They Do More Than Cook.
We are accustomed to seeing our Knights across the serving counter at benefit breakfasts or fish fry's. During the fall, many of us buy racks of well-prepared smoked ribs. Some of these events are focused on raising money for families or individuals in need because of illness or a catastrophic event in their lives. At other times they are raising money for their community and emergency fund. These funds allow them to respond, sometimes quickly, to special needs and other community or parish projects.
A good example of special needs are the upcoming KofC fish fry's. A part of the money will support our Catholic Youth Ministry. Remaining proceeds from the fish fry's and other events help them support seminarians.
Current Seminarian Support.
Currently KofC 760 is supporting two seminarians, both scheduled to be ordained later this spring:
Deacon James "Jimmie" Schibi. Council 760 has provided annual financial support for Jimmie's seminarian studies for several years. He attended High School in St. Paul and then entered the Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmetsburg, Md. On May 20, 2017, he was ordained a Deacon at the Church of The Magdalen in Wichita. Following a brief assignment in Rome, Deacon Schibi will be ordained as a priest in May of this year. We look forward to "Father" Jimmie Schibi celebrating a mass at St. Francis de Heironymo Catholic Church later this year.
A Mission Outreach — Deacon Michael Aung Naing Win. Michael is from Monhla, Myanmar (Burma), Where he is associated with the Missionary of St. Paul Congregation. He was ordained as a Deacon last year. Deacon Michael (also spelled Aungnaingwin) is one of three seminarians currently assisted by our Pastor, Father David Michael Htun. Until now he has relied on borrowed computers. Approaching ordination this spring, he needed his own laptop to prepare homilies, courseware for religion classes, internet communication and writing. In February of this year Council 760 contributed money to cover the cost of a laptop, software and some ordination expense.
For more information about Knights of Columbus Council 760, follow THIS LINK.
Congratulations to the following students for receiving the sacrament of Confirmation Saturday evening, February 24, at St. Francis Catholic Church by Bishop Carl Kemme:
Thank you to Suzie Diskin and Keaton McCracken for preparing these students for their Confirmation.
... The Bulletin is Always With You?
If you have a smartphone or a computer you can access the St. Francis - St. Ambrose bulletin from anywhere. The Sunday bulletin is posted to the parishes website every Monday afternoon. We usually keep at least a couple of months of past bulletins listed on the home page.
On a Desktop Computer:
On Your Smartphone:
Access the Bulletin:
On Sunday, February 18, our St. Francis Catholic Youth Ministry hosted their annual Senior Citizen's Valentine's Dinner. The dinner and desserts were delicious as always. But even more important was the opportunity for our youth to enjoy the companionship of the community's older citizens.
Many of the guests won door prizes. Carry-out dinners were taken to some seniors who were unable to attend.
A Very Special THANK YOU to our CYM Members, Adult Advisers and Parents Who Helped arrange and host this wonderful event!
The feast of St. John Bosco will be celebrated on Sunday, January 28 (Parish Youth Day). The celebration begins with 10:00 Mass at St. Francis, followed by pizza and ice cream at the parish hall. All youth from both parishes are expected to attend, along with their parents. All parishioners from both parishes are invited.
Founder of the Salesian Society, John Bosco was born to poor parents near Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy, in August of 1815. His father died when he was two, and much of his education came from his mother and a parish priest. At age nine he dreamed of a life dedicated to the education of young people. On becoming a priest in 1841, he chose as his life's work: "Da mihi animas cetera tolle" ("Give me souls, take all the rest" Gen. 14: 21). He began his apostolate among poor young people with the founding of the Oratory, which he placed under the patronage of St. Francis of Sales. He led young people to Christ through his educational style, pastoral practices and a strong determination in the face of many hardships.
When he passed away on January 31, 1888, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him Father and Teacher of Youth. He was canonized on Easter Sunday of 1934.
* Confused? St. Bosco shows up with three first names. His Italian given name birth was Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco. The most popular variation of his name is "John." However, he is also referred to as "Don" which is an honorary title given to priests in Italy. There are colleges and high schools named after him that have used one or the other variation.
It is the season of giving — and of late-year tax planning. This might be the perfect time to make a donation that will beautify the St. Francis church gardens and make it safer for our elderly and students.
St. Francis is starting a lighting project that will both beautify the church grounds and make the area safer for evening prayer events, as well as PSR students and staff. Approximately fourteen lamp posts will line the sidewalks of the garden including the walkway to Prairie Mission Retirement Village. Light posts will also illuminate the area between the church and rectory.
The Project is Underway ...
... but we still need your help. So far most of the trenching has been done and conduit has been laid between electrical power sources and the post positions. On December 3rd, the Parish Stewardship Council selected a post light head. The decorative heads will be of a Romanesque design that will complement the arches of the church windows, garden bell tower and the steeple. Now, the heads and posts can be ordered, concrete bases can be laid and work will be continued for an early spring completion. Some of the money is in place, but we will need some more financial support to meet the estimated $15,000 project cost.
If You Would Like to Help:
Donations may be mailed to the church rectory or put in the weekend collections. Please be sure to earmark your donation for the "Lighting Project" on your envelope and the check memo line. Envelopes for this may be found in the back of church, or use your own. Out-of-town donations may be mailed to.
St. Francis Catholic Church
208 Washington Street
St. Paul, Kansas 66771
Your generosity is greatly appreciated!
Remember - Two Masses:
This year, because Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, that day is not only the Fourth Sunday of Advent, it is also the Vigil of Christmas. And yes, the Sunday obligation to attend Mass and the Christmas obligation to attend Mass must be fulfilled with two different Masses. The Christmas Mass Schedule is below:
December 23rd & 24th Mass Schedule:
Saturday, December 23rd — 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Francis
Sunday, December 24th — 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. Ambrose
Sunday, December 24th — 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Francis
Christmas Mass Schedule:
Sunday, December 24th — 5:30 p.m.Mass at St. Francis
Monday, December 25th — 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. Ambrose
Monday, December 25th — 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Francis
Thursday, December 21st from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ** Changed from 20th **
Saturday, December 23 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am or until all are heard.
Father David will also be in the confessional every Saturday from 4:30 p.m. until 5:20 p.m.
Quite an Honor to Have Them Here ...
On the weekend of December 2-3 three representatives from the Loretto Archives, Nerinx, Kentucky, visited St. Paul to learn more about their history, and about us. The group consisted of: Loretto archivist, Sister Eleanor Craig; new archivist, Katie SantaAnna and videographer, Neil Tucker. The end destination of their trip is Denver where they will be part of the closing of the Loretto Center on December 8. Along the way they were stopping at important Loretto historical sites including Santa Fe Trail sites near Kansas City and Dodge City.
But the Osage Mission site has been on Sister Craig's mind for several years. During a visit to the Kentucky Motherhouse in 2013, Sister Craig told Rosie and I that the Osage Mission story was one of her favorites. Sister Craig is very aware of the family relationship among the three "Hayden Sisters":
Sister Craig asked for some details regarding the Loretto's time here at Osage Mission - St. Paul. They left with much of the information and more will follow. But more importantly, she wanted to meet some of our parishioners — especially those with ties to the Lorettos or St. Ann's — and we did not let her down. Saturday afternoon and evening several locals joined them during a cemetery tour and at the museum. Sunday morning another group of parishioners greeted them after 10:00 Mass. Sister Craig, Katie and Neil left around 11:30 Sunday and I think everyone believes the visit was a success. It will also open the door for a future exchange of information between the Loretto Archives and St. Francis Parish.
Some Reference Information:
1. Mother Bridget's time at Osage Mission was interrupted by a temporary assignment in Cape Girardeau, Missouri from 1863 to 1866. For more information about Mother Bridget Hayden and her sisters, follow THIS LINK.
2. For more information about the Loretto's St. Ann's Academy, follow THIS LINK.
3. Many thanks to Kelly Standley, his mother, and his crew of workers for getting St. Ann's ready for the Loretto visit.
— By Ron & Rosie Brogan.
A Legacy of Beauty.
St. Francis Catholic Church is blessed with many gifts from the Passionist Order which maintained a presence here for more than ninety years. One of those gifts is our beautiful garden which remains decades after the Passionists and their monastery-retreat house disappeared. The garden holds many reminders of our past including the stone tower which contains the bell from the original Osage Mission log church.
The "Monastery Gardens" are a treasure that attracts visitors from around the region. It is also a place of quite solitude for parishioners and residents of nearby Prairie Mission Retirement Village.
Needless to say, the gardens require care. The heavy maintenance and mowing are done by parish employee Larry Coomes with a lot of part-time help from Charlie Brown. But much of the planting, watering and plant care is done by a not-so-small team of parish volunteers.
The "team" is not directly tied to any specific parish organization. Looking at a list of team members is like browsing the parish directory: Carter, Coomes, Chambers, Corn, McCracken, Pecha, VanLeeuwen, Vitt, .... . And it is not just individual family members. The daily work crews often include children, spouses and several adult members of some large families. It is a parish stewardship project.
While hesitant to accept the title of "Team Leader" Diane Coomes gets the nod from other team members. According to Diane, it is group of folks who love the gardens and want to keep them looking great — 'Everyone knows what to do and when it needs to be done.' While that seems pretty simple, watching the amount of work done by these women and their families reflects a whole lot of pride, effort and love!
A Garden Tour With Captions:
The St. Francis - St. Ambrose Parish School of Religion kicked of the 2017/2018 program on Wednesday, September 6th. It started with a 7:00 p. m. Family Mass for parents and students followed by ice cream served in the parish gardens. The formal class schedule begins Wednesday, September 13. Program details and class schedules are available in the bulletin and the back tables of the church.
Our Religious Education Program is made up of four components, one of which makes our local program unique among many parishes of the diocese:
*Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS).
Item #2, The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program, is somewhat unique to our local religious education program. We are among a small number of parishes in the Diocese of Wichita that offers it. Also resident parishioner, Frances Casey, is among a handful of degreed catechists in the diocese.
The CGS program embraces the Montessori theory of education — an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's personal desire for development. Teaching is done in one of three "atrium" rooms in the PSR building where a team of five recognized Level One CGS catechists emphasize learning with hands-on materials. Many of the materials, which are sized for the hands of K-3 students, have been made by local artists and craftsmen.
For more information about the Catechesis of Good Shepherd Program, including our local as well as the global programs, follow THIS LINK. A copy of the September 2017 CGS newsletter is linked below.
Some Reference Information:
For more information about our joint-parishes Religious Education program, including current staff and schedule, follow THIS LINK and sub-links. Information about the historical banner photo is also included on that page.
In the July 7 article we told you the church pew cushion project would probably be complete during September. But the seamstress in Stark had a cancellation, and when Terri started feeding groups of cushions to her, completion went much faster than planned.
Because of limited shop space Connie's Upholstery could only handle 8 to 10 cushions at a time; but she brought in a helper to speed things up. When they started altering cushions they kept Terri and her car moving.
As noted in the earlier article the small gap at the end of outside aisle pews will remain. Shorter center pews, at pillar locations, will have a similar gap. Thanks to Terri for overseeing the project; and to Connie's Upholstery in Stark for her great service. And special thanks to Father David and the Altar Society for backing the project.
It Was a Busy Year!
Council 760 recently submitted their Annual History Report which summarizes activity for fiscal year 2016—2017 (July 1, 2016 — June 30, 2017). We knew it was a busy year but when the activities were compiled it was, indeed, a very active period. Most importantly, as a faith and charity-based fraternal organization, we provided valuable service for our area, state and national communities.
In total, Knights of Columbus Council 760 returned $36,780 to community in the form of financial aid to families in need, seminarian support and donations to local or other organizations. A summary of some of the work is provided here and a link to our annual report is provided below:
In addition to the direct donations noted above, Council 760 also sponsored two additional community breakfasts and our annual Smoked Ribs campaign to raise money for our emergency and general operating fund. This money allows us to support other projects and causes during the year. Some of these include: The local and district basketball free-throw contests both of which were in St. Paul; punt pass and kick; autumn pro-life rosary and ice cream social and 4th Degree honor guards for our church or other area churches. Open the link below for a copy of our annual history report.
 Pennies from Heaven is an EDAP (Emergency Disaster Aid Program). Individual councils make an annual donation to sustain a state fund which, in turn, is made available to the councils to provide instant support for local emergencies. For example, the $200 donation, noted above, was made quickly allowing the family to buy clothing, and other necessities destroyed by the fire. Then, our council was reimbursed from the state Pennies fund.
When a St. Francis parishioner noticed an ad on a Southeast Kansas sales site she saw potential for a church improvement project. Our Lady of Lourdes was doing a complete interior renovation and some items were being discarded — among those items were pew cushions.
A Stewardship Project Gets Underway.
St. Francis has looked at pew cushions in the past, but the $25,000 cost kept the project on a back burner. Curious about the advertisement, Terri Morrow made a call and then drove to Pittsburg to investigate. The cushions appeared to be in good condition, but Lourdes had included new cushions in their renovation plan.
After checking with Father David and Altar Society President Elaine VanLeeuwen, she got a “GO” and called to make arrangements to pick them up.
There was a catch. Lourdes had a contractor and a group of parishioners ready to gut the interior of the church on Monday, May 15, and the cushions had to be picked up by 9:00 that morning or they would be hauled away. Terri rounded up a pickup truck, and some help, to go get what we thought would be “about fifty cushions.” That should be enough to fill the front pews-bay of St. Francis.
We showed up at Lourdes on the 15th to discover that “about fifty” was closer to "one-hundred.” But with the help of a Lourdes volunteer we were able to get most of the cushions in the bed and cab of the pickup; then we stuffed every part of Terri’s car but the driver’s seat. If there had been an accident, she was well-protected. The cushions were taken to the PSR Building in St. Paul for inspection and some planning. A few issues had to be addressed:
So what will this stewardship project cost? When completed, the cost will include lots of driving, coordination, phone calls, planning, lifting, cleaning, sweating, moving and a few cuts and scrapes. But the total cost, to be paid by the St. Francis Altar Society, should not exceed $700! Instead of filling only the front bay of pews, there will be enough cushions to fill nearly the entire church. (There has been some discussion about loaves, fishes and cushions!)
A Project Overview Slide-Show:
Don’t Move The Cushions.
Existing spaces in center pews should be filled by September. However, since the first set of cushions entered the church, several have been slid to an opposite end of pews. This can damage the expensive foam underlay and is creating more work for the team. Also, moving a pew cushion to your end of the pew means someone else sits on wood. That is not stewardship.
 So Far, Terri's Team consists of herself, Rosie Brogan, Jean Diskin, the St. Francis Altar Society and Ron Brogan.
 When completed, pews on all of the two center rows will be fully covered with the exception of about 15” on the outside ends of the column pews. There will be a similar end gap on all of the outside (window) pews.
Mark your calendar now for the events of August, 12, 13 and 14, 2017. The Diocese of Wichita is "bringing the Spiritual Life Center to Saint Paul". The Center Director, Father Ken VanHaverbeke, will conduct a three-night Parish Mission Retreat on Saturday/Sunday/Monday. Those who know Father Ken also know this will be a rewarding and enjoyable experience!
Mission Theme: Encountering Christ With Joy!
"The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness." Pope Francis
The three-night Parish Mission will allow parishioners to reflect upon the good news of Jesus Christ, The Joy of the Gospel
The Mission will give parishioners the opportunity to experience the good news through preaching on the scriptures, experiencing reconciliation through the sacraments, the company of fellow parishioners, prayer and music.
Topics Will Include:
Format for the Mission: August 12, 13, 14
Father Ken VanHaverbeke.
Father Ken VanHaverbeke is a diocesan priest of the Diocese of Wichita. After graduating from Kansas State University he attended Mount St. Mary's Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, and was ordained in 1991. He has served as assistant-pastor or pastor of: Church of the Magdalen, Wichita; St. Mary's, Newton; St. Joseph, Wichita; Christ the King, Wichita and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita. Between 1999 and present he also worked on several Chancery assignments including: Continuing Education for Clergy, Chaplain of the Guadalupe Clinic, Vicar for Priests, Director of the Office of Stewardship and is currently the Director of the Spiritual Life Center, Wichita.
As the pastor of several parishes, he gained experience in shepherding souls and cultivating the gifts of preaching, teaching and healing. He understands the day-to-day relationship of a pastor with parishioners. Father VanHaverbeke is an accomplished speaker and writer. Using either microphone or keyboard, his presentation is spirited, articulate and always punctuated with some delightful "Father Ken" humor. We think you will enjoy his Saint Paul Mission Retreat!
They Do More Than Fry Eggs and Sausage:
Folks get accustomed to seeing Knights at the serving line at benefit breakfasts, or handing out Tootsie Rolls in the back of church. These events are intended to raise money for local families in need or to support special church or civic projects.
But they do more than that — a lot more. Over the past few years they have repaired some local homes, supported our altar servers and ran local youth sports events. For those who have been up in the church tower, the metal stairways between the choir-loft and bells levels were lifted in place and installed by a team of KofC members.
In the photos above, Grand Knight Matt O'Hara is repairing one of the Lords Prayer signs a mile east of Beechwood Hill. Nobody told him to do it. He was just doing what Knights do!
This year's May Crowning was during 7:00 Mass on Wednesday, May 3. Cold, windy weather and a very wet church garden kept the services inside; but did not dampen the enthusiasm of the our PSR students.
The 2017 class of second and third grade First Communicants teamed with older PSR students to do the crowning ceremony. Following Mass, celebrated by Father David, the PSR students formed in a Living Rosary that encircled the front pews of the church.
The 2017 First Communion Photo is Here.
Congratulations: to students from both parishes for receiving their 1st Holy Communion on Sunday, April 30, at St. Francis Church: Jackson Beachner, Caroline Bradshaw, Khloe Brown, Ava Dent, Alejandro Dominguez, Joselin Dominguez, Perla Dominguez, Josey Garten, Lillyanne Gonsalves, Alexis Hernandez, Juan Hernandez, Nancy Hernandez, Omar Hernandez, Emmy Madl, Taylor Madl, Kaydra Mathis, Callie McKinzie, Aubrie Norris, Brec Norris, Kinley Pecha, Ashley Richenburg, Leslie Rodriguez, Tristan Seme, Becca Simpson, Devyn Taylor, Ava Treiber, Cassie Vitt & Devin Vogel.
Special Thanks to: our Pastor-Fr. David, PSR Director-Suzie Diskin and Instructors Keisha Richenburg, Heather Vogel and Amanda Dent (shown in back row) for their hours of work this year preparing the students for this very special day!
Father Joseph Van Leeuwen C.P. was laid to rest in the St. Francis de Hieronymo Catholic Church Garden Cemetery on Saturday, April 1. Father Joe was the first Passionist Priest to be buried in our garden cemetery since Father Ferdinand Madl's death in June of 1972.
During his priesthood he served as Provincial Secretary, Associate Pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Chicago, Illinois; Pastor at Holy Cross Immaculata Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio; Newman Center Chaplain at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL.; and Pastor of the African American Parish in Birmingham, Alabama. He spent the past 20 years at the Passionist Mission in Southern, Kochi, India where he died unexpectedly on February 28. He was 81 years old.
Father Joe's funeral Mass was concelebrated by eight priests, including seven Passionist Priests who traveled to St. Paul from locations in the United States and India:
After the funeral the Altar Society hosted a community luncheon at St. Francis Parish Hall.
Slide-show may be paused by clicking on a photo; stepped through one at a time with the side arrows; or resumed by clicking "Play."
Father Joseph Van Leeuwen's funeral service on Saturday, April 1, will be a solemn, historic moment for St. Paul. Father Joe is the first Passionist priest to be buried in the church garden cemetery in nearly 45 years. His will also be the first burial since the Passionist Monastery closed in 1983.
The Passionists recognize St. Francis Catholic Church as an important part of their history. Osage Mission was among their earliest western locations as they began their expansion west of Missouri in the late 19th century. In keeping with the importance of Father's funeral and burial, we expect at least seven Passionist priests including their Provincial.
With the Passionist presence in St. Paul gone for thirty-four years, the local memory of their ninety-three year presence here has faded. Those who do remember the Passionist era know it was a glorious religious experience. We became accustomed to having many priests, brothers, and students; and Mass schedules that accommodated any possible need. And there was the Passionist choir--Oh My Goodness those young men could sing!
We had our own small slice of Rome here in St. Paul and we didn't realize it until it was gone.
The Passionist Presence:
During this week before Father Joe's funeral our "News" page is featuring two articles about the Passionist presence here in St. Paul. Follow these two links:
Part 1 — The Passionist Era Begins Amidst Promise, Doubt and Turmoil. A brief look at a tumultuous period when the Jesuit and Loretto Missionaries were departing, leaving our parish and town in uncertainty. The article also discusses the work of an early Passionist Historian who was sent to Osage Mission to record the work of their predecessors and take stock of local facilities.
Part 2 — The Passionist Influence is Expanded. An overview of the substantial commitment the Passionists made to St. Paul in terms of capital investment and in saving our church building. It also describes our community life in a monastery setting.
Some Reference Information:
 The last Passionist funeral and burial here was also a St. Paul man. George Ferdinand Madl was born in Eudora, Kansas in 1900 and moved to St. Paul with his family in 1906. He professed to the Passionists in 1918 and was ordained on February 1, 1925. Father "Ferd" celebrated his golden Jubilee on April 1, 1968 and passed away on June 5, 1972. His grave is on the south end of our garden's Passionist cemetery field.
 The two articles above are from the A Catholic Mission website (www.acatholicmission.org).
Parishioners from St. Francis, St. Ambrose and surrounding parishes are invited to attend two evenings of religious talks and confession services at St. Francis Catholic Church in St. Paul. This mini-retreat will include:
Please take this opportunity to step away from your day-to-day routine for a moment and reconnect with God in prayer and absolution.
Father Joe Van Leeuwen, C.P., 81, passed away on February 28, at his home, the Passionist community in Kochi, India.
Norman Eugene Van Leeuwen was born on January 28, 1936 to Anthony "Tony" and Eugenia Van Leeuwen, St. Paul. On July 9, 1957 he professed to the Passionist Order. On May 23, 1964 he was ordained as Father Joseph Van Leeuwen in honor of the beloved Father Joseph Garland, a long-time pastor at St. Francis Parish.
Father Joseph served various states-side parish ministries during his career. In 1991 he offered to be among some Passionists, on a six month visa to work at a recently formed Passionist Mission in Southern India. In 1996 he was asked to return to India for about five years. He initially thought two years would be enough, but his missionary service to India became his life's work.
Funeral, Burial Services and Community Reception.
Father Joe's funeral will be at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 1st at St. Francis Catholic Church, St. Paul, Kansas. Burial will be in the Passionist Cemetery in the church gardens. Father's funeral services will be honored by a large number of visiting Passionist priests and a Knights of Columbus honor guard. All St. Francis and St. Ambrose parishioners are encouraged to attend both the funeral services and the community reception-luncheon at the St. Francis Parish Hall. The reception will begin immediately after the services.
Some More Information:
In May of 1952 the Most Reverend Mark K. Carroll, Bishop of the of the Diocese of Wichita, made a trip to St. Paul on behalf of the Pope. He was here to convey one of the Catholic Church’s highest honors to a St. Paul resident and St. Francis parishioner.
William Whites Graves was born near Manton, Kentucky, on October 26, 1871. His birthplace was in an area similar to St. Paul, a settling spot for eastern Catholics during the 19th century . In 1881, his parents moved young Will and his siblings to a new Kansas community known for its strong Catholic roots and excellent educational opportunities—Osage Mission.
During the next ten years Graves mingled with the original Jesuit and Loretto missionaries, watched the completion of a large stone church and was educated in the Osage Mission schools. The Graves family was not affluent, and when the superior of the local Jesuit finishing college noticed the boy's intellect and spirit he offered free tuition. Graves seized the opportunity. He graduated from St. Francis Institute for Boys, with honors, in 1891. The experiences of his first ten years at Osage Mission likely played a defining role in the remainder of his life.
Graves described his success in life as a series of opportunities, and how he reacted to them. After completing his education, he had opportunities to work in his father’s store and to teach. He tried both, and then moved on. He wanted to be a printer or journalist. He entered journalism with a short stay at the Fort Scott Lantern; and then a two year assignment with the Pittsburg/Girard World newspapers. While working for the World he became a valued employee of it's editor Abe Steinberger. More importantly, he met Abe’s office manager, Emma Hopkins, and he married her on April 30, 1895.
After the World folded in late 1895, opportunity knocked again. With assistance from a local friend W. W. Graves bought the Osage Mission newspaper, then known as the Neosho County Journal. In 1902, another ‘knock’--and this was a large opportunity! He was asked to bid on starting and publishing a weekly newspaper for a well-respected national vigilance organization. In spite of woefully inadequate printing capacity he put together a compelling proposal and won.
Revenue from the Anti-Horse Thief Association Weekly contract helped Graves build the most modern publishing operation in southeast Kansas. In addition to the A.H.T.A. Weekly, he printed the Kansas Knights of Columbus newspaper and periodicals for other state and local customers. New contracts brought additional revenue and better capabilities.
Improved capacity fed his other passions. Graves loved history and he was a writer. He wrote countless publications and brochures for the A.H.T.A., our church and other organizations. But the work that propelled him to prominence was a series of books he published, or co-published, about the history of southern Kansas, prominent area Catholics and the role the Osage, Jesuits and Loretto’s played in the settlement of Kansas. Many were centered on the Catholic Osage Mission and its staff. In addition to his books, he submitted numerous papers to the Kansas State Historical Society; and he was a founding officer for both the Kansas Catholic Historical Society and an early Neosho County Historical Society.
Our Most Esteemed Citizen.
It was Graves’ life-long dedication to the Church and our history that brought Bishop Carroll to St. Paul on May 31, 1952. At an honors banquet in the school gymnasium, the Bishop was joined by the president of the Kansas State Historical Society, college presidents, local and state press executives, the Chief of the Osage Nation and a group of local friends, farmers and businessmen. Graves was showered with awards and accolades that evening, but one honor stands out:
The Bishop, on behalf of Pope Pius XII, presented W. W Graves with a scroll notifying him he had received the Vatican Knighthood of the Order of St. Gregory the Great . This special honor is bestowed upon Roman Catholic men and women in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church, It is the highest honor possible for a Catholic layperson. In Graves’ case the knighthood recognized his literary contributions to the Church.
On July 22, 1952, William Whites Graves collapsed and died of a heart attack at his home. The obituary on the front page of the St. Paul Journal started: “Death took this community’s most esteemed and honored citizen Tuesday evening.” There is no doubt that he was!
Some Reference Information:
 The Graves ancestors were among many Catholics who fled Maryland to Kentucky during the late 18th and early 19th centuries in search of religious freedom. By today’s travel standards, Manton is minutes from Nerinx, Kentucky, home of the Loretto Motherhouse. It is hard to imagine that Graves did not compare his birthplace with his new home of Osage Mission.
 The scroll and other Vatican documents are on file in the Osage Mission – Neosho County Museum (Graves – Hopkins Collection). The archive also contains the photo of Graves and the newspaper clipping used above.
 W. W. Graves' first wife Emma passed away on July 30, 1936. In October of 1941 he married Suzie Gibbons Graves.
 More information about W. W. Graves is available at: http://www.acatholicmission.org/w-w-graves.html
A Partial List of Graves' Books:
This is the community website for the St. Francis de Hieronymo and St. Ambrose Catholic Churches in Neosho County, Kansas. Both churches are located in the center of the historic nine-county southeast Kansas area. We share one of the richest Catholic Heritages in Southern Kansas and the Four-State Region. For more information about our churches, history, organizations or programs browse our site including its links.