Catholicism in Hutchinson
This dream of the new Church of the Holy Cross began many years before the Bishop proclaimed a third parish for Hutchinson. The love of Christ and Catholicism is evident as early as 1541 when Father Juan Padilla was murdered on Kansas soil by hostile Indians. A monument to him stands near Council Grove, Kansas.
It was Father Charles de la Croix who is recognized as one of the first priests to enter Kansas as a missionary. He came on horseback from Missouri to work in the mission fields.
A Jesuit, Father Van Quickenborne established the first mission in Kansas to serve the Kickapoo Mission in 1836. The first Bishop was sent to Kansas in 1851. The Reverend John Miege, S.J. arrived in SI. Mary's, Kansas, to establish his Pro-Cathedral.
It was Father Paul Ponziglioni who established twelve stations in south central Kansas. The first Mass on record in the city of Wichita was celebrated in 1869.
In the fall of 1872, the Reverend Felix P. Swenbergh organized the first Catholic congregation in Hutchinson. Father Swenbergh resided in neighboring Newton and came to Hutchinson on weekdays to say Mass. The first church services in Hutchinson were reported to have been held in a granary. When the old courthouse was built in Hutchinson, Father Swenbergh held Mass there every fourth Sunday.
In 1878 Father Swenbergh began to build the first Catholic church. Reverend Joseph Hartman was appointed the first resident pastor in 1882. During his three years in the ministry, the parish rectory was erected, the church finished and the debt paid.
In 1898, the Reverend M. Heitz purchased the lots for St. Teresa's Church. The wood structure was moved to the site of the present rectory. I! was on May 18, 1911, that the distinctive, brick SI. Teresa's at 5th and Poplar was formally dedicated by Reverend M.G. O'Farrell.
The importance of a Catholic education was not lost on early Kansas settlers. Reverend J.F. Kelly, the fifth priest to serve St. Teresa's, began a Catholic School in a two-story house at 210 East Fourth.
Reverend J.A. Pompeney, the pastor from 1899 to 1904 built the first school for the early Catholic settlers in Hutchinson. The school was completed on the site at 213 East 5th. In 1919, the freshmen were added on to the school of the age. In 1920, the sophomores were added until finally in 1923, six students graduated from St. Teresa's High School.
In the early years, the dreams of Catholics in Hutchinson assumed various forms. One of these dreams resulted in the establishment of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish. On July 21. 1927, Father Patrick Nagle, pastor of SI. Teresa's, sought permission from the diocese to build a chapel for the Spanish people. At the time of his request, a total of $3,000 had already been collected to build the chapel.
A year later on July 23, 1928, Father Gabriel Perez, an Augustinian Recollect, took possession of the church. The first baptismal record is dated August 11, 1928. The parish grew and in 1938, the Precious Blood order took over the parish.
A new parish church was built in South Hutchinson in 1964. Presently the parish of 300 to 400 families is shepherded by Father Colin Boor. He was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe on June 23, 1973.
This is the love of the Catholic faith that continues to inspire the present Holy Cross parishioners who, like their forefathers, have followed a dream.