The dedication of the recently completed Maryhill Shrine and Prayer Tower will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday. Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese will dedicate the Maryhill site. Following the dedication ceremony there will be a reception at the Maryhill Welcome Center Shelter House.
The reception will blend into the second event of the day, an Open House for Father Gene Sitzmann on the occasion of this 50th Anniversary of Ordination from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Last year a stone block replica of the Maryhill Church tower began at the sight of the former Maryhill Church. This replica of the tower was due to the efforts of longtime Maryhill Pastor Father Gene Sitzmann and members of the former Maryhill congregation to provide a "devotion and education pavilion" on the grounds at Maryhill.
It was Sitzmann's wish to see the former parishioners still have a place to come home to when they came to the hallowed grounds of Maryhill. It was that need that led him to build the shelter house and playground, named the Maryhill Welcome Center and Rainbow Playground, in 2009.
The Welcome Center is a shelter-style house for families and former members to come home to. It is designed much like the shelter houses that you find in many of the parks in Cherokee County, but there is something unique about this shelter house.
It was constructed using many artifacts from the old church, including some of the stained glass windows, and is finished with wood from the demolished church.
The shelter house is also home to a small museum, which showcases much of Maryhill's history. It is a perfect site for gatherings and reunions, or just a family-style picnic.
The memorial shrine was constructed on the exact sight of the fallen church and takes the shape of a Rosary. Visitors can discover for themselves as they walk up the stairs that led to the church that a new vision awaits them.