Our Town: Celestine

Herald Correspondent

The small town of Celestine is celebrating in a big way this weekend. Come and enjoy the Celestine 175th festival of the small community of Celestine and St. Celestine Catholic Church.

The four-day “rain or shine” festival will be held on the grounds of St. Celestine Church and the surrounding parks from Thursday evening, June 28, through Sunday afternoon, July 1, with the gorgeous scenery of the rolling hills of Celestine on full display.

This 175th celebration is free to attend, including free parking. Enjoy a festive atmosphere for all ages with nationally and regionally-acclaimed entertainment, a celebration of the community’s history, the heritage of farming and German ancestry, and over a dozen of activities for youth, providing four days of fun.

Huge tents and many tables and chairs will accommodate several thousand guests. Plentiful parking is available in the fields around Celestine with shuttles running continuously to bring people up the hill to St. Celestine Church carport entry area to the main grounds.

Based on the popularity of the homemade foods available at the previous years’ Celestine street festivals, fried chicken, barbecued ribs, pork chops, hamburgers, bratwursts and turkey tenders will continue to draw large crowds. To make the meal complete, all types of fresh-made sweets and desserts will be sold by local community organizations.

The area’s strong German heritage always shows itself through packed attendance at a beloved beer garden. Twenty visitors from Celestine’s sister city of Wagshurst, Germany, will be on hand to give the fest a true German flair.

Highlights include the nationally touring AC/DC Tribute Band Dirty Deeds USA, three performances by the Cincinnati Circus Company, hot air balloon rides, fireworks show, rock wall and zip line, car show, $10,000 cash raffle, Sunday daytime parade, 5K race, locally prepared food with local favorite dishes, tractor show, German beer garden, Fashions of Yesteryear contest, quilt raffle featuring 19 quilts, inflatables, kids’ races and kids’ games, dodgeball tourney, Sheephead tourney, cornhole tourney, dunking booth, Brothers of the Brush beard contest, Catholic Mass with German musicians, free admission and parking.

The festival will include performances by local musical artists Fire & Ice, Troy Miller and Bobby Reutman and party music by Boogie Tunes DJ .

Proceeds from the fest will be distributed to the organizations and charities of the Celestine community. The fest leadership team would like to extend their thanks to the large pool of sponsors and volunteers who are coming together to make the fest a success.

Father Joseph Kundek

St. Celestine Catholic Church will have Mass at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 30.

The community of Celestine and St. Celestine Catholic Church were founded in 1843 by the Catholic priest, Father Joseph Kundek. Noting the similarities to his home area of Southwestern Germany, he relayed word back that the area was ripe for German settlers to move to America. The town has continued to grow and thrive based on its German heritage over the past 175 years.

History books 

Celestine, Indiana A History: 1993-2018 is 363 pages of information on Celestine, acting as a sequel to the 1993 published book: Celestine, Indiana: A Sesquicentennial History. This 2018 book continues where Father John Boeglin left off when he wrote the 1993 book.

The history book committee for 2018 tried to cover stories that happened in the past 25 years and more. The table of contents lists 18 parts to the book, from Our Community with Township Trustees; current land owners; Celestine Community Club and Celestine Park history information; significant events, such as local fires, Celestine damaged by tornado and the Avian flu outbreak; to our humbled dead; to histories of farms 100 years and older; to special interviews with the community’s elders age 80 and older; to faith journey and the forming of St. Isidore Church.

Members of the history book committee are Clara (Rasche) Fromme, editor; Denise (Vollmer) Buechler; Margaret (Goebel) Buechler; Jenny (Etienne) Betz; Betty (Fetter) Kleinhelter; Kathy (Schnell) Knust; Carol (Oeding) Dekemper; Julia (Jochem) Hurst; Ruth (Schnell) Gehlhausen; Dorothy Rasche; Sharon (Turich) Johnson; Mary (Beckman) Lampert; Kathy (Brosmer) Bachman; Anna (Breitweiser) Knebel; Emily Fromme; Jill (Hoffman) Kelly; and Joel Johnson.

Book orders ready

The book committee met and bundled the orders of those who preordered the 1993 book and the 2018 book. Those who preordered the history book (bundled or separate) and the Beyond the Photos perpetual calendar book, can pick them up at the merchandise/souvenir stand during the fest. People should have their name checked off the list of those who preordered. Fromme, coordinating editor of the 2018 book, says people can get the Celestine commemorative cancellation stamp stamped inside the book as a souvenir at the post office in Celestine. People must go inside the post office between 8 a.m. and noon June 26 to 30 for the stamp.

For those who did not preorder, copies of both the history book and the Beyond the Photo calendar book will be for sale at the stand. Cost is $25 for the 2018 history book, $35 for a bundle of both the 1993 and 2018 books and $15 for the Beyond the Photos book.

Celestine school tours

As part of the 175th Celebration, Celestine Elementary School teachers and staff will offer tours of the historic school from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30. This will be a great opportunity to revisit the school that so many youth have attended for more than 75 years.

I toured the Celestine School in May to present a program on the history of Celestine and remarked to the teachers that many things have changed since I had attended Celestine School in the late 1960s and early ’70s. I believe the tours will be a surprise to those who attended the school, but have not had any ties to the community since their graduation.

The remodeling in the late 1980s refigured two of the four classrooms that were utilized during that time period, and now have become a library and workroom/conference room. A hallway was added to connect the two classrooms on the west to the main body of the school. The back porch area has been closed in and keeps students out of the elements.

For those who remember attending Mass in the school while the 1968 church was being built will see now a modern area from that of 1968. The cafeteria has been carpeted and tables are now stored into the walls for use when needed. In 1967, the cafeteria tables had to be carried upstairs each weekend to create more space for the setup of chairs for the parish to attend Mass. Many remember moving those tables and setting up those chairs.

I invites classmates to join me and classmate Iris Gadlage to gather on Friday night of the celebration at 6:30 p.m. for a reunion and school tour.

Youth minister position

St. Isidore Catholic Parish, Celestine, is seeking a faithful and highly motivated individual for the position of parish director of youth ministry. This can be a part- or full-time salaried position.

The candidate must be a faithful and highly motivated individual, and can develop and coordinate comprehensive youth ministry in a parish environment. He/she must be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the church. They must have a degree in religious education or campus ministry beneficial or knowledge within a Catholic parish environment with religious education and youth ministry. They must be able to multitask and be a highly organized person.

They must be available from 3 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Aug. 22 through March 20. They must be able to communicate and work with youth and adults in a parish consisting of 900 families. The position will begin Aug. 1 and applications will be accepted until July 20.

Resumes may be submitted by mailing to St. Isidore Parish, P.O. Box 1, Celestine IN 47521 or emailing Father Eugene Schmitt at eschmitt@evdio.org.

Religious education

Registration forms for religious education and vacation Bible school  registrations were mailed. Read over the information and return forms by June 18 to avoid a $20 late fee. Even if people cannot make the payment at this time, they are asked to return their forms. If financial assistance is needed, mark on the back of the form.

A new curriculum is being used this year. Information is needed to know how many students there will be for classroom assignments. Parents of incoming fifth- and sixth-grade should be sure and read their forms. In order to deal with upcoming campus projects and in order to accommodate students in the available classroom sizes, all fifth- and sixth-grade classes may take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the St. Raphael Campus.

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School will be held from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, July 9 to 12, at St. Celestine Campus.

VBS registration forms are available at the main entrances of church and on the website.

VBS registrations are due to the parish office by June 18. Must be postmarked by June 15.

Landscaping, rosary trail

A group of two to four people is needed to organize the maintenance and upkeep of the landscaping and rosary trail at the St. Raphael Campus. This group would coordinate two work sessions per year (one in the spring and one in the fall). Call the parish office at 812-634-1875 if interested in helping out with this.

Items for this column may be mailed to Kathy Bachman at 808 Eisenhower Ave., Jasper IN 47546; called to 812-482-2074; or emailed to kabachman@twc.com. Items need to be received by Wednesday night to be included in Friday’s column.

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