Sacred Heart

As early as 1879, the Catholics in Sabetha wanted a place of worship to call their own. Bishop Louis Fink finally gave them permission to build in 1883, and shortly thereafter a frame church was erected. “The Church was to be a mission from Seneca, for the Reverend Father Timothy came from there to serve them spiritually. It seems that at this time Fidelity also was a mission from Seneca. In Sabetha, Mass was celebrated on the first and third Sundays of each month; at Fidelity on the second and fourth Sundays; and at Sabetha on the fifth Sunday, when there would be five Sundays in the month. Long distance traveling was done under stress, for the automobile was unknown at the time, and the horse had to be relied on greatly. A few years later, services at Sabetha were discontinued because of the small congregation. From 1896 until 1920, Sabethans had to go to Fidelity for their Sunday Mass. In 1920, Dr. Samuel Murdock donated a hospital in Sabetha to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, who took over its administration. Dr. Murdock wanted to pay a debt to the Catholic Sisters, one of whom saved his life during the war. “It is well to note, that during these times the Ku Klux Klan burned many a cross in front of the hospital. With the Grace of God, the Sisters prevailed.” Soon a small chapel was built for the Sisters, anda priest from Fidelity went to Sabetha to offer Mass. In 1921, Father A.J. Wasinger arrived in Sabetha and saw great potential for a church. Father Wasinger rallied the town’s Catholics behind the idea of building a new church. The church was dedicated in 1923. At this time, the Catholic families living in Sabetha had a population of approximately 18. According to records, the dedicatory ceremonies were held with the Right Reverend Monsignor McInerney presiding. This took place during Father Boland’s stay. The Church was to be known as “The Sacred Heart Church” by stipulation of the Extension Society. Although the parish struggled through the 20s and 30s, the 40s brought new growth to the area, and several improvements were made to the church. By this time, there were about 28 families. This grew to 89 families in the 1970s. In 1988, Reverend Conrad Pillar O.S.B. came to Sabetha. The parish kept growing due to the many industries in Sabetha, and Feather saw the need for expansion. In 1990, the parish embarked on a fundraising effort for a new church. The groundbreaking for the new church was August 30, 1992, and the church was dedicated on October 10, 1993. (Information taken church histories by Ann Christman and The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas)

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