From: History of Holy Trinity Parish, published in the Parish Messenger (Holy Trinity) by Francis L. Auer, ci. 1930s.
On September the 28th, 1880, the Holy Trinity Branch of the Catholic Knights of America, Branch No. 156, was established as the German Mother Branch of the City of St. Louis. At its origin it numbered only 12 membeers but though small in its beginning it grew rapidly so that by 1899 it boasted of having a membership of 301 men and of being the third largest branch in the city. The first officers were as follows: Spiritual Director, Reverend F. Brinkhoff; president, Anton Schuette; Vice-President, Henry Volmer; Recording Secretary, Henry Leifeld; Financial Secretary, Stephan Feldmeyer; Treasurer, Frank Maier; Trustees, John Ernst, Phipip Geisel and B. Abeln; Marshal, Henry Kaiser. The officers in 1899 were as follows: Spiritual Director, Reverend Joseph Schroeder; President, Charles Welsch; Vice-President, John Bockwinkel; Recording Secretary, Theo. Reuber; Second Financial Secretary, John Fey; Third Financial Secretary, A. C. Kentzinger; Treasurer, John Feldhaus; Marshals, John Neis and Herman Kersting; Trustees, Theo. Mertens, John Hangartner and A. Kaimann; Banner Bearer, Frank Freesmeyer and J. Phil. Hammes.
On the 10th of September in the year 1882 the Holy Trinity Branch of the Widows and Orphans Society was established. The first officers were as follows: President, John Fromme; Secretary, F. J. Leber; Treasurer, John Nyhoff. The officers in 1899 were as follows: President, John Fromme; Vice-President, John Hangartner; Secretary and Treasurer, Frank J. Leber.
In the year 1884 the Holy Trinity Benevolent Society was incorporated, according to the laws of the city of St. Louis.
In the same year, 1884, the Sisters had their School Building considerably enlarged again, due to the fact that the class rooms on hand were no longer sufficient to accommodate the constantly increasing number of pupils of pupils in our school.
On June 22, 1886, after twenty years of service as Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, Father Brinkhoff, at the advice and urging of his friends and parishioners, left his field of labor temporarily, to enjoy a few months of much needed vacation, in his Vaterland, Germany. Shortly before his departure Father Brinkhoff was presented with a generous purse, which was taken up by the parishioners and the various parish sodalities. One main reason for taking up this purse was the fact that although Father Brinkhoff had been pastor of Holy Trinity Parish for twenty years, he was unable to gather together a sum of money sufficient to make the trip abroad, because his money had been generously given to charitable causes.
During the absence of Father Brinkhoff, the officer of pastor was filled by a Franciscan Father, Reverend P. Sebastian, O.S.F.—who also remained at Holy Trinity helping Father Brinkhofftill May, 1887.
Father Brinkhoff was not gone very long before the people of Holy Trinity began to realize how they had loved their pastor and how much they now missed him. Anxiously then they waited his return and planned for the same. In preparation for his return the Parishioners had the exterior of the rectory repainted and the interior was improved with several new rugs and new pieces of fine furniture. They also planned a warm welcome reception. With a glad heart they received the good news that their longed for pastor would return from Europe in the Middle of November on the Steamer, “Westerland.” With intense longing they waited his arrival. The steamer was on the way longer than usual, thus causing a little excitement. Finally they obtained the news that the steamer had arrived in New York, and also the news that the ship had an accident on high sea, that a massive wave washed over the ship, killing six people and wounding many. This news caused much dismay and no little alarm in the parish. However, on December 3, a telegram from Father Brinkhoff arrived, in which he told of his safe arrival. On the next day, Saturday evening, December the 4th, he arrived in St. Louis. A committee of the Parish received him at the station. All were glad to have their pastor back with them again, especially since he was again healthy, gay, and strong.
This month we will interrupt our series of articles on the history of our parish by substituting some current parish news, which goes down as the history of tomorrow.
On the 13th of September, Father Joseph Bremerich received a letter from our Most Reverend Archbishop, in which he was informed that he was appointed Administrator at St. Catherine’s Parish, at Riverview Gardens, in St. Louis County, to exercise his priestly ministry for the souls in that parish, during the illness of their dear pastor, the Reverend Joseph Westhues. And then, as is usually done by a priest upon receiving a new appointment, Father Bremerich visited his Excellency, the Archbishop, who then told him that he was to take father Westhues’ place till his recovery and that after that he would be made pastor somewhere in the Diocese and that his assistantship at Holy Trinity Parish had come to an end.
Father Bremerich’s absence from Holy Trinity is indeed a great loss, a loss which will be felt for years to come, for in his long stay of over sixteen years with us he has gained the love and friendship of all of us. We indeed regret to see him leave us, but bowing to the wishes of our Most Reverend Archbishop we say, FAREWELL, FATHER BREMERICH, but at the same time we express our hope, backed up with a prayer, that his days as administrator and his later years as pastor will be successful days and years as were those as assistant pastor to Father Lubeley, at Holy Trinity.
WELCOME, FATHER STOLLE
Appointed to take Father Bremerich’s place, as assistant to Father Lubeley, was the Reverend E. G. Stolle. Father arrived at Holy Trinity on Saturday, September the 25th. We welcome Father Stolle into our dear parish and hope that he will be with us many years.
Father Stolle is a son of the Church of the Ephiphany, in Lindenwood, in southwest St. Louis. After Father Stolle had completed his high school course at McBride High School, he presented himself to the Archbishop as an aspirant to the Most Holy Priesthood. Whereupon the next two years, his college life, was spent at the St. Louis Preparatory Seminary. At the end of these two years our Most Reverend Archbishop asked Father Stolle to go to the Catholic University at Washington, D. C. for a three-year course in Philosophy. Having completed his Philosophical Course we see Father Stolle again close to St. Louis, this time studying at Kenrick Theological Seminary, where after four years of arduous study and religious training our new assistant priest was raised to the high position of a Priest of God. Shortly after his Ordination, Father Stolle was appointed administrator to the Church of St. James at Potosi, Mo., during the vacation of Father P. J. Dooley, the former assistant priest at our neighboring Church of the Holy Name. There Father Stolle remained until his appointment to Holy Trinity. We hear that during his [Illeg.]
In the last little article on the history of our parish, we ended by relating the fact that Father Brinkhoff returned from his vacation in Germany on the 4th of Decembeer, in the year 1886. We continue… Shortly after Father Brinkhoff’s return the parish began to make preparations for their beloved pastor’s Silver Jubilee in the Sacred Priesthood, which was to take place on Christmas Day in the following year (1887). Though this was the intention of the parishioners, Almighty God had other plans. For shortly after the beginning of the new year, Father Brinkhoff began to complain of not being very well. At first it was deemed to be only a minor illness but gradually his condition became very serious. Many a prayer was offered up to God asking that health be restored to their dear pastor, but according to Divine Providence it was not to be so, for after a long and painful sickness, Almighty God called to himself his loyal servant and zealous priest to pay him the much earned reward for his life of sacrifices and crosses in the Holy Priesthood. On Thursday, March the 31st, at 6:30 P.M., the slow and sorrful sound of the church bells announced to the parish that the soul of their pastor had left its earthly dwelling and had gone to its heavenly abode. Great was the sorrow of the people at the loss of their pastor, for the historian of the parish in years gone by, in picturing the sight of his funeral, wrote that many a cheek was moist with tear drops and that the lips of all were moving in prayer for Father Brinkhoff, their pastor, their loyal and true friend.
Reverend Father Gadell, assistant priest at Holy Trinity at the time, who had been taking care of the parish during the illness of the pastor, also took care of the burial services of the deceased pastor. Since the parishioners could no longer pay honor to Father Brinkhoff as living, they wanted to honor him fittingly as among the dead, hence we see elabtorate funeral arrangements. Thus they thought that they could make good for what some of them had failed to do in the early days of Father Brinkhoff’s pastorate.
The Franciscan Sisters performed the work of draping the pillars as well as from the window to window. The organ loft where Father Brinkhoff had so often directed the choir, was also draped with black crepe. In the center aisle stood the stately silver casket, draped in black, in which lay the body of their deceased pastor, robed in sacred vestments. At the middle of the casket was inscribed the words: “Friedrich Brinkhoff—Alter 51 Jahre—Ruhe in Frieden.” And at the head end was inscribed “Unser Pfarrer!” About the communion railing stood many floral wreaths of evergreen, white roses and lilies which were chiefly sent by parishioners. Special notice is made in the newspaper notice of the funeral to those wreaths given by the St. Cecilian, Young Ladies and Young Men’s Sodalities.
On Sunday, April 3, the bier was carried to the church where thousands came to look upon the remains of their beloved pastor and friend for the first time. Members of the Holy Trinity Branch of the Catholic Knights of America No. 156 kept the death watch all that night till the services of the office of the dead which was begun at 9:00 A.M. The office was chanted by some 50 priests who had come from far and near. The office of the dead was followed by the Requiem Mass, the celebrant of which was the Vicar-General Muelsiepen, assisted by the Reverends Stemker, Hennes and Reis. The Sermon was delivered by P. Innocence Wapelhorst, O.S.F., of St. Anthony’s parish in South St. Louis. It is recorded that during his sermon no eye remained dry, without a tear of sadness at the thought of the loss of their dear pastor and friend. The church was far too small to hold all the people who had come to attend the funeral.
The funeral procession got under way about 10:30 A.M., in which some 200 carriages took part following the hearse to Calvary Cemetery where the remains were laid in the priest’s division. The school children and various parish societies had accompanied the funeral on foot to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church where they formed an aisle through which the funeral proceeded.
After the death of Father Brinkhoff the parish was taken care of by Father S. Gadell. Faather Gadell was administrator of the parish till May (1887) when the Archbishop appointed Father Joseph Schroeder as the new pastor of Holy Trinity Parish. Father Schroeder was a son of our parish, being born on the 17th of November in 1849 and having celebrated his First Holy Mass on March 20th in 1875. Being a son of the parish, Father Schroeder was well acquainted with our parish and the parishioners of the time considered themselves very fortunate to have him as their Spiritual Leader and Pastor. Hence the people were glad and willing to cooperate with him. [A note in the margin: Fr. Schroeder’sFr. & Mr. still alive and living in parish at time of appt. to H.T.]
Fr. Schroeder had as his assistant priest first Father J. A. Schulz, who within a few months was transferred to St. Genevieve, Mo., and he was succeeded by Father H. Thobe, who up to that time had been stationed at Charleston, Mo.
Father Schroeder, the new pastor, came to Holy Trinity on the 12th of May and on the 15th of the same month he delivered his introductory speech before a filled church. From a report of the Board of Trustees we know that when he took over the control of the parish there was a debt of $33,000.00. With the aid of his loyalty and self-sacrificing parishioners the debt was all wiped away by April 21, 1895.
In February, 1888, Rev. Henry Thobe, assistant pastor to Rev. Joseph Schroeder, organized the Mallinckrodt Club of Holy Trinity Parish. There were sixty charter members.
The first officers of the club were: Rev. H. Thobe, president; Frank Freesmeier, vice-president; Frank Leber, Jr., secretary; Fred Krey, treasurer.
The officers of the club at the time of the golden jubilee of [Illeg.] Sanders, vice-president; John Poeperling, secretary; Henry Toeniskoetter, treasurer; John Burkhardt, librarian; Fred Pilgrim, assistant librarian; Charles Appelbaum, regisseur, Edward Gurkhard, regisseur; William Bischoff, marshall; John Bussen, first assistant marshall; Frank Bockwinkel, second assistant marshall. The Advisory Board was made up of Rev. Jos. Kroeger, Messrs. Joseph Sanders, John Poeperling, Christ Hube and Charles Wunderle. In 1899 there were 75 active and 31 honorary members of the club.
The club, at its inception, carried the additional title “Musical and Dramatic” which clearly indicated its scope of activity.
From the beginning the social features of the club were fostered by providing club rooms suitable to the interests and entertainment of its members. In the early nineties the entertainment of the originality and excellency of these performances the Mallinckrodt Club soon established an enviable reputation in amateur theatrical circles.
The entertainments of the early years were given in the parish school hall (third floor of old school building on 14th and Mallinckrodt Streets) but later it was found necessary to provide larger accomodations for the numerous patrons, hence the North St. Louis Turner Hall was engaged until 1918 when our new school building with a new hall was completed.
In the February, 1913, issue of the Messenger we are informed that, during the first twenty-five years of the club’s existence approximately seventy-five entertainments had been given and that one feature which especially characterized the dramatic work of “The Mallinckrodts” was the consistency with which the club permitted only active members to assume the male roles in all performances.
Much of the success of the past years was due to the enthusiastic efforts and zealous work of the spiritual directors of the club who were always assistant priests of the Holy Trinity Parish, namely: Rev. Henry Thobe, 1888-1891; Rev. B. J. Benten, 1891-1895; Rev. Jos. Kroeger, 1895-1900; Rev. Jos. Siebert, 1900-1907; Rev. George Hildnre, 1907-1912; Rev. Jos. G. Westhues, 1912-1921; Rev. Jos. Bremerich, 1921-1937.
On February 12, 1888, a Parish Meeting was held, at which it was decided to erect a monument for Father Brinkhoff. The monument was completed on July 17, at the cost of $253.00.
On April 10, 1888, an Anniversary Requiem was sung for the repose of the soul of Father Brinkhoff. Father Muehlsiepen was the celebrant of the Mass and nineteen other priests attended. Many other Masses were offered for the soul of their deceased pastor, all showing in what a high esteem he has stood in their estimation.