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"Come Home to Bechyn!"

Czech Heritage Festival


Sponsored by St. Mary's Preservation Association of Bechyn

2020 Summer




St. Mary's Preservation Association

St. Mary's Preservation Association of Bechyn is a non-profit 501c3 organization created for the purpose of the preservation of The Church of St. Mary of Bechyn and to promote the heritage of our ancestors from the Czech regions of Bohemia and Moravia who founded St. Mary's parish in 1879. 

When St. Mary's parish was suppressed in 1992, a group of parishioners worked together and explored the possibility of preserving St. Mary's.  These parishioners knew that the very existence of the historic church depended upon them.  Working tirelessly, they convinced the Diocese that they were up to the task at hand.  Now that they had the approval of the Diocese, the question was how to raise funds to maintain and preserve the nearly 100 year old church building?   The answer came from the immigrants who established St. Mary's 113 years earlier.  We will honor their heritage and carry on their love of bohemian traditions with an annual celebration! Our first Czech Hertiage Festival was held on August 23, 1992, just a few months after the closing of St. Mary's parish. 

Fourteen years later, in 2006, this core group of parishioners established St. Mary's Preservation Association of Bechyn, a 501c3  non profit voluteer organization, and officially took over the ownership and care of the church and grounds.  (St. Mary's Cemetery is under the care of St. Aloysius Church in Olivia, Minnesota)

The Preservation Association is managed and operated by a 17-member volunteer committee.  Our committee organizes and hosts the annual Czech Heritage Festival and manages fundraising efforts, including the sale of two publications "The Church of St. Mary of Bechyn a history of our parish and henryville township" and "St. Mary's Cemetery Genealogy Guide". The church building and grounds also serve as a community center which is available for rent for family reunions and other events. All proceeds from our fundraising efforts are designated for the maintenance and preservation of St. Mary's. Donations are tax deductable.

We are both honored and thankful for the overwhelming support we have received through the years.  Working together with former parishioners, families with ancestors from St. Mary's and all the supporters of St. Mary's is very inspiring and brings to mind an old bohemian saying "Bez praci nejsou kolace" (Without work, there are no kolache)!



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Preservation Pojects accomplished with the help from our supporters.  Dekuji!


  • Painting exterior of the Church - 1993, 2008

  • Replace furnace - 1998

  • Painted interior of church (funds provided by estate donation) - 1998

  • Refinished church pews - 1998

  • Replastered basement hall walls - 2001

  • Re-leaded north side stained glass windows - 2001

  • Installed tile drainage system - 2003

  • Bathroom fixtures updates (funds provided by private donation) - 2008, 2014

  • Installed reverse osmossis water system - 2014

  • Installed sewer storage system - 2015

  • Steel shingled roof installed 2017

  • Extensive tiling around church perimeter - 2018

  • New furnaces for basement and church proper - 2020

  • Relead south side stained glass windows


Future Preservation Projects

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"Without work, there are no kolache." ...Czech Proverb