St. Francis de Sales Parish, one of the oldest Catholic communities in Kansas, has roots dating back to the mid 1850’s. In those early days, a Jesuit missionary priest was sent by Bishop John Baptist Miege once a month from the Cathedral in north Leavenworth to celebrate Mass for the small community of 50 to 60 Catholics who gathered on the Dan Meagher Farm in Delaware Landing, overlooking the Missouri River.
The Lansing area grew rapidly with employees and their families when the Kansas State Penitentiary opened in 1864. Over the years the number of new parishioners continued to increase necessitating the building of a church. In 1884 Bishop Louis Fink, O.S.B., approved the building of a church just west of Delaware Landing. Father Thomas H. Kinsella secured a site for the church building within the city of Lansing on the corner of First and Kay Streets. The building was a simple rectangular shape with plain glass windows and straight seats and back pews.
The first baby baptized in the new church was Blanche McCarthy, daughter of Patrick and Mary McCarthy. On November 11, 1885, the first couple married there was Ellen Naylon and William Morgan. In 1903, a class of 37 children made their First Communion under Father J. W. Gormley.
In 1910, Father F. G. Geintz oversaw improvements to the church, including a new coal-burning furnace. Stained glass windows and contoured pews were installed. In the late 1920s, the pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Basehor began providing the pastoral care for the Lansing mission. At this time the Sisters of Charity began a summer school for the religious education of the children. Father Leo Ahern served as pastor from 1938 to 1944. Father Harry Imhof served from 1945 to 1960, and oversaw the installation of new hardwood floors. Parishioner Adolf Zinzer crafted a new altar. Another parishioner, Gene Young, used his artistic talent to paint a colorful representation of the Sermon on the Mount on the sanctuary wall.
On January 9, 1961, Archbishop Edward Hunkeler elevated St. Francis from its mission status to that of a parish. Father Dennis Sculley was appointed pastor and established his residence at 119 Woodland Road. The parish had grown to 240 families.
Because of the growing number of parishioners overflowing the small frame edifice, a new building was dedicated on March 4, 1979 at the corner of Ida & DeSoto. Under the leadership of Father Norbert Lickteig, the building was multi-purpose that served as the center for liturgical, educational, and social activities and events for the parish.
Fathers William Maher, Thomas Hesse, and Emilio Nebiolo served in the intervening years until the appointment of Father Charles McGinn in July 1987 and Father Frank Burger in July 1992. Father Michael Stubbs was appointed in 1996, and remained as the pastor until 2010. During this time, the parish community grew to over 500 families. The St. Francis de Sales’ community began a new chapter in its history when, on August 1, 2009, the new church was dedicated.
Father William McEvoy assumed the role of pastor at St. Francis in July 2010. Father Bill has made it a priority to unite the parish under the practical spirituality of its patron, St. Francis de Sales.
On January 27, 2013 the parish hall was named for Robert Lee Martz, a life-long and dedicated parishioner who embodies the prayerful and gentle spirit of St. Francis de Sales.
|Rev. Thomas Kinsella||-1888|
|Rev. E. Coolen||1888-1890|
|Rev. John Heuberger||-1900|
|Rev. J.W. Gormley||1900-1903|
|Rev. Patrick Smith||1903-1908|
|Rev. John Weiter||1908-1909|
|Rev. T.J. Downey||1909|
|Rev. M.J. McManus||1909-1910|
|Rev. F.G. Geintz||1910-|
|Rev. R.B. Groener||-1916|
|Rev. Eugene Vallely||1916-1918|
|Rev. M.J. O’Farrell||1918-1921|
|Rev. J.B. Molloy||1921-1925|
|Rev. Patrick Smith||1925-1926|
|Rev. J.B. McManus||1926-1935|
|Rev. A.N. Koch||1935-1936|
|Rev. Norbert Wavada, OSB||1936-1938|
|Rev. Leo Ahern||1938-1944|
|Rev. Leo Lutz||1944-1945|
|Rev. Harry Imhoff||1945-1960|
|Rev. William Finnerty||1960-|
|Rev. Donald Schwalm||-1961|
|Rev. Dennis Sculley||1961-1970|
|Rev. Edward Simons||1970-1974|
|Rev. John Harrington||1974-1975|
|Rev. Norbert Lickteig||1975-1980|
|Rev. William Maher||1980-1984|
|Rev. Thomas Hesse||1984-1986|
|Rev. Emilio Nebiolo||1986-1988|
|Rev. Charles McGinn||1988-1993|
|Rev. Francis Burger||1993-1997|
|Rev. Michael Stubbs||1997-2010|
|Rev. William McEvoy||2010-|