Corpus Christi Parish in Mooney Creek celebrated 150 years as a parish and the 100th anniversary of the church by reflecting on its glorious past

by Joe Bollig 

MOONEY CREEK — In most other communities, Rose Lee could count her family among the “old-timers.”

But not in Mooney Creek.

“My family only goes back to about 1925,” said Lee, a member of Corpus Christi Parish there. “We’re the ‘outsiders.’ We’re neither Nolls, Kramers, Schricks, or Domanns.”

Worse, her family lived just across the county line, in Atchison County.

In a certain sense, Corpus Christi Parish here in rural Jefferson County came full circle on June 10 as it celebrated the 150th anniversary of the parish and the 100th anniversary of the church. The gathering was more like a family reunion — with visitors from as far away as Maryland.

“We are very proud of our faith and our heritage,” said Father John Reynolds, pastor of Corpus Christi, Immaculate Conception in Valley Falls, and St. Joseph in Nortonville. “Our pews are filled with people whose families go back four, five and six generations here — the families who settled the area.”

An example of those old family ties was provided by Tom Noll, who brought an old wooden trunk dated “1854.” It had been brought to Mooney Creek by his ancestor Engelbert Noll, who died of cholera in 1858, only six months after he arrived in Kansas. He left his wife, Leoba, pregnant with twin girls and five other children.

Today, the parish population consists of 70 families. Many from those founding families were present at the 10 a.m. anniversary Mass on June 10. The main celebrant and homilist was Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher, with concelebrants Father Reynolds and parish native Father Ken Criqui, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

During the Mass, Lauretta Hampton and Evelyn Noll were honored as the oldest members of the parish.

Following the Mass, parishioners had a shredded pork and beef dinner. Other activities were bingo games, children’s games, a horseshoe tournament, a country store, a gift basket silent auction, and a raffle.

A historical display of photographs and items was on display. A parish history book, DVD, Christmas decorations and commemorative T-shirts were on sale as well.

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