Holy Name Society to turn 100

Holy Name Society at St. Alphonsus Parish in Davenport celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. This stained glass window in the church, as well as others, was paid for by the society.

DAVENPORT — Holy Name Society at St. Alphonsus Parish celebrates 100 years of service this summer. The group, which is still strong today, is known best for its sponsorship of the parish’s annual fish fries.
Ron Patton of Holy Name Society said the group was established June 11, 1914, by Father George Hild, C.S.s.R. It began with 39 members. It is open to all men in the parish.
Moderator for the group was Father Richard O’Reagan and officers at that time included Frank Ganson, president; Harry Haase, vice president; Frank Huot, secretary; and John Engler, treasurer.
One of the first roles for Holy Name Society members was that of ushers, Patton said. “As the new church building was completed, new stained glass windows were installed in 1916. Two were donated by friends, and the rest were given by the Holy Name Society and the Ladies’ Sodalities.” The original windows remain in place today, one of which bears the Holy Name Society initials HNS.
In 1924 the role of the Holy Name Society took a different turn. “At the request of Father Patrick Barrett, the members undertook the organization of The Minstrel Show. The variety show was such a success it was staged annually for the next 15 years,” Patton said.
The Holy Name Society has a legacy of service to the parish. Members have filled roles as ushers, eucharistic ministers, lectors, choir members, committee members and volunteers at various parish functions. “From the beginning though, the Holy Name Society has supported Catholic education and promoted the teaching of the Catholic faith,” Patton said.
One of the most prominent achievements is the annual Lenten Fish Fry. More than 30 years ago the fish fries originally began as a social activity, with all of the fish caught by the members, Patton said. “It has grown and is now known as ‘The Best Fish Fry’ in the area.” Event organizers serve more than 800 fish dinners each Friday evening during Lent.
Today the fish fries represent an effort by the entire parish community “with the help of the Altar & Rosary Society and a cadre of volunteers, parishioners and non-parishioners alike.”
Holy Name Society remains an active and viable part of parish life at St. Alphonsus Parish.

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