Members of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Shiner have more than one reason to celebrate this year. The magnificent church building, which is part of the unofficial Texas Painted Churches Tour, celebrated its 100th anniversary. And the congregation will be celebrating its Centennial Fall Picnic at KC Park in Shiner on September 5.
âFrom generation to generation, it (the picnic) started 100 years ago, and it’s the great-grandchildren who are doing it now. It’s just a beautiful gathering, âsaid Deacon Joe Machacek, business director for the church who also helps the Shiner Catholic School. âThey come from all over – out of town – just to enjoy the food and the camaraderie. It’s like a big family reunion. There is no doubt about it, we have the best food.
Machacek was ordained a deacon in 2009, but has been a member of the church most of his life. About 800 families belong to Sts. The Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, which has been endowed with “very good” pastors and a devoted and faithful congregation, he said.
âYou hear statistics about 20% of people who go to church, but that’s far from the truth at Shiner,â Machacek said. âThe Lord has blessed us from generation to generation, and we are very well assisted. “
When the kids leave Shiner and graduate from college, they want to live in the big city until they have families of their own. This is when many of them return to Shiner and the faith community continues to grow, he said. The church is distinguished by its stained glass windows, which represent the progression of the life of Jesus; mural of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane behind the altar; copper roof and steeple that can be seen for miles from any direction.
Harvey Picha, a member of the church since 1973, grew up in Sinton but moved with his wife to Shiner, where he has roots. Picha’s grandfather was among the farmers who helped transport materials to the jobsite on horseback and wagon when the church was originally built in 1921, he said. Like his grandfather, Picha also helped build the church, while trying to maintain the structure’s original look and feel.
Picha, who was a building contractor before retiring, has helped over the years repair the rotten frames around the stained-glass windows and replace the rotten floors of the 149-foot steeple, among other projects. Picha’s four children were baptized in church and attended Catholic schools in Shiner.
â(I love) the architectural design of yesteryear. For me, when I go there, I have the feeling of being in a church of holiness, not in a modern structure. I go there and I feel at home, âsaid Picha. âWe get a lot of visitors who stop to take pictures and ask questions.
In preparation for the picnic, many volunteers will attend the Saturday Mass at 5 p.m., which is traditionally a Czech service with Czech music, so that they can start early on Sunday morning. Over 5,500 plates were served at the Memorial Day weekend spring picnic. The church expects to serve approximately 6,000 plates this fall.
The $ 12 plates will feature three meats – a Shiner picnic stew, fried chicken, and country sausage – and sides of sauerkraut, potatoes and green beans.
The meal will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the air-conditioned dining room in the KC hall. Take-out plates will be available at the drive-thru from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or while supplies last at the Kaspar Pavilion in Green-Dickson Park.
There will be plenty of frozen beers for sale, along with bottled and sparkling water, and snow cones and ice cream for kids to enjoy. Later in the afternoon, burgers, nachos, and sausage on sticks will be available for purchase.
In commemoration of the 100th Fall Picnic, Spoetzl Brewery brewed a special small batch of Labor Day Lager. Five hundred special commemorative mugs with the Shiner Brewery logo on one side and the church on the other will be available for $ 20 each to hold the special beer.
Those attending the picnic will enjoy the music inside and outside the room throughout the day, and many will take the opportunity to wiggle their hips.
The Country Store will open at 8 a.m. under the bingo stand with a variety of offerings including baked goods and canned goods, kolaches and pigs on the cover. The games will include a plant wheel, ring toss, ball toss, fish pond, and wheel of fortune, among others. A petting zoo and a train pulled by four-wheeled vehicles will also keep children entertained. Bingo will be played in the dining room from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the grocery wheel will start at 5 p.m.
The Big Country auction, which is one of the main attractions, will start at noon, and there will be plenty of unique, handmade items up for grabs, Machacek said. For example, Joe Marek and Victor Kasper make a one-of-a-kind domino table every year, and Diane Hirsch’s homemade cheese buns often make over $ 300. Large and small hand-sewn quilts made by Little Helpers of God throughout the year will be auctioned off along with homemade wine and canned vegetables.
âSometimes people get into a bidding war, and it’s fun to see who lasts the longest and pays the most,â Machacek said. “Sometimes the bidding wars are between Texas A&M and the Texas Longhorns, and it’s great fun to see people in action.”
Ranchers are donating cattle for the cattle auction, which will begin at 3 p.m. This year’s lineup will include, among other things, a registered Black Angus bull and an Oak Valley Brangus heifer.
Tickets will go on sale for $ 1 each or six for $ 5 for a chance to win 40 prizes. Tickets for the grand prize, a Kawasaki mule utility vehicle on a trailer valued at $ 17,864, will cost $ 25 each or five for $ 100, and only 3,000 tickets will be sold. Two $ 500 gift cards and two $ 250 gift cards will also be awarded to those selected during the grand prize draw. The prize draw will take place after the auction.
âEveryone always has a good time. People come from all over, and it’s a great day out for the whole family with lots of activities for the kids, and lots of great food and refreshments, âsaid Ann Duke, the church secretary.
Elena Anita Watts is the feature editor for the Victoria Advocate. She covers faith, arts, culture and entertainment, and she can be reached at 361-580-6585 or [email protected].