United States: Consecration of a New Priory Church in Saint Marys, Kansas

May 01, 2023
Source: fsspx.news

The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) has a large school, college, and priory in the small town of Saint Marys, Kansas. The property was purchased in 1978. It began as a Jesuit mission, became a Jesuit college (1869-1931), and then a seminary (1931-1967) located in the heart of the United States. It was immortalized by the novel Tom Playfair by Fr. Francis Finn, who was a teacher there.

A Little History

Since the arrival of the first Jesuit fathers in 1848, St. Marys has been under the protection of Our Lady and a symbol of our Catholic Faith. Countless souls – priests, brothers, nuns, and laypersons – have come to St. Marys in response to the call of Our Lord and to labor here under His continual providence.

1848 – The St. Marys mission is founded by the Jesuits. It is the seat of the first cathedral erected west of the Missouri River and east of the Rocky Mountains, in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The town of St. Marys was created in 1869.

1906 – On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Shyne presented a plan to build a chapel dedicated to the new Jesuit seminary, separate from the parish. 300 college alumni are invited to pledge $100. The cornerstone was laid in 1907. The Immaculata, a jewel of Gothic architecture, was dedicated in 1909.

1948 – St. Mary’s College celebrates its centenary. To date, 300 priests have been ordained in the Immaculata.

1967 – The Jesuits depart. The Immaculata and St. Mary’s College fall silent.

1977 – Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre visits St. Marys and decides to set up a priory there with a view to founding a school. The SSPX becomes its owner.

1978 – A fire breaks out during renovations to the church and destroys the roof and interior. Archbishop Lefebvre returned in 1979 to call for reconstruction. In 1980, storms toppled the standing walls.

2000s – St. Mary’s Parish surpasses 2,000 parishioners. Reconstruction efforts resume, led first by Fr. Griego, then by Fr. Fullerton. Years of dedicated effort, and the unerring hand of Providence, lay the foundation for the final reconstruction.

2019 – With the money collected, the project to build a large church in honor of Our Lady is approved by Society superiors. The church will serve a growing community of more than 4,000 souls and be a beacon of hope for traditional Catholicism worldwide.

The consecration of the new Immaculata church will take place on May 3. It will be the largest Catholic church in Kansas, with two bell towers reaching almost 111 ft. (34m) and a 12-sided cupola – representing the 12 stars that crown the Blessed Virgin Mary – on which has been placed a statue of Our Lady to become the point culmination of Saint Marys. The church’s area is more than 60,000 sq. ft. (6000 m2).

The old church before and after the fire.