Church History

History of the parish: St. Patrick - Osage City   


Following the example of Fr. Louis La Cruz and Fr. Juan de Padilla (the first two Franciscan fathers who traveled with Coronado from Mexico in 1541 to convert the Indians to Christianity), early missionaries established nearly 200 Catholic missions in the Kansas and Indian territory. The missionaries began their excursion into what is now Kansas in the southeast corner of Cherokee County, then as far north as Miami County, then west as far as Fort Larned in Pawnee County, then back south to the state line. Osage City was in that territory. The Rt. Rev. John B. Miege, S.J. was director of the Vicarate Apostolic which included not only Kansas but also Colorado, New Mexico, and Nebraska. With the advent of Kansas statehood in 1861, new families began to enter into the region, and by 1870 several families established homesteads in Osage City.


On May 17, 1871 Fr. Defouri came from Topeka and performed the marriage of Thomas Ryan and Mary Ann O'Neil in the home of the section foreman near the Santa Fe Depot. Mass was also said on this day and Fr. Defouri also performed four baptisms. Several priests visited Osage City from time to time administering to the spiritual needs of the families that then comprised the Osage City Mission. Mass was celebrated in various buildings and homes in the area until 1873 when Fr Joseph Perrier from Emporia purchased a small frame building at the edge of the city (2nd and Lord Streets) and built the first Catholic Church in Osage City. In July 1874, the church was utterly destroyed by tornado. The people gathered up the fragments of lumber and debris from the nearby fields and rebuilt the church on the same site. The bell was found a few roads away and was also reinstalled in the new church.


In 1877 a new site was purchased at the corner of North 6th and Lakin Streets and the church was moved. Also built at this site was a rectory and a small frame schoolhouse. School was held there for several years for about 30 to 35 pupils. The school eventually was abandoned and the building sold in 1906 and remodeled into a home. Fr. Moore, D.D.,was the first resident pastor of Osage City. In 1896 the church was remodeled, the choir loft was added and the altar renovated. The total number of parishioners at this time was 75 families. On Friday April 3, 1908 both the rectory and the church were destroyed by fire. After the church burned Mass was said on Sundays in a small frame church called the Welch Church in the east part of the city between 8th and 9th on Lakin Street and on weekdays at the residence of a local parishioner.


This arrangement soon proved to be too small, so Fr. Degan upon his arrival in Osage City as pastor, rented the Red Men's Hall for $1.25 each Sunday and celebrated Mass there on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. On August 29, 1909 a subscription was taken up by Fr. Degan for a new church and to purchase new property. The old lots were sold and the present site purchased. Washburn & Son, architects of Ottawa, prepared the plans for the new church and the cornerstone was laid on Sunday April 17th, 1910 at 3:00 PM. Work progressed rapidly and the new church was solemnly dedicated on June 14, 1911 at 9:00 AM. Bishop John Ward, D.D., Bishop of Leavenworth assisted at the first solemn High Mass in the new church in honor of St. Patrick, the titular of the church. The celebrant of this Mass was Fr. Perrier who also said the first Mass in the first church in Osage City that he had built 38 years previously. The next addition to the parish was the dedication of Mount Calvary Cemetery in September 1914. The next recorded remodeling to the church was digging out the basement in 1951. In the early part of  1950 land was purchased at 7th and Lord Streets and plans were developed to build a school; however, this did not come to fruition. The land was sold and the proceeds used for the basement renovations.
In 1971 after the Second Vatican Council, the church was once again remodeled and redecorated. The altars, communion rail and other church statuary were sold at a "closed parish auction". The 100th Anniversary of St. Patrick was held in the spring of 1971 after completion of the remodeling project. The 'new' rectory was transported from near Washburn University to its present location in June of 1997.  During this time, under the pastorate of  Fr. Mulvaney  a hefty new project was added, the building of a new church hall. St. Brigid Hall was constructed and completed in 2001, which houses the church offices for all three parishes. After many years of the generosity and stewardship of the people, and with the final impetus from Fr. Storey to drive the debt away, the debt on St. Brigid Hall was completely paid off in 2008. With a celebratory "Burn the Note" party, parishioners gathered to commemorate the accomplishment and to boldly look forward to the future. In 2009 over thirty priests in the Archdiocese were reassigned and the Tri-Community was blessed to receive Fr. Anthony Ouellette as its new pastor.