100 years of Catholic
presenceBy Tim Wenzl
Southwest Kansas Register
St. Stanislaus Parish in Ingalls celebrated its centennial on Aug. 15. Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore presided at the Mass. He was assisted by Father Wesley Schawe, sacramental minister, Father Frank Jordan, retired in residence; Father Dermot Tighe, former pastor, and Father Anthony Suellentrop, retired.
The celebration was held on the memorial day of St. Stanislaus, who died on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Bishop Gilmore made the following observations in his homily.
“First, he was a sensitive, prayerful boy. He was more interested in what was happening inside his head and heart then he was in what was happening outside. He was a dreamer, and a refined one. His father had warned visitors not to say crude things in the boy’s presence, lest he crumble.
“Second, he was hounded by his older brother Paul and by their live-in teacher, Dr. John Bilinsky. ‘The blessed boy never had a good word from Paul,’ Bilinsky said. Paul treated his devotion and reserve with contemptuous amusement. He found no acceptance in the family that knew him best. On one occasion he told Paul ‘that this will end in my running away and not coming back.’
“Third, he had a marked love for the Blessed Sacrament. This love was so ardent that his face appeared on fire as soon as he entered a church, and he was often seen in a kind of ecstasy at Mass and after receiving Communion. That same love extended to Mary of whose feast he died 441 years ago today.
“Fourth, he had a deep love for community life. Denied acceptance in his own home, he found it in the Society of Jesus in 1617. And his brother, Paul, shocked at his untimely death regretted the way he had treated Stanislaus, and spent the rest of his life in repentance. When he was sixty, he sought admission to the Jesuits, and both brothers found the communion with one another they had missed during the Saint’s lifetime.
“So, what do we have? A prayerful boy, this dreamer, shaped and forged by family conflict, with a deep love for the Eucharist, and a deep love of community: a remarkable young many, your patron, St. Stanislaus Kostka.
“In the first reading, Mary fled into the desert to a special place prepared for her by God. You have been, you are, and you will continue to be a special place if you remember St. Stanislaus, and imitate him.”
The Mass was preceded by an open house and tours of the church that was renovated in 2003. Former parishioners and descendants of founding families traveled from St. Joseph, Minn., Peoria, Ill., Oklahoma City, Dallas, and the Kansas towns of Jetmore, Kinsley, Goddard, Hays, Wamego, Dodge City, Garden City, and Wright. Sister Catherine Therese Paulie, CSJ, pastor minister from 1999 to 2006, also attended.
The Catholic Church in Gray County took root in an area known as Belfast just west of Ingalls in 1883. A frame church was constructed by Father Michael Mennis in 1909. The present brick church was constructed in 1931, but underwent extensive expansion and renovation in 2003. Diocesan priests served the parish from 1910 to 1927. Precious Blood Fathers served the parish from 1927 until 1985. Since then the parish has been attended by diocesan clergy.
The parish includes residents of Ingalls, Cimarron, Kalvesta and Montezuma. The dinner following the liturgy was enjoyed by nearly 375 people.
The parish published both a history book and a cook book. The parish history book costs $40 and the cook book $15. They can be purchased by writing PO Box 175, Ingalls, KS, 67853.