125th Anniversary
Diocese begins 125th anniversary celebration at Concordia PDF Print E-mail

Concordia — The Diocese of Salina began its 125th anniversary year with a prayer service in the original cathedral and an admonition to look back with a positive rather than a negative frame of mind.

More than 200 people gathered Sunday night at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church to mark the celebration year.

The Concordia church served as the cathedral from the diocese’s formation in 1887 until the see was moved to Salina in 1945.

“One part of any celebration is looking back, and that is part of what we will do: what has led us up to this time, our history and events and happenings,” Father Barry Brinkman said during the solemn vespers.

Father Brinkman is pastor of the Concordia parish but also is serving as diocesan administrator in the absence of a bishop.

He urged people that in looking back, they do so in a positive fashion.

“Looking back can be a double-edged sword. It can either inspire you or not, a positive or a negative,” he said. “From the negative side, you might wish today was more like yesterday, but that’s impossible. It evokes sadness, frustration, anger and even despair.”

But looking back while keeping God in mind will produce the opposite effect, he said.

“We see that the goodness of God has guided us, in times of joy and sorrow, failures and successes. That gives us a sense of hope and prepares us for a hope-filled, faith-filled future,” he said.

Solemn Vespers Remarks from Salina Diocese on Vimeo.

The Diocese of Concordia was established on Aug. 2, 1887, carved from the statewide Diocese of Leavenworth, and expanded 10 years later to include another five counties along its eastern border.

A diocesan-wide celebration will take place on July 29 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina.

Father Brinkman reviewed several challenges that the young diocese faced, and he asked listeners “to see if they are eerily similar to those we face today.”

• The new diocese needed to nurture and promote the faith and preserve Catholic identity. “We were a minority on the Plains, in very small communities. The diocese had to nurture this Catholic identity,” Father Brinkman said. Today, Catholics still are just 14 percent of the geographic region’s population.

• “We have never been a materially wealthy diocese,” Father Brinkman said.

He noted that in 1883, four years before the diocese was founded, Father Joseph Perrier, the first resident pastor in Concordia, appealed for financial help from Leavenworth Bishop Louis Fink.

Solemn Vespers Service PDF Print E-mail

The following video is from the Solemn Vespers service on January 8, 2012 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Concordia, Kansas.  This service was the first of many to take place throughout the Diocese of Salina to celebrate our 125th Anniversary as a diocese.

Solemn Vespers - 125th Anniversary from Salina Diocese on Vimeo.

History book marks diocese's 125th anniversary PDF Print E-mail

Salina — The Diocese of Salina launches the celebration of its 125th anniversary with a 144-page, full color book available for purchase.

That 125th birthday isn’t until Aug. 2, but the diocese will begin marking the milestone with activities starting in January.

Planning for the publication of the book began three years ago.  Doug Weller, editor of The Register, wrote the text and gathered archival and current photographs. éditions du Signe, based in Strasbourg, France, designed and published the book, contracting with a free-lance photographer for interior and exterior pictures of churches in the diocese.

The books are on sale at parishes for $35, which includes sales tax. Those who live outside the diocese may contact the Chancery; a handling and shipping charge will be added for books to be mailed.

About 4,400 copies were printed.

The Diocese of Concordia was established in August 1887, but Spanish Catholic missionaries had come to the area in 1541. Traders, trappers and explorers crossed the region in the early 1800s, and Jesuit missionaries followed.

The first bishop for the region was appointed in 1850. When the Kansas Territory was opened to settlement in 1854, Catholic pioneers began arriving, and the Church’s presence grew accordingly.

By the time the Concordia Diocese was formed, itinerant priests already had been traversing the prairie, celebrating Mass and offering the Sacraments in settlers’ homes until groups of Catholics were large enough to form a parish and build a church.

The history book chronicles the considerable changes since then, as well as providing capsule histories of each of the current parishes.

There also are sections on the religious men and women who served here, Marymount College, Irish priests and former parishes.


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