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St. Catherine Catholic Church
Catharine, Ks.

Priests Who Served

Rev. Adolph Wibbert

Rev. Martin Huhn
Aug 1876

Rev. Valentine Sommereisen

Rev. Matthew Hau, O.F.M.Cap.

Rev Joseph Calasance, O.F.M.Cap.

Rev. Anthony Berger, O.F.M. Cap.

Rev. James Muench, O.F.M.Cap.

Rev. Anastasius Mueller, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1883-Aug 1885

Rev. Martin Muelders, O.F.M. Cap.
August 1885 -August 1886
March 1890 - December 1892

Rev. Matthew Savelsberg,
O.F.M. Cap.
August 1886 -March 1890
August 1909 - 1911

Rev. Chililan Lutz, O.F.M.Cap.
December 1892 - August 1893

Rev. Emmeram Kausler, O.F.M.Cap.
August 1893 -August 1896
August 1911 - 1912

Rev. Joseph Tragesser,
O.F.M. Cap.
August 1896 -August 1900
August 1906 -August 1907

Rev. Jerome Mueller, O.F.M.Cap.
August 1900 -August 1906
February 1913 - 1914

Rev. Alphonse Hillenbrand, O.F.M.Cap.
August 1907 -
August 1908

Rev. James Steppe, O.F.M. Cap.
August 1908 -August 1909

Rev. Edward Heyl, O.F.M.Cap.
August 1912 - February 1913

Rev. Severin Scharl, O.F.M. Cap.
August 1914 - July 1916
(The daughter parish, St. Severin,

was established during his term as pastor)

Rev. Michael Neff, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1916 -September 1917

Rev. Basil Heim, O.F.M.Cap.
September 1917 -July 1921

Rev. Andrew Heeerrmann, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1921 - July 1924

Rev. Alban Hammel, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1924 - July 1930

Rev. Cyprian Gehrling, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1930 - July 1931

Rev. Angelus Seikel, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1931 - July 1933

Rev. Theodosius Mullen, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1933 -February 1934

Rev. Raphael Engel, O.F.M.Cap.
February 1934 -July 1941
July 1949 - 1968

Very Rev. Ignatius Weisbruch, O.F.M.Cap.
1941 - 1944

Rev. Nicholas Krebs, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1944 - July 1945

Rev. Ulrich Zeller, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1945 - July 1947

Rev. Joseph Calasance Meyershoefer, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1947 - July 1949

Rev. Howard Bich, O.F.M. Cap.
1968 - July 1971

Rev. Neal Mahaffey, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1971 - May 1978

Rev. Harvey Dinkel, O.F.M.Cap.
June 1978 - May 1985

Rev Earl Befort, O.F.M.Cap.
June 1985 - July 1988

Rev. Gene Emrisek, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1988 - July 1990

Rev. Michael Suchnicki, O.F.M.Cap.
July 1990 - mid 1990's

Rev. Earl Befort, O.F.M.Cap.
mid 1990's - Present

In the summer of 1876, Rev. Adolph Wibbert came from Salina, Kansas to celebrate the first Mass service.  Iw was held in the sod home of Justus Bissing, Sr. In 1879 a stone building built as a school also served as a place of worship for Sunday services.  It wasn't until May 1890 that work bean on the current church with the corner stone laid on June 29.  The parishioners provided much of the labor for the construction.. They also contributed toward the building fund through pew rent, taxes on their wheat crop and each communicant was assessed $7.00.  The men quarried and hauled the limestoen from as far as 15 miles away along the Smoky Hill River.  Native soft limestone was quarried locally on the farm of Jacob Schmidt and stone came in from Steineberg Hill, the hill visible about a mile south of town.  On October 6, 1892, the Rev. John J. Hennessy officiated at the ceremonies of the church dedication.  The church is 60' long, 40' wide at the front of the church and the church tower rises 116' tall.  During the next several years, the pews, altars, and pulpit were installed.  Church furnishing were obtained as the parishioners became more prosperous.  Statues, crosses, vestments, angels and other item were added to make it as beautiful and divine place to worship.  The beautiful stained glass windows bear the names of parishioners who donated or honored loved ones.  The small parish is still an active and vibrant group that maintain the church and keep it open.  The church is open for tours by appointment by calling 785-625-5394.  A traditional Catholic Mass is held each Sunday at 9:00 a.m.  Holy Day Mass times varies.

Catherine Church Choir and Organ

The Catharine people had a good reputation for music.  on November 22, 1887, the Saint Cecilia Gesang-Verein was organized by Rev. Matthew Savelsberg, O.F.M.Cap. and Edward Polifka.  The objective of this group was to further church music and to foster a male choir.  At the 1892dedication of the church, the choir members were: Peter Beilman, John Giebler, Athanasius Karlin, John Karlin, Karl Karlin, Peter Karlin, J.L. Mittelmeier, Andreas Schmidt, John Schmidt, John Schueler, Ambrose Staab, Cornel Staab, Jacob Staab, Raymond Staab, Frederick Walter, Peter Walter, Heinrich Wolf and their director Edward Polifka.

The St. Catherine Choir of 1908

Front: Alois Koerner, Paul J. Schmidt, Fr. Alphonse, Richard Staab.

Back: Martin Giebler, Jacob Koerner, Raymond A. Schmidt, Joseph A. Giebler,
Eugene Schmidt, Frank E, Karlin, Peter Giebler, Jake F. Gibeler.

The St. Catherine Church had many fine people who served as organist for the choir.  They were: Jacob Schmidt, Edward Polifka, Joseph Giebler, Jake F. Giebler, Johanna (Schmidt) Walters, Lucius Schmidt, Petty (Werth) Stull, Sophia Herman, Sr. Joachim C.S.A., Donna (Schmidt) Coyle, Kevin Rupp, Brenda Schmeidler and Glenda Schuetz.

The present organ, double manual Kilgen Pipe Organ, was dedicated on the Sunday before Lent in 1917.  The organ was purchased from the George Kilgen Co. of St. Louis, MO. at a cost of $1475.  The old organ was taken and installed in the new St. Severin church. 

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