A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Church Life

by Stefan Schmied
Translated by Gerald "Jerry" Thomas Boyle

      The new settlers, from the beginning of their presence in Scheindorf, tried to get a priest. Supervisor Mlinaricz showed great interest in the development of a sound and solid community and wanted to fulfill the wishes of the settlers. Subject to the approval of the count, he reached an agreement with the faithful, which stated that the count's estate would pay the cost and support of a chaplain during the time they worked for the count and the tax-free years. At the end of that time, the Swabians would take over the cost. The pastor of Erdeed, under whose care they would be, agreed to the arrangement. How long the Scheindorfers were served by Erdeed we don't know. At any rate, it was only a short time. At the same time, the people in Hamroth were supposed to get a pastor. In fact, in 1781, there already was a priest in Hamroth who made the first entries in the Church record. He also had the job to serve the Catholics in Scheindorf. This relationship to Hamroth lasted until 1861, when Bishop Haas raised Scheindorf to an independent parish, and appointed Johann Pradl, a priest from the Steiermark, as its first pastor. Pradl worked in Scheindorf until 1869.

      Since Scheindorf was not one of the larger parishes, the day-to-day work had to be done by the pastor himself. Johann Ettinger, who was pastor for many years, was given an assistant priest because of his bad health. From 1921-1943, seventeen assistants worked with him.

Scheindorf Pastors:

1861-1869 Johann Pradl

1914-1943 Johann Ettinger

1869-1883 Josef Weber

1943-1944 Stefan Brendli

1883-1886 Michael Hohl

1944-1947 Johann Ettinger

1886-1905 Adalbert Ternyey

1947-1951 Franz Fischer-Fenyi

1905-1914 Johann Erni

1951-1957 Michael Kind-Tyukodi

1957- Matthias Pfeiffer

Assistant Priests:

Franz Tillinger

Martin Tempfli

Stefan Brendli

Franz Kern

Stefan Tempfli

Anton Heveli

Michael Kunz

Georg Muller

Hans Czumbil

Alois Baumgartner

Johann Muller

Lorenz Gnandt-Geller

Martin Fugg

Wendelin Fuhrmann

Wendelin Uhl-Baranyai

Franz Hartmann

Ferdinand Flesch

      The first church was built by the faithful in 1835. The first rectory was not necessary until 1861 when the parish became established independently. One year later, on July 8, 1862, a fire destroyed both church and rectory. Since many houses and businesses also fell victim to the fire, and thus the community was not blessed with earthly goods, the people were in a terrible position. Through exemplary sacrifice, it was possible to rebuild the church and rectory. However, there was not enough money to build a bell tower. This work was not possible until 1871, when the diocese was able to give the parish financial help. On July 26, 1871, on the day of the church fair, the dedication took place.

      Bishop Haas, who had a soft spot in his heart for the parish, gave the church a bell and also an organ in 1864. In 1896, the organ had to be replaced; a new one was bought for 800 Gulden in Grosskarol.

      In the fall of 1905, there was another fire in Scheindorf. This time, the rectory was a victim of the flames. The rebuilding, which was completed on July 26, 1906, did not cost the parish much money, because the insurance paid 2,430 Kronen, and the diocese contributed 1,000 Kronen. With this help, it was possible to replace the straw roof with a tiled roof.

      In 1928, the building of the cemetery chapel cost 91,670 Lei. It was financed by contributions from parish members. The acquisition of new bells and the carrying out of needed repairs constantly needed a large supply of money, but thanks to the generosity of the people in Scheindorf as well as those overseas, the cost was always covered. In 1937, it was decided to enlarge and renovate the church. The cost was estimated at 600,000 Lei. Each family would contribute 3,000 Lei. The first contributions were raised, and the church council was able to buy the first materials. Then World War II broke out, and the building stopped.

      In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Sathmar bishops, as well as the priests of the diocese, made a great effort to introduce into the Swabian communities Hungarian sermons and hymns. We know that on May 14, 1884, in Fienen, an assembly of priests of the Grosskarol church district asked the bishop of Sathmar if he would give an order "that in those parishes, where the sermon and hymns were always in German, that they should be alternating Hungarian one week, and German the next". Although the Swabian faithful were probably not asked whether they agreed with this proposal, Bishop Schlauch introduced the Hungarian language. As a result of the effort of the priests, it is reported that in 1904, in eight Swabian parishes the sermons were only in Hungarian, but in 17 parishes they were in German and Hungarian. In spite of those orders, Father Adalbert Terneyey preached to the Scheindorfer only in their mother tongue during his 19-year tenure. It fell to his successor to introduce Hungarian sermons. Father Johann Erni, born in Schinal, preached for the first time in Hungarian on October 22, 1905, after being pastor for three weeks. How the faithful, who spoke or understood Hungarian either then or later, reacted to this act, unfortunately we don't know. This arrangement continued until World War I. In 1921, the church and school council decided to change this so that the sermons would be German three times a month, and Hungarian only once a month. The assembly agreed with this decision.

      By the year 1934, in the Scheindorf church, sermons, songs, and prayers were only in German. The goal of the Swabian faithful to stay true to their mother tongue in religion was reached.

[Published at 29 Sep 2006 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Heritage Collections Boyle Schmied