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St. Mary's Catholic Church was built in 1900 by Polish immigrants near Elyria. They came to Valley County in the early 1880s and attended services in Boleszyn, a Polish church ten miles away. When this church was destroyed by a tornado a dispute arose over the location of a new church. The bishop decreed that half the money for rebuilding should go to Boleszyn and half to Elyria. With the help of volunteers, St. Mary's was completed in time for Christmas Eve mass.

St. Mary's parish ranged from twenty to eighty families and was served by twelve priests before closing in 1982. Until 1953 sermons and prayers were in Polish. Parish records are preserved in the archives of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Ord.

The original church bell was installed in 1904 and is now displayed in the cemetery. Names of some church founders are engraved on it. Four generations of parishioners are buried in the cemetery including veterans of Vietnam, Korea, and the two world wars.

Nebraska State Historical Society
St. Mary's Catholic Church on Hwy. 11 at the east edge of Lyria,
Sec. 25, T20N, R15W
Valley County
Marker 355


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Last updated 4 June 2004

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