Letter to the Editor 1-10-20
REMEMBERING THAT CONCORDIA ONCE WAS A CATHOLIC BISHOPRIC
I have always enjoyed the beauty of Concordia, it is a city rich in diverse histories. Fewer and fewer people are aware that Concordia was once a Catholic Bishopric; meaning, it was once the “Catholic Diocese of Concordia, Kansas,” or in Latin, Concordiensis. When Kansas Territory was established from 1854 to 1861, Pope Pius IX was Pope of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. There were already Catholic settlers as far west as Jewell, Kansas. (or even further west by that time). It was his successor, Leo XIII who formally established the “episcopal see” or Diocese of Concordia on August 2, 1887. It remained in place until the year 1944 when the Diocese was formally moved and transferred to Salina where it remains today.
The old name: the Diocese of Concordiensis, is now a “Titular See,” meaning that bishops can be given that as an honorarium, without the need to actually live or serve there. Church officials often call “Titular Sees” the slang term of a "dead diocese” that no longer functions.
In its heyday, the then Diocese of Concordia, Kansas, was well-equipped with a majestic Cathedral over which presided a Bishop, and a contingent of priests, monsignors, deacons, nuns, and other religious helpers --- including a strong Catholic school. Now, many people see the buildings; yet sadly, many of the memories are gone. It is interesting that “Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church” served as the diocesan cathedral. I have attended Mass in that church several times; although some years ago. Its stonework, built by knowledgeable stonemasons was built to last. And, it has.
Now, Pope Francis is the current Pope. If he ever makes another visit to the United States, I hope he will visit Concordia, Kansas. Most certainly, he would enjoy and appreciate the history and ambiance of the landmarks --- some of which can still be seen. The most important thing is that Kansans, whether they be Catholic or not, remember the proud legacy that Concordia, Kansas, enjoyed for over half a century as a full-fledged Roman Catholic Diocese that served so many people — so well.
Sincerely, James A. Marples. Esbon, Kan.