Local Parishes

‘Unite our future in Christ’ at heart of St. Pat’s 150th

Father Mark Mertes, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, passes out pens and paper for Trivia Night on April 26. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The 150th anniversary celebration of St. Patrick Parish here is so big that organizers couldn’t limit it to just one day.

That’s why the parish, founded in September 1873, scheduled multiple events between Sept. 2023 and Sept. 2024.

The most recent events were a Stations of the Cross dedication on Feb. 9, a parish Trivia Night on April 26 and an anniversary Mass with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann on April 28.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann celebrates St. Patrick’s 150th anniversary Mass on April 28 with the assistance of Deacon Dave Cresswell, left, and St. Patrick pastor Father Mark Mertes, right. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

It’s in keeping with their mission statement: “Appreciate our Catholic roots, unite our future in Christ.”

“The process of celebrating our Catholic roots and uniting our future in Christ is way more than an event,” said Father Mark Mertes, pastor since 2019.

The reason for a yearlong celebration is to create a sense of common parish history. In recent years, longtime parishioners have seen new communities welcomed into the parish but might know little about them. This summer, the images in the church’s photo directory will be complemented by historic information.

Art Garza and Chloe Burns serve parishioners at the dinner following St. Patrick’s 150th anniversary Mass. LEAVEN PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE

“One of my goals is that [we create] a narrative of the parish history that people can read,” he said. “Most people don’t know very much of it. Some know everything, but that’s just a few.”

The year’s celebration will end with the celebration of another parish milestone: the 75th anniversary of the opening of St. Patrick School in 1949. This will coincide with a 33-day consecration of the parish and school on Sept. 8.

To view more photos from the celebrations, follow us on Facebook.

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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