In 1889, Fr. Englebert Schmitt, pastor in Blair, supervised the building of the first Catholic Church in Tekamah. There were five Catholic families in Tekamah at that time and Tekamah was a mission outreach from Blair.
The first resident pastor, Fr. Hugh Gately, moved into a rented house in 1918. By 1921, the parish had grown to 13 families, and in 1927, a new church was dedicated to St. Patrick.
Fr. William J. Borer was appointed pastor of St. Patrick's Church of 25 families in 1931. He supervised the moving of the church building in 1958 from 11th & N Street to the hilltop location at 15th & Q Street and the construction of the parish center and hall just south of the church. By 1954, the church had grown to 56 families. Fr. Borer retired in 1971 after serving St. Patrick's parish for 40 years. Nine pastors have served Tekamah since 1971.
In 1999, The James J. Fischer Fund bequeathed a generous gift to St. Patrick's Church with the intention of building a new church in a different location. In 2004-2005, land was purchased on the west edge of town along Highway 32 to build a new church and parish hall. In September of 2005, construction began. By April of 2006, the seven large stained glass windows from the old church were removed and modified to fit into the new church windows. Our first Mass in the new church building was celebrated on September 30, 2006. The dedication was held on November 6, 2006.
In 2008, Fr. Mark Tomasiewicz came to St. Patrick's and is shepherd to the 145 families that are now St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
Since Decatur, in eastern Burt County, was one of the earliest trading posts in the state of Nebraska, it was also one of the first places where Mass was offered. Fr. James Ryan is thought to have said that first Mass in 1862, at the home of Thomas Foley, a brick layer who settled in the Decatur area six years earlier.
Another early settler, John "Johnny Smoker" Henry, bequeathed the Catholic community $700 when he died in 1880. His executor, C.C. Dunn, saw to it that the money was used to purchase a storehouse, owned by a Sioux City company, for the use of a church. This structure was moved to the west side of Decatur, west of the site of the present church. It served the parish until 1924 when James M. Connealy donated the lots on which the present frame church was built-largely with labor donated by parishioners and their friends.
From early days until 1954, Holy Family was a mission church, being attached to parishes in Lyons, Bancroft, Blair and Tekamah through the years. The first resident pastor was Fr. William Connor, and the last to live in the big white priest's house was Fr. Edgar Wortman (1957-1959).
For 50 years now, pastors have driven to Decatur for Mass and parish life. Holy Family will celebrate its 149th anniversary this year.