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Silesian Parishes: Immaculate Conception / McCook



In November 1926, Urban Kotzur and his sons, Nick and Leon, hired a boxcar to transport their family’s clothes, furniture, and other goods from Kosciusko, in Wilson County, to Hidalgo County, on the border with Mexico. As the first families to settle in McCook, a newly established town thirty miles northwest of McAllen, the Kotzurs were effectively repeating the experiences of their pioneering Polish ancestors in the 1850s—they had to construct a community out of a wilderness. Fortunately, the milder winter in the lower Rio Grande Valley enabled them to live in the open while they cleared the land and built shelter. By the spring, the Kotzurs had cleared seventy acres, and they were able to plant their first crops. In the coming months, more than a dozen families arrived, cleared more brush, and also began farming. Many of them came from the “mother colony” of Panna Maria, but some had lived in the later settlements. Kosciusko’s Frank Prukop, who had purchased his land in McCook in 1925 (one of the first Silesians to do so), finally arrived with his family on November 27, 1927. A decade later, an additional twenty families moved south from Karnes and Wilson counties. For the first two dozen years after the small town’s founding, McCook’s Catholics had to travel to Mission, 25 miles south, for religious services. In 1949, August Skloss donated one acre in the southeast corner of his farm, one-half mile south of McCook, for a Catholic Cemetery. By then, there were enough Poles living in McCook that they could establish their own congregation, and the Immaculate Conception Church was built in 1950. Each February, the church is the site for the annual blessing of the seeds. The members also observe a novena (nine days of special prayers) for the feast day of Saint Isidor, the patron saint of farmers, on April 4. A statue of the saint stands before Immaculate Conception. This was erected in memory of Monica and Isydor Moczygemba, McCook residents who were descendants of Father Leopold Mocyzgemba, founder of Panna Maria. 

Parish News

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Then and Now

Opportunities for photo scanning sessions and oral histories sharing will be posted in this area.