Archdiocese Local

Archdiocesan year in review

by Joe Bollig

What was that vast sucking sound we heard as 2008 ended?

It was the implosion of the economy, which began with the “POP” of the mortgage lending bubble and pulled in the stock market and all other sectors.

For many people, the decline of the economy and fevered attempts to stop its scary decline are what will define 2008.

For others, the year will be defined by the election of a president who symbolized a nation breaking through the old barrier of racism.

And for still others (and especially for those with loved ones in the military), this is the seventh anniversary of the ongoing war against terrorism.

Beyond the international and national events that impacted our lives, there were plenty closer to home that touched us:

• We learned that our Catholic ancestors were very busy people, as Catholics around the archdiocese celebrated the numerous centennial and sesquicentennial anniversaries of the founding of their churches.

• We experienced the loss of one of our religious orders, when the Ursuline Sisters of Paola announced that they would sell their motherhouse and merge with another motherhouse in Kentucky.

• We lost St. Ann Church in Effingham to fire.

• We experienced change, as pastoral regions were realigned and regional pastoral plans were adopted.

• We attended big events, like the Global Living Rosary, the papal visit, and World Youth Day.

• We celebrated a priestly ordination and incardinations of three additional priests into the archdiocese.

So, before the door closes definitively on the old year, let’s take a look back at the people and events that comprised the life of the archdiocese in 2008.


• Parishioners in the Nemaha-Marshall Region rallied to offer support to each other and out-of-town linemen who arrived to restore electrical power during the weeks following a mid-December ice storm.

Pro-life advocates gathered in Topeka and Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton abortion decisions.

• The Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women reorganized.


• A group of archdiocesan Catholics observed the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes by making a pilgrimage to France. Others visited Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in La Cygne.

• Members of El Buen Pastor Parish in El Salvador and Good Shepherd Parish in Shawnee celebrated the 20th anniversary of their sister parish relationship.

• The Ursuline Sisters of Paola announced they would seek a merger with the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph in Maple Mount, Ky., and sell their Paola campus.


• The Gospel of Life convention was held on April 12 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park.

• For the fourth time, the archdiocese was found to be in full compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann installed 20 deacon candidates as lectors on March 29 during a Mass at Savior Pastoral Center.


• Archdiocesan Catholics traveled to New York and Washington, D.C., to see Pope Benedict XVI on his first papal visit to the United States, April 18 to 20.

• On April 21, a fire of unknown origin destroyed St. Ann Church in Effingham.

• Abbot Barnabas Senecal, OSB, celebrated an outdoor Mass on April 26 in Doniphan, the site of the former St. John the Baptist Church, to close out St. Benedict Abbey’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

M Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of the Archdiocese of Denver and a member of the Potawatomi tribe, celebrated a Mass on April 13 at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine at the Potawatomi Reservation, north of Topeka.


• Members of the Community of the Lamb, a new religious order based in southern France, arrived in the archdiocese to establish a house in the United States.

• On May 5, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann blessed the newly completed Santa Marta community chapel in Olathe.

• Father Marianand Mendem, originally of Anantapur, India, was incardinated a priest of the archdiocese on May 15.

• Archbishop Naumann led a blessing and groundbreaking on May 18 for a new church for Holy Angels Parish in Basehor.

• Archbishop Naumann celebrated a dedication Mass on May 18 for the new Father Quigley Faith Formation Center at Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa.

• Deacon Shawn Tunink was ordained a priest by Archbishop Naumann on May 24 at St. Peter Cathedral in Kansas City, Kan.

• About 25,000 Catholics from Missouri and Kansas gathered at Kauffman Stadium on May 25 for a Global Living Rosary and eucharistic adoration.

• The Leaven won six awards at the Catholic Media Convention, May 28 to 30, in Toronto.

• Archbishop Naumann ordained Pat Sullivan, Matt Schiffelbein and Andrew Stroble to the transitional diaconate on May 31 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka.


• The Benedictine College Institute for Religious Studies and the Holy Family School of Faith merged to form the Benedictine College School of Faith.

• Eight archdiocesan Catholics traveled to Rome to participate in the International Catholic Foundation and the International Catholic Deaf Association pilgrimage to Rome.

• St. John Vianney Church in Eskridge, closed in 2004, was donated to the Flint Hills Coalition PRIDE Boosters on June 28. Plans were for it to be converted into a community center.

• The 11 pastoral regions of the archdiocese were reorganized into eight.


• The University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth announced plans to build a new football/soccer complex to be completed by August.

• Michael Schuttloffel, former adviser to the governor of Texas, became executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference.

• Pilgrims from the archdiocese joined tens of thousands of other young Catholics at World Youth Day 2008, July 15 to 20, in Sydney, Australia.

• The Antoinette Berkel Memorial Garden and Shrine were dedicated at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg.

• Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Topeka celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Fiesta Mexicana.


• Father Mark Mertes, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Overland Park, was elected to the presidency of the Jesus Caritas Fraternity on Aug. 7 during the national assembly in Cleveland.

• Archbishop Naumann presided at a Mass and groundbreaking on Aug. 9 for a new school at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Seneca.

M Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at the 150th anniversary Mass on Aug. 16 at Assumption Parish in Edgerton.


• Stephen M. LaNasa became the sixth president in the history of Donnelly College, Kansas City, Kan., on Sept. 2.

• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass at St. Joseph Church in Leavenworth on Sept. 5, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the parish. Today, the parish is combined with Immaculate Conception Parish, Leavenworth.

• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass on Sept. 7 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Holy Family Parish in Kansas City, Kan.

• Archbishop Naumann was appointed grand prior for the Northern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

• Archbishop Naumann presided over the blessing and groundbreaking on Sept. 20 for a new parish hall and education center at St. Matthew Parish in Topeka.

• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass on Sept. 21 at St. Mary/St. Anthony Church in Kansas City, Kan., to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St. Mary Parish. St. Anthony and St. Mary parishes merged in 1980.

• St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee commemorated its 140th anniversary with an outdoor Mass on Sept. 21.


• The Leaven launched redesigns of its Web site and print edition on Oct. 10.

• Archbishop Naumann gave an address on faith and politics on Oct. 21 at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at the 150th anniversary Mass on Oct. 19 at St. Boniface Parish in Scipio.

• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass on Oct. 19 commemorating the 100th anniversary of St. Columbkille Church in Blaine.

• Sister Alfonsa Bellido, former provincial superior of the United States Province of the Sisters, Servants of Mary, was elected superior general of the order during a general chapter in Rome.


• The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth closed their yearlong 150th jubilee observance with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann, on Nov. 14 at the motherhouse.

• Parishioners in the Nemaha-Marshall Region learned during Masses on Nov. 22 and 23 that their regional pastoral plan had been accepted by Archbishop Naumann.

• Mater Dei School in Topeka was named the 2008 School of Excellence by the Catholic Education Foundation.


• Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop and 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. Vespers and a dinner with priests and chancery staff were held on Dec. 11, and a Mass and reception open to all were held on Dec. 12 at Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood.

• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass, followed by a dinner, for the rededication of Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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