St. Bonifatius Bund parade, September

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On September 12-13, 1916, the small, northwest Iowa town of Alton hosted the Convention of St. Boniface. The 240 Catholic delegates who turned out included clergy, laymen, and the Bishop of Massachusetts. Among the topics considered at the convention was the church's position on the issue of Prohibition which was being hotly debated throughout the country. (The church was inclined to oppose Prohibition.)

Alton went all out for this event. The town was "decorated with flags and bunting as for the Fourth of July." The town also mounted a "grand parade" (shown above) which included bands from Alto, LeMars, and Remsen performing both "martial and sacred music."

Newspaper Accounts

The Alton Democrat

Saturday, September 9, 1916


Monday evening and Tuesday morning arrival of delegates. Members of Reception Committee will meet all trains and bring the delegates to the Columbus Club Room, which will serve as headquarters, where the delegates will register and receive their cards for lodging.

Tuesday: -- 9 o'clock high mass in honor of the Holy Ghost; 10 o'clock meeting of the Clergy; 11 o'clock meeting of the officers and directors; 2 P.M. first business session: greetings, reports, discussion of propositions and suggestions. Any delegate has the right to make suggestions in English or German; 8 P.M. second business session: same line of work followed as in the afternoon, framing of resolutions, election of officers, Songs and music.

Wednesday:-- 9 o'clock Pontifical High Mass and sermon.

After the service a grand parade will be held if the weather permits. Delegates, visitors, school children, societies of Alton and neighboring parishes will take part in the parade. The Alton Band and probably two others at least will furnish music during the parade. The parade will form at the church, move along the west line of the park, then one block east, then two blocks south to Kass' corner, then two blocks east, then one block north to Main street, then west to church where parade will disband. About a dozen autos will carry the officers and members of the clergy. Citizens living along the line of march are kindly asked to decorate their premises.

2 P.M. mass meeting in the church. Songs and music by St. Mary's choir; speeches in German and English; reading of resolutions; closing with the "Grosser Gott." All meetings are open to the public. [1]

Saturday, September 16, 1916


The Convention of St. Boniface held at Alton Tuesday and Wednesday was a great success. Two hundred forty delegates were present from all over the state, including 42 clergymen and the bishop from Massachusetts. The parade on Wednesday was headed by the clergy in autos, followed by delegates on foot. Three bands, from LeMars, Remsen, and Alton furnished martial and sacred music for the parade which was an hour in passing the line of march. More than that and better than that the meetings were well attended and profitable. The delegates were greeted when they arrived here by a town decorated with flags and bunting as for the Fourth of July and at once entered into the spirit of the occasion. The discussions covered a wide range of subjects. While the sentiment of the church is against prohibition as a church doctrine it was emphasized that the laws of the state should be observed. Social welfare in the towns and on the farms were discussed. Farmers were strongly urged to take the short course at Ames. The Maryland law which provides that the state may take the habitual tipster and place him at work was favored. Church unity in religious and educational work was praised and united effort demanded for social and civic improvement in the towns and cities...[1]