Parish History

 Jesuit Father Louis Deumortier, based at St. Mary's Indian Mission, began serving settlers in the area in 1859, and he celebrated Mass in teh home of the first Catholic residents of Manhattan in 1865. The home of Mrs. J.T. Ellicott, the niece of Cincinnati Archbishop William Elder, was the center of Catholic activity in the community from 1868 until the old Methodist church was purchased in 1880. Because of anti-Catholic sentiments at the time, the 1859 structure was purchased through a non-Catholic lawyer in Wamego. The first resident pastor arrived in 1881.

In 1908, a three-story home across the street from the church was purchased, and Sacred Heart Academy, the first Catholic high school in the diocese, was opened, staffed by Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. 

In 1919, plans for a new church were developed. The brick-and-stone structure with twin towers rising 85 feet was dedicated on Oct. 31, 1920, at a cost of more than $66,500.

In 1938, the parish purchased a frame structure from the Free Methodist congregation, moved it next to the Academy and remodeled it for use as a grade school. An addition was built in 1945.

With student enrollment surpassing 200, plans were made to build a new high school. The new Msgr. Arthur Luckey High School, named for the parish pastor who arrived in 1913, was dedicated in September 1951. Before is retirement in 1954, Msgr. Luckey began planning for the construction of a new grade school. He died three months before the new building was dedicated in March 1955. An addition was completed in 1961 after the old Sacred Heart Academy building was razed.

Msgr. William Merchant, who succeeded Msgr. Luckey in 1954, remained at the parish until 1968. During his tenure, school enrollment reached 600.

The Sisters of St. Joseph left the school in 1985, and the high school was closed in 1986, with 11 seniors graduating that last year. The old frame building that had served as a grade school since 1938 burned in 1992, but in its place the parish constructed a fine arts wing.

In 1995, the Seven Dolors Church was listed on the Register of Historic Sites.

Currently, the parish is raising funds to start a multi-million dollar renovation of the church and school buildings.

Seven Dolors refers to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.  The parish was named by Mrs. J.T. Ellicott, a parishioner who was instrumental in its early development.

1865: The first Mass is celebrated in Manhattan in a private home.

1880: The old Methodist Church on the corner of Pierre and Juliette is purchased for $1,400.00 to become the first Catholic Church in Manhattan.

1881: August 5, Rev. A. T. Ennis is appointed by Bishop Fink of the Leavenworth Diocese as resident pastor of Manhattan, with Elbow, Ogden, and McDowell as missions.

1908: Sacred Heart Academy is founded with the purchase of a large house  diagonally across the intersection from the church.  The Sisters of St. Joseph  of Concordia open the school with about 40 students in the grade school and first year of high school.  Each year thereafter, another year of high school is added so that by 1911 a full four-year course is offered.  It is the first Catholic high school in the Concordia Diocese and the first complete high school course in Manhattan.

1919: Due to the increasing size of the congregation, construction of a larger, brick  church is begun.  Dedicated in 1920, it measures 66 ft. wide by 124 ft.  long, and has twin towers rising 85 feet high.

1925: The old frame rectory, built in 1885, is sold and moved away.  Mont Green,  who built the church, constructs a modern eight-room rectory of brick to  match the church.

1930: A pipe organ is purchased from the First Presbyterian Church of Manhattan and is used until 1982, when it’s replaced with a new 21-rank Wicks organ.

1931: Rev. A. J. Luckey becomes Pastor and remains until his retirement in 1954. His dedication to Catholic education leads to the building of a parish high school that is named in his honor and dedicated in 1952.  Seven Dolors Grade School is later built and dedicated in 1955.

1957: The Sisters of St. Joseph convent building and chapel at 731 Pierre are completed.  Since 1985, the convent has served as the Parish Center.

1966: Father Richard Weixelman becomes the first member of Seven Dolors to be  ordained a priest.

1982: The parish is divided to begin the new St. Thomas More Parish in Manhattan.

1985: The Sisters of St. Joseph convent building becomes the Parish Center.

1984: The Family Center Budget Shop at 710 Colorado is built, at first serving as the Seven Dolors Child Care Center.

1986: Monsignor Luckey High School is closed and remodeled to house the  growing Child Care Center.

1995: Seven Dolors Church is listed on the Kansas Register of Historic Places and  included in the National Historic Register.

1995: Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration begins in the Chapel.

 

Priests who have served the Parish:

1881-1884            Msgr. A.T. Ennis †

1954-1968            Msgr. W. Merchant †

1884-1886            Fr. C.D. Curtin †

1968-1971            Fr. J. Grennan

1886-1889            Fr. J.F. Lee †

1971-1981            Fr. J.A. Moeder †

1889                      Fr. E.F. Dooley †

1981-1983            Fr. N. Diabal

1889-1892            Fr. B. Martin †

1982-1985            Fr. R.L. Vering †

1892-1893            Fr. L.H. Schulze †

1983-1993            Fr. J. Morgan

1893-1896            Fr. G. Lecoutre †

1993-2005            Fr. L. Grennan †

1896-1898            Fr. R. Loehrer †

2005-2015            Fr. J. Popelka

1898-1899            Fr. J.C. Regan †

2015-Present        Fr. K. Ninemire

1899-1907            Msgr. A.J. Luckey †

 

 

 

Pastors who gave assistance to the Parish:

1954-1963            Fr. J. Whitty

1975-1981            Fr. C. Kramer

1963-1970            Fr. M. Kieffer

1981-1988            Fr. D. McCarthy

 

Priests who have served as Parochial Vicars:

1937-1938            Fr. B. Jaster †

1968-1970            Fr. J. Wolesky

1938-1939            Fr. M. Hogan †

1970-1971            Fr. R. Dreiling †

1939-1942            Msgr. R. Menard †

1971-1974            Fr. L. Grennan †

1942-1944            Fr. E. Sinner †

1975-1976            Fr. Chris Conklin †

1944-1949            Rev. R. Schott

1985-1988            Fr. B. Sterrett †

1949-1952            Fr. R. Dreiling †

1988-1991            Fr. K. Weber

1952-1954            Msgr. G. Landoll †

1991-1993            Fr. R. Weber

1954-1957            Fr. W. Killian †

1993-1994            Fr. J. Popelka

1957-1960            Fr. H. Kuhn †

1994-1997            Fr. M. Wesley

1960                      Fr. K. Kenny †

1997-1999            Fr. U. Tin

1960-1961            Fr. J. Moeder †

2001-2001            Fr. M. Elanjimattathil

1961-1966            Fr. R. Aschenbrenner †

2005-2007            Fr. G. Chalbhagam

1962                      Fr. M. Ptacek †

2008-2009            Fr. J.M. Thomas

1962-1963            Fr. D. McCarthy

2009-2010            Fr. F. Montoya

1963-1966            Fr. L. Metro

2015-Present        Fr. C. Ruiz-Santos

1963-1971            Fr. M. Kieffer