1954

Back in January and February of this year, I ordered and viewed two rolls of microfilm records from the LDS Family History Library via  They were for Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston, Texas.  One roll was for  baptisms, 1880-1957, and the other covered confirmations, 1863-1955, first communions, 1914-1956, marriages, 1840-1957, and deaths, 1853-1956.  The reason the dates precede that of the church's founding in 1866 is that they also include the original St Vincent’s Catholic Church established in 1839 in Houston, which Annunciation succeeded.

Here's what I found.  Click on all images to view them in a larger format.  Image quality is poor due to the nature of the microfilm readers used.

My great aunt, Elizabeth Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers (died 1980) and her first cousin, Adam Lawrence Guokas (died 1966), were both born February 1, 1901, and baptized on the same day, February 17, 1901.  Here is the page where the baptisms were recorded (they are both at the bottom):
Here's a closeup of the records for Adam and Elizabeth.  Unfortunately, the way the pages were bound and/or the way the book was copied, the full maiden name of my great grandmother, Elizabeth Banevich (we think, in Lithuanian, it's Benevičiūtė) Guokas (18-1929), falls into the gutter and cannot be read - darn it!
The following year, both families had another child, within a month of each other.  My great uncle Justice Guokas was born July 18, 1902, and baptized in August, either the 14th or 16th.  He is the fifth entry on the page.  His first cousin, Verna Guokas Tubbs (died 1983) was born September 6, 1902, and baptized what looks to be September 15 or 16.
Here is a closeup of Justice's record (and once again, you cannot read my great-grandmother's maiden name):
Here is a closeup of Verna's record:
Sadly, Justice did not live long.  Here are the death records for the church for 1902:
At the bottom (also below), it says "On the 16th of Aug 1902 I buried from the church Justice Guokas one month old.  T[homas] Hennessy."  So Justice was baptized just before or just after he died, on August 15.  He is buried in St. Vincent Cemetery in Houston, but the grave is not marked.
I also found a couple baptismal records I did not expect. Mary Thelma Wolfe (born January 21 or 23, 1899 or 1900, died 1923), the daughter of my great-grandfather Louis Henry Wolfe's brother James Shannon Wolfe, was baptized on May 23, 1901.  Most of the Wolfes were not Catholic, but Thelma's mother Annie Volce was, so the children were baptized in the Catholic faith.
Here is a closeup of Thelma's record:
Thelma's brother Joseph Shannon Wolfe (born May 8, 1902, died 1983), was baptized on October 30, 1902. 
Here is a closeup of Joseph Shannon's record:
Finally, my parents were married at Annunciation on September 11, 1954.  Although it was not my mother's parish church at the time, she obtained permission to be married at Annunciation so my aunt, Sister Jean Marie Guokas, could attend.  At that time Sister Jean Marie was at Incarnate Word Convent next door to Annunciation, and was not allowed to go elsewhere.
© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.