Parish History

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.

Pastors of St. Francis de Sales

Lansing, Kansas

Rev. Thomas Kinsella -1888
Rev. E. Coolen 1888-1890
Rev. Shorter 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-