Our Priests Who Have Served Us
Rev. Benjamin Sawyer 2017-Present
Rev. Matthew Marney 2010-2017
Rev. John Brungardt 2007-2010
Rev. David Linnebur 2007
Rev. Michael J. Schemm 2001 – 2007
Rev. Robert B. Wachter 1997 – 2001
Msgr. Charles W. Regan 1991 – 1997
Rev. Philip J. Allen 1985 – 1991
Rev. Vincent J. Eck 1961 – 1985
Fr. Quinton J. Malone 1959 – 1961
Msgr. Joseph J. Gerstenkorn 1950 – 1959
Past Associate Pastors
Rev. Ivan Eck Fr. John Zich
Rev. Denis Trayers Rev. Salvador Robles
Rev. Robert Murray Rev. George Kruzick
Rev. Pat Malone Rev. Thomas Scallety
Rev. Paul Oborny Rev. Floyd McKinney
Rev. Michael Peltzer Rev. Matthew McGinness
Rev. James Jackson Rev. John Dinan
Rev. Sherman Orr Rev. David Linnebur
Rev. John Lanzrath Rev. John Brungardt
Deacon Mr. Leonard Fennewald
Rev. Andy Kuykendall – Son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Kuykendall
Rev. Kyle Fisher – Son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Fisher
Rev. Matthew Kessler – Son of Mrs. Emmett Kessler and the late Mr. Kessler
Sister Betty Jean Goebel – Daughter of Mrs. Earl Goebel and the late Mr. Goebel
Sister Betty Adams – Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Adams
Sister M. Quintin Clupny – Daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Clupny
Sister Stella Maris Freund – Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Freund
Sister Joseph Freund – Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Freund
Rev. Michael Peltzer – Son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Peltzer
Rev. Stuart Smeltzer – Son of Mr. and Mrs. Stan Smeltzer
Rev. James Mainzer
Rev. David Lies – Son of Mr. and Mrs. David Lies
Rev. Mr. C. Jarrod Lies – Son of Mr. and Mrs. David Lies
HISTORY OF PARISH
After 25 years
1950 – THE PARISH OF CHRIST THE KING IS ESTABLISHED
On July 1, 1950, a year proclaimed a Holy Year by His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, Bishop Mark K. Carroll announced the formation of the parish of Christ the King. A temporary church was set up for the newborn parish in a commercial building at West and Maple Streets in West Wichita. The use of the building was donated by the Goebel family. Father (now Monsignor) Joseph J. Gerstenkorn, the founding pastor, began Sunday Masses on July 30. Temporary living quarters for Father Gerstenkorn were arranged in the same building. Later, Father moved into a small house just behind the temporary church. Sunday Masses were at 7:00 and 9:00 with a weekday Mass at 7:30. One of the first altar boys was Bill Scheidt, who is now married and resides with his family in the parish.
There were approximately 200 families living in the new parish area. The first Baptism in the infant parish was that of Constance Leigh Welsby on July 27, 1950, daughter of Thomas and Alice Welsby. The Welsby family has been continuous parishioners as are the baby’s sponsors, Joseph and Alice White. The first wedding recorded was that of Elsae Hada and Elmer Horsch on October 31, 1950.
As the spiritual needs of the people were being cared for, the pastor was looking forward to having a permanent home for the parish. He met with the parishioners on several occasions to learn their wishes and to be informed of any available property in the area. There was at this time a piece of land on West Douglas just west of West Street that had a Quonset building in which Mass could have been held. There were pros and cons and many heated discussions on the subject, as, to quote an original member of the parish, “everybody wanted the church in his back yard!” The majority was not in favor of this location so it was voted down.
The Altar Society was formed on Aug. 16, 1950 – just a few weeks after the parish was established. The first officers were: President – Jean Kennedy, Vice-President – Tillie Goebel, Angela Bundy – Secretary, and Treasurer Vivian Patterson. This group of ladies organized what they called “third Sunday Socials” and these were held at the Delano Township Hall at Central and Ridge Road. On several occasions cakes were given as prizes in order to help the financial situation. One Sunday, a youngster seeing a cake sitting on the table at home, asked, “Mom, whose cake is this?” After being told it was for the family, he replied: “Are you sure? This is third Sunday, isn’t it?” With the example of generosity and willingness, there is parish conscientious and cooperation already at work in the young. In recalling these socials, Bertha Orth and her life-supporting pies and cakes immediately come to mind.
By August of 1950, a 10-acre site for the growing parish was located in the 4500 block of Maple. Plans for the rectory and the Church (then a chapel, later to be used as a cafeteria) and school, were finalized and construction on the rectory and school began in September. They were completed in December of that same year. The first Mass on the parish property was held on Christmas Day in two school rooms. Folding doors closed off the room housing the Altar and sanctuary when socials were held in the other. Having no real kitchen facilities, food was prepared in the boiler room for these get-togethers.
The chapel was not completed until the following spring when Mass was held on Passion Sunday, March 12, 1951. The infant parish kept growing in strength and size, and took its first step in educational growth when Christ the King School opened September 4, 1951 with 175 students enrolled. Five Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ from the Precious Blood Convent staffed it. Sister M. Constantia was appointed principal. Others were Sr. Rosalin, Sr. Elizabeth Ann, Sr. Augustin, and Sr. Florence.
In its early years, the parish was unable to maintain a janitor, so parents of the school children took weekly turns cleaning the classrooms and other ladies of the parish were asked to share church cleaning duties. The first full-time janitor was Bernard “Buzzie” Ast.
The maintenance man’s house was built in 1956 on the parish grounds, mostly with donated labor, under Ben Meyer’s direction.
1951 – THREE BUILDINGS ARE DEDICATED
Christ the King made its public appearance as a parish of the diocese Sunday morning, Sept. 23, 1951, when His Excellency, Most Rev. Mark K. Carroll, dedicated its three buildings – the new church, school, and rectory. A capacity crowd of devoted parishioners were on hand to witness the solemn rites. Assisting Bishop Carroll were Monsignor Ignatius Strecker, Chancellor and Father Joseph Gerstenkorn, pastor. Also participating in the ceremonies were Monsignor John Hackenbroich, Father Joseph Fischer, Father Christopher Farrell, C.SS.R, Father Charles Smith, and Father Quintin Malone.
Following the dedicatory ceremonies, Bishop Carroll offered the sacrifice of the Mass in the new church. His altar boys were Thomas Kennedy and Kenneth Ast. Both are married and live with their families in the parish.
In his sermon, Bishop Carroll paid a glowing tribute to Father Gerstenkorn, his assistant, Father Ivan Eck, and the parishioners. He said, in part: “I am delighted to be here. I have just dedicated three new parish buildings to the service of God. I want to congratulate Father Gerstenkorn, pastor of this parish. He is getting the job done in a big way. He is a man of many parts: an architect, builder, a carpenter of no mean ability, a plumber, and best of all, a zealous priest. Father Gerstenkorn can do most anything. He has built a beautiful parish, with speed. And I congratulate the parishioners. You are fortunate, my dear people, in having a parish dedicated to Christ the King. Your church is the first church in the diocese to be dedicated in honor of the divine King. This is an historic day. We are happy to give to God and heaven another bit of heaven, this beautiful new church of Christ the King.” Bishop Carroll urged parishioners to give Father Gerstenkorn their full financial support to liquidate the debt of $100,000.
The first funeral, that of Ella Langford, was recorded October 16, 1951.
1952 – SECOND PHASE OF EXPANSION COMPLETED
In February of 1952, the first class of First Communicants received their Eucharistic King. In May of this same year, 12 students were the first to graduate from the eighth grade.
By this time growing pains were very much in evidence with about 400 families living in the parish and enrollment at the school was 300. The next phase of the expansion program included a convent, a gym and school addition. Construction on the convent began in April and the gym shortly thereafter. They were completed and dedicated on Nov. 2, 1952 by Bishop Carroll who stated: “Only one year ago I dedicated the new church, school and rectory of Christ the King parish. This morning I blessed three new additions to the parish plant – the sisters’ convent, a gymnasium and two classrooms. It seems scarcely possible that so much could be accomplished in so short a time. The new additions are a compliment to the pastor, Father Joseph Gerstenkorn, his assistant, Father Ivan Eck, the good sisters of the Precious Blood, and the good people of this parish. There is teamwork here. God bless you for it.” Following the blessing ceremony, the Bishop remarked to the priests present: “It is not often that a Bishop blesses six new buildings in the same parish within 13 months.”
Bishop Carroll was assisted by Father Gerstenkorn, Father Ivan Eck, and Monsignor Strecker. Six altar boys served the Mass and the children’s choir sang during the Mass with Sister Constantia directing. Eddie Goebel, 12 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Goebel, who have since moved from the parish, was organist. (Eddie also played for all the Sunday High Masses, the Requiems, and Benediction services during the year.)
Following the Mass, Bishop Carroll announced a treat for the school children – a free day on Monday. He asked the children to attend at least one Mass on All Souls Day (transferred from Sunday) “…to make Holy the holiday I have proclaimed for you.”
A noon luncheon was served in the new gym to the Bishop, clergy, sisters, and members of the church committee and officers of the Holy Name Society. It was served by the wives of the committeemen and officers of the Altar Society. About 40 persons were served. The church committeemen were Carl Pinaire, Harry B. Dugan, Jim Kennedy and Ed Goebel. Altar Society officers were: Mrs. Earl Goebel, Mrs. Jim Kennedy, Mrs. Archie Tibbits, and Mrs. Lee Patterson. Holy Name officers were Ben Neuharth, Paul Rosenhamer and Tony Williams.
The parish buildings as of this time represented an investment of more than $250,000. They included the brick rectory with connecting double garage, the modern brick school, having nine classrooms that can accommodate 400 children, the beautiful two-story brick convent that can accommodate 16 sisters, and the new gym – 85 feet long by 72 feet wide, with a large stage, dressing rooms, showers, restroom facilities, property room, and a fully equipped kitchen. The modern stainless steel kitchen equipment was a donation of the Blanchat family. The gym and school addition cost $90,000 and the convent represented $40,000. Most of the parishioners were growing families, struggling under heavy financial responsibilities of a young parish; therefore, all experienced justifiable pride and satisfaction with this latest parish addition.
The present school enrollment was 300. Sister Constantia, the principal, taught the eighth grade; Sister Agnes Therese the seventh and sixth; Sister Gwendolyn, the fifth grade; Sister Ancilla, fourth grade; Sister Janice, third; Sister Elizabeth Ann, second; Sister Aquilla, first grade; and Sister Gemma, kindergarten.
Records reveal the first Confirmation Class to have been May 12, 1953.
1956 – SOUTH BUILDING “A LABOR OF LOVE”
By 1956, the adolescent parish was continuing to grow at a rapid pace so it was at this time that the gym was converted for church services. Father Gerstenkorn saw the need for additional classrooms, so the self-made architect and general contractor, along with a construction crew made up entirely of members of the parish, set to work with a will, and the school was enlarged with the addition of 5 classrooms and a principal’s office. This addition is commonly called “the South building” and is connected to the main building by a covered walkway. As construction was begun and the call for help went forth to all available laborers, each day found a group “ready and willing” to lend their services, sometimes for only an hour or two, sometimes for the entire day and for some it was every day. This was undoubtedly a labor of love and devotion to the needs of an ever-maturing young parish.
Earlier, some of this same group could be seen in grimy, tool-laden overalls and on tractors and graders, blanketing the sandy soil with 1,000 loads of black soil. They also hauled 350 loads of mud balls which made a solid top for the parking lot. Since that time, in 1964, a black-topped circle drive, beautifully landscaped, has replaced the front parking lot, thus eliminating much of the blowing sand and dust and keeping it from the floor of the church and school. An enlarged lot west of the gymnasium and also some property which was acquired across the street north of the church has been black-topped for parking. A portion of the north parking lot was donated by the Earl Goebel family and the balance was purchased from a private owner.
About this time, the area encompassing the parish boundaries had grown and Catholic families had moved in to the extent that the Bishop foresaw the need for an additional parish in the outlying western portion of Wichita. Knowing the struggle Christ the King parish had experienced in developing its plant, Father Gerstenkorn set aside a portion of the weekly contributions for financing this sister-parish. When St. Francis of Assisi parish was born in 1959, Monsignor Gerstenkorn, with his reputation as a building genius, was appointed pastor of the new parish.
1959 – PASTOR CELEBRATES 25th ANNIVERSARY OF ORDINATION
Monsignor Joseph Gerstenkorn, pastor of Christ the King parish, observed his silver sacerdotal jubilee on Tuesday, May 26, 1959, with a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving at 5 p.m., followed by a jubilee dinner. On the preceding Sunday, May 24, he was honored by his parishioners with a reception in the parish hall from 2:00 to 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon.
The Most Rev. Mark K. Carroll presided at the Jubilee Mass from a throne in the sanctuary of the church. He also delivered the Jubilee sermon. The jubilarian was assisted at the Solemn Mass by his uncle, the Rt. Rev. Monsignor A.A. Hermann, of Dodge City. Father Ivan Eck, pastor of Fredonia and a former assistant at Christ the King parish, was deacon. Father Quinton Malone, chaplain of Sacred Heart Convent, was subdeacon. Robert Larson, directed the choir. Mrs. Joseph Kennedy was organist.
Following the Mass the women of the Altar Society served a jubilee dinner in the parish hall. Mrs. Alex Klaus was in charge. Speaker was Monsignor William Schaefers.
In June of 1957, the Christ the King Pastor was made a Papal Chamberlain by the late Pope Pius XII, with the title of Very Reverend Monsignor.
In July, 1959, Father Quintin J. Malone was appointed pastor of Christ the King parish. It was under his guidance that the Home and School Federation was formed, replacing the former PTA. Father Malone remained until July 1961.
1961 – THIRD PASTOR APPOINTED
Father Vincent Eck took up his duties as third pastor of Christ the King in July, 1961. All three pastors were appointed by Bishop Carroll.
1963 – FIRST MASS FOR FATHER KYLE FISHER, C.SS.R.
The Rev. Kyle G. Fisher, C.SS.R., son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard H. Fisher, was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Williams Cousins of Milwaukee on July 2, 1963, in the chapel of Immaculate Conception College near Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.
Father Fisher returned to Wichita to celebrate his first Solemn High Mass on July 7 at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Church.
Father Vincent Eck, pastor, was assistant priest. Subdeacon was Father Alcuin Hemmen, O.S.B. Father George Liesveld, C.SS.R., professor at the Minor Seminary in Edgerton, Wisconsin, preached the sermon.
A noon dinner for the newly ordained priest, his family, and invited guests, was hosted by Christ the King Altar Society. Chairman for the dinner was Mrs. Alex Klaus. Decorations chairman was Mrs. Curtis Bundy and Mrs. Jim Kennedy was dining room chairman.
A reception was held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Christ the King parish hall with Mrs. Robert Goebel as chairman. Father Fisher gave each person attending an individual blessing from his newly consecrated hands.
The entire parish considered Father Fisher’s first Mass, dinner and reception one of the privileged occasions of our parish history.
1967 – CIRCULAR CHURCH CONSTRUCTION BEGAN
In June of 1967, the parish had expanded to 475 families and it became necessary to enlarge the church facilities. The building committee and Father Eck directed construction to begin on a new circular church which was approved by Bishop Leo C. Byrne. Construction of the $317,000 church was completed and the first Mass was held on Mother’s Day, May 12, 1968. ON the same day, the first Baptism was performed, that of John Jason Walker, son of Eugene and Eleanor Walker.
After many hours of study, a circular floor plan evolved from the theory that “form follows function.” It was the desire of the Pastor to bring the people into the closest possible contact with the main altar so that they might participate more fully in the sacrifice of the Mass. It was also the intent to create an atmosphere conducive to prayer and worship. Consequently, the altar was located directly in the center with the curved pews encircling three-quarters of the area surrounding the altar. The church seats 850 people.
A walkway was designed for three reasons. First, it serves as a sheltered walk leading to the circle drive loading and unloading area and brings the parishioners closer to the west parking lot. Second, it serves as a screen from the other buildings and focuses attention on the house of God. Third, it creates a link between the church and the bell tower, thus creating an asymmetrical balance of design in the over-all appearance of the exterior.
The bell tower and walkway have indirect lighting which enhances the gracefully curved, sloped shapes. The bell tower is constructed of materials used in the church itself. This equipment is designed to withstand all weather conditions. The bells can be rung either automatically or manually in different combinations for daily Mass, Sunday Mass, the Angelus, weddings, and the funeral toll.
On entering the main entrances, one sees and is immediately reminded of the call of St. John the Baptist, forerunner of Christ, who prepared for Christ and Christianity with a call to Baptism and repentance. (The Baptismal font is a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. Perry Reida and their 9-year old daughter, Christina, who died in a highway accident in July 1969. Perry was commentator for the dedication Mass a year earlier.) The location of the baptistery is such that the entire congregation can participate in public baptisms, and there have been quite a number of them.
The confessionals, which are located to either side and rear of the font, are open and free-standing, covered with carpet and trimmed with red oak. The interior was designed to enhance but not distract from the main altar, which is the focal point. The sanctuary, the Blessed Sacrament altar, the president’s chair, and the lectern have been asymmetrically arranged. The Blessed Sacrament altar has been detailed so that when the main altar is not in use, it becomes the focal point of the sanctuary. The tabernacle had been a contribution to the first church-chapel by the Carl Pinaire family. To make it useful in the new church, it was necessary to redesign and trim it to the right size. This was the handiwork of Paul Blanchat, as was the sanctuary light, which is an original creation and carries through with the crown of Kingship detail. Leo Kastens designed and made the flower stands and credence table, and also remade the sanctuary chairs and pre-dieu to blend in with the circular arrangement and lowing lines.
The sacristy was assigned to the rear of the church so that the celebrant would approach and leave through the congregation. The floor of the church is sloped toward the center and is covered with nylon carpet, commercial type, woven especially for Christ the King. The carpet was extended up the interior walls approximately three and a half feet and is capped with white quartz aggregate.
The main roof structural system consists of an undulation wood roof deck and 22 laminated wood beams which sweep upwards lifting minds heavenward, and are terminated by a clerestory and a wood and plaster suspended canopy. The structure inside and outside has the appearance of an abstracted crown depicting the Kingship of Christ.
The pipe organ was a gift of the William and Robert Goebel families. It consists of 861 pipes which have been arranged as a backdrop to the sanctuary. The pipes were not concealed as is generally the case in most churches. With proper arrangement, the pipes become an art form and add a straight vertical line relief to the circular dominance of the building.
The pipe organ was a gift of the William and Robert Goebel families. It consists of 861 pipes which have been arranged as a backdrop to the sanctuary. The pipes were not concealed as is generally the case in most churches. With proper arrangement, the pipes become an art form and add a straight vertical line relief to the circular dominance of the building.
Members of the building committee for the new structure were Henry Brenner, Harry Dugan, Robert Goebel, William Goebel, Maurice Higgins, Leo Kastens, Thomas Lent, Lawrence Lies, Rudy Moeder, Carl Pinaire, Larry Roth, Leroy Ternes and Father Eck. A spirit of cooperation and sacrifice among the parishioners has prevailed through the years. Mr. Brenner donated many, many hours of invaluable assistance as architectural inspector and Lawrence Lies and Sons donated all the dirt construction.
1968 – NEW CHURCH DEDICATED
As the feast of Christ the King approached in 1968, invitations were mailed which read:
THE MOST REVEREND
DAVID M. MALONEY
BISHOP OF WICHITA
AND WE, THE MEMBERS OF
CHRIST THE KING PARISH
ARE HAPPY TO BLESS AND DEDICATE TO GOD
OUR NEW INSTRUMENT OF PRAISE, GLORY
AND PERSONAL SANCTIFICATION—
OUR NEW CHURCH
WE ASK YOU TO JOIN US IN THE BLESSING
AND DEDICATION ON
SUNDAY, OCTOBER TWENTY-SEVENTH
NINETEEN HUNDRED SIXTY-EIGHT
AT FOUR O’CLOCK.
And so the new church of Christ the King, 4501 Maple, Wichita, was fittingly dedicated to God. Bishop David M. Maloney, joined by Father Vincent Eck, Monsignor Joseph Gerstenkorn, and Monsignor Quintin Malone, concelebrated the Mass of Dedication. Monsignor Charles F. Walsh, chancellor of the diocese and Father George Kruzick, assistant pastor of Christ the King parish, were masters of ceremonies. Bishop Mark K. Carroll gave the dedicatory homily. Mr. Perry Reida, the Lector, led the congregation in the prayers and songs of the Mass. Present in the church for the occasion were some 60 priests, a goodly number of sisters, and a large group of the devoted parishioners of Christ the King.
Chris Beyer, along with the other members of Scout Troup 710 in the parish, directed traffic and very kindly escorted the clergy to the hall.
In his homily, Bishop Carroll said: “We should indeed be sadly insensible to the sweet and inspiring influences of our religious faith, if we could gaze without emotion on the imposing spectacle presented this day to our eyes – the dedication of the new and beautiful church of Christ the King. With joy unfeigned and justifiable pride this Church has just been dedicated in the sublime and solemn ceremonial used by the Catholic Church for centuries. The dedication of today means the people, the clergy and other religious and laity of this parish give gladly to almighty God this artistic edifice. The Lord Jesus Christ is given today, humanly speaking, another home, in every sense worthy of his divine presence amongst his people. This new Church is a stalwart structure, comely in every aspect, attractive with its stately external appearance, with internal furnishings and appointments which breathe an atmosphere of heavenly peace. This Church, as our dear Lord said of the temple, is truly a “House of Prayer.”
“It is a privilege for me to offer my heartfelt congratulations to your good pastor, Father Vincent Eck, who has lived for this day. After deserving felicitations to him, it is only fitting that I extend my thanks to the devoted people of this parish. While it is true that the planning of this church, the thousand heartaches and worries attending its construction, the problem of financing this great project were mainly the responsibility of the pastor; yet Father Eck would never have dared to begin this project unless he knew the faith and prodigality of his people. He counted on you dear people, knowing your unity and solidarity, your generosity of purse, your ardent desire to give God what He deserves, a home that is at once beautiful, attractive, commodious – truly, “a sermon in stone” to your fine spirit of responsibility and cooperation.
May our membership in the kingdom of Light and Life – the Kingdom of Christ, Son of God, our Brother in the flesh, King of our hearts – be realized in power and grace, more fully than ever before by the solemn dedication of today. In the strength of this unity, let us work together for the glory of Christ our King, for the advancement of His kingdom in the world. That all may be one and God’s life in all – one family – one people of God – one body with Christ the King – Lord, hear this, our earnest prayer!”
Shortly after the dedication of the church, a beautiful imported marble statue of Christ the King was given in memory of Earl Goebel by his wife and children. The statue was placed directly in front of the church on a footing and backdrop of stone.
With the building of the new church and the availability of gymnasium facilities once again, Christ the King could undoubtedly be called a full-grown adult parish. Even so, as with any adult, there is still room for growth. At the present time, additional land to the east of the church has been acquired and a building to be used for small gatherings is in the planning stage.
1974 – FATHER ECK IS HONORED ON HIS 25TH ANNIVERSARY AS A PRIEST
On Sunday, April 21, Father Vincent Eck was honored on the 25th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
The observance began with a concelebrated Mass at 1:30 p.m. with Father’s two priest brothers joining him at the altar. Both Bishop Maloney and Bishop Carroll were present and spoke to Father Eck and to all present.
Large number of clergy and religious and a host of parishioners and friends added to the “standing room only” – a great tribute to our beloved pastor of 14 years.
Following the impressive ceremony, a delightful program was given by the school children. Highlights of Father Eck’s life were depicted, from childhood to priesthood. The joys of the priesthood, past, present and future was the final presentation.
After the program, a reception was held for all the parish and friends. A dinner was given at 6:00 p.m. for Father Eck, his family and invited guests.
To honor Father on this memorable day and in appreciation for his untiring and unselfish work for his flock, the Altar Society presented him with a Chaplain’s Mass Kit. Father’s own words: “Never fear, the Father’s here,” gives us a comfortable feeling!
Although it is impossible to list all those who have given so generously to the 25-year growth of Christ the King parish, it would be well to note those early parishioners who were instrumental in bringing it to its present adulthood. Earl Goebel and Harry Dugan could be seen on many occasions “talking things over” with Father Gerstenkorn; Ed Seiler and sons, Tom Curry, Bill Weber, Jim Kennedy, Don Tucker and Ben Meyer were others. More who helped in the “growing-up” process were Paul Blanchat, John Dugan, Carl Pinaire, Harry Vestering, Joe Simon, Ben Neuharth, Vincent Henning, members of the Wells family, Leonard Clupny, Joe Frangenberg, Chris Zoglman, Ed Goebel, Leo Kastens, Tom Scheidt, Tony Williams, Clyde Carnahan, Raymond Feat, Larry Roth, Delbert Schulte, Pete Halsig and L. P. Landwehr.
Ladies who were among the “firsts” include Mrs. Earl Goebel, Mrs. Jim Kennedy, Mrs. Leo Orth, Marie Wells, Mrs. Curtis Bundy, Mrs. Lee Patterson, Mrs. Archie Tibbits, Mrs. Floyd Cathey, Mrs. Paul Mies, Mrs. H. C. Fariss, Mrs. Thomas Johnston, Mrs. Floyd Ashford, Mrs. Joseph White, Mrs. Harry Dugan, Mrs. Ben Neuharth, Mrs. William Weber, Mrs. Ed Seiler, Mrs. Tom Scheidt, Mrs. Leonard Fisher, Mrs. Earl Grandy, Mrs. Carl Pinaire, Mrs. Larry Roth, Mrs. Ted Walker, Mrs. Gertrude Weber, and Mrs. L. P. Landwehr.
In expressing appreciation it is difficult to mention names without risk of omitting some, so in order to include each and every one who have given of their time and talent throughout the past 25 years (or a portion thereof) the following groups will be recognized (in alphabetical order) other than the pastors and their assistants, the devoted Sisters and lay teachers, for their contributions to Christ the King parish:
Altar Boys, Altar Society (Officers and Members, Guild Chairmen), Athletic Director, CCD Teachers, Choir (Adult and CYO), Coaches (Baseball, Basketball, Football, Track, Volleyball), CYO (Members, Officers and Adult advisors), Church Committee, Fun Night Chairman, Gardeners, Holy Name (Officers and Members), Home and School (Officers and Members), Housekeepers (Church and Rectory), Janitors, Junior Traffic Patrol, Lectors, Librarians, Maintenance (Lawn mowers and Snow shovelers), Laundress, Mission Workers, Organists, Playground Supervisors, Room Mothers and Room Mother Chairman, School Nurses, Seamstresses for making and repairing vestments and altar linens, Secretarial Workers (Church and School), Scouts (Cubs and Leaders, Boy Scouts and Leaders, Brownies and Leaders, Girl Scouts and Leaders), Special Labor Contributors, Substitute Teachers, Teacher Aides, Ushers.
To all these individuals and groups, it is fitting to say, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” Many of them have been called to their eternal reward and somehow one cannot help but think of the 25 years of growth of Christ the King parish as a fitting memorial to them and their efforts, and a symbol of the devotion of every parishioner.
So, in the Holy Year of 1975, the permanent home for Christ our King, celebrates 25 years of growth after its humble birth in the Holy Year of 1950.
Dates and facts are important in relating a history of the first 25 years of a parish, but more important, are the dedication and generosity of its members. This is especially true of Christ the King parish. From the earliest days of its existence, parishioners have responded to calls for assistance in planning, building, and financing, and this response has continued through the years. When a parish can boast of a tuition-free school for over 300 pupils, this is no small achievement. This has come about through the cooperation of the entire parish – Pastors, Sisters, lay teachers, parents, and students. A spirit of willingness to help attain the goal of saving souls is ever present.
The organized efforts of parish groups helps bring us closer to the final goal. The first of these groups to organize in Christ the King parish was the Altar Society. The first and important purpose of the Altar Society is taking care of the needs of the Altar and church with many and varied other duties.
Christ the King Holy Name Society was officially chartered on February 9, 1955, when 69 members voted on and approved the constitution and by-laws. They were approved by the pastor at that time, Father Joseph Gerstenkorn. Records reveal, however, that the Holy Name Society first began holding meetings as a society in this parish sometime in the 1951 or 1952.
The Holy Name Society has undertaken and participated in many worthwhile spiritual and physical parish projects over the years. Its major project the past ten years has been financing of the parish athletic programs.
The Home and School Association goes back a number of years. In the beginning, around 1952, the PTA was formed with Mrs. Thomas Johnston as the first president. In 1959, members voted to drop membership in the national PTA and become a parish organization. The main purpose of the group has been to provide the educational “extras” for Christ the King school children. These have included gym and sports equipment for the physical education program, equipment for showing films, books and supplies for the library, and office and duplicating supplies for the teachers, to name a few. Sometimes the association has been called on to refurbish or remodel parts of the school. The principal’s office was remodeled in 1975. The prime source of income for these projects is the Fun Night held each year on October 31.
In 1951, Father Joseph Gerstenkorn initiated a youth program on the diocesan level. He appointed Father Ivan Eck head of Christ the King Youth Club. In 1959 this group became associated with the program on the national level to gain strength for the betterment of its young people.
CYO consists of three programs: 1) The Catholic Action program helps develop young people spiritually, through activities such as Masses, pilgrimages, projects of help, etc. It makes the young adult aware of God; 2) The Program Committee develops cultural and social life, through parties, plays, talent contests, and dances; 3) The Athletic Program develops the physical aspects of a CYOer through softball, basketball, volleyball, and, here at Christ the King, waterskiing.
Leadership is an important asset of the CYO program. Young people develop responsibility through leadership roles.
Christ the King CYO has pursued various outstanding activities. In 1973, the group planted and sold watermelons for a profit of $4,500, which was donated to the Church.
Last year, Sharon Reichenberger was chosen as one of the Outstanding Catholic Youth of the Wichita Diocese.
In stressing the spiritual aspect of the CYO, it is well to mention here those young people from Christ the King parish who are presently aspiring to the religious life:
Andrew Kuykendall, Son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Kuykendall, is in second-year theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Janise Ferry, Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ferry, is a Postulant at Mt. St. Mary Convent, Wichita.
Basil Kessler, Son of Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Kessler, is a second-year student at St. Joseph Seminary High School, Edgerton, Wisconsin.
Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop 710, sponsored by the Holy Name Society, were originally chartered in November, 1953. The first Scoutmaster was Bernard Hannon. After two years, the charter was dropped until 1959. H. C. Fariss, Jr. was the first Cubmaster. The troop has produced eight Eagle Scouts. They are: Louis Royal, John Posch, Warren McFadden, Ken Landwehr, Steve Chavez, Chris Goebel, John Stringer and Stanley Smeltzer.
The first Girl Scout Troop was organized and led by Mrs. John Joy, assisted by Mary Ann (Goebel) Cravens. Through the years, troops were dropped and reorganized, intermittently. At the present time, there are two Brownie troops and one Junior troop in existence.
INTERESTING PARISH FACTS
Approximate number of families in parish when established.....................200
Number of families at present time......................................................670
Approximate number of original families still in parish...............................50
Approximate number of descendants’ families in parish...........................30
Total number of Baptisms..................................................................2,501
Total number of First Communions......................................................1,619
Total number of Confirmations............................................................1,389
Total number of Marriages..................................................................527
Total number of Deaths.....................................................................221
Christ the King Parish
Christ the King Parish Celebrated 50th Anniversary in 2000
In the Holy Year of 1950
“In the beginning of our parish…”
Bishop Mark K. Carroll anouces the order and decreed that a new parish in West Wichita is established “Parish of Christ the King.” Reverend Joseph J. Gerstenkorn ordained on May 26, 1934 is appointed as pastor. Prior to April 1948, he served as pastor for the Conway Springs parish. Before that time, he was pastor of St. Offerle’s with the Mission St. Mary (Hodgeman count), where he did a great deal of building. The Odin-born priest is an expert carpenter, plumber, painter, electrician, and financier.
Wichita Eagle, June 26, 1951
July 1 Bishop Mark K. Carroll announces the formation of the church.
July 27 First Baptism recorded, infant Constance Leigh Welsby.
July 30 First Mass was held in a temporary commercial building located at 3939 West Maple, which is donated by the Goebel family. And, the present rectory is at 321 S. Illinois. Both locations are outside the Wichita City limits, at least until sewage and city water systems are installed.
August The parish locations is announced, a 10 acre site located at 4500 West Maple, Wichita, KS. The land fronts the Cannon Ball or Highway 54, and the estimated cost is $10,000. Father Gerstenkorn announces that he has found 180 families in the parish boundaries; however some of those were an overflow of Father Lander’s St. Joseph Parish.
The construction of the church and rectory begins.
August 16 Christ the King Altar Society is formed. There are 12 guilds and the women meet every third Sunday of the month.
September Christ the King Holy Name Society Men’s Club is formed.
December 10 Construction of the church and rectory completed.
December 25 The first Mass on the Parish property was held on Christmas Day in two classrooms, then under construction.
“The Church dedicated to the divine King”
The Most Reverend Mark K. Carroll
March The building of Christ the King Church (now cafeteria) is completed, and the seating capacity is 400.
March 12 The first Mass held in the Church is on Passion Sunday.
June 7 Reverend Ivan C. Eck ordained April 18, 1949, and a native of Ost, is appointed as assistant pastor.
September 4 Chirst the King’s School opens with 175 students, first thru fifth grades, 5 Sisters Adorers of the Most Precious Blood of Christ from the Precious Blood Convent, Sacred Heart as staff. Sister M. Constantia was appointed principal. Other staff members were Sr. Rosalyn, Sr. Elizabeth Ann, Sr. Augusta, and Sr. Florentine. A 1947 Plymouth station wagon has been provided to them for commuting to and from school.
September 23 Bishop Mark K. Carroll dedicates 3 new buildings “the new church, school and rectory.”
October 16 Christ the King’s first funeral, that of member Ella Langford.
“Our Church year is like a rosary…”
The Most Reverend Mark K. Carroll
February First Communion class received their Eucharist King.
April Construction begins on the convent, gym and school.
May The parish consists of 300 – 400 families. The first school year ends with 230 students.
First Eighth Grade graduation of 12 students were presented with diplomas.
September Christ the King’s School opens with 300 students, K thru eighth grades, and 5 Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ from the Precious Blood Convent as staff. Sister Constansia Principal teaches the eighth grade; Sister Agnes Therese teaches the seventh and sixth graders; Sister Janice, third grade; Sister Elizabeth Ann, second grade; Sister Aquila, first grade; and Sister Gemma, kindergarten.
November Construction on the convent, gym and school completed. The convent can now accommodate 16 sisters. And, the school will accommodate 400 students in 9 classrooms.
November 2 The Most Reverend Mark K. Carroll dedicates 3 new buildings “the new convent, gym and school.” Approximately 20 Precious Blood Sisters, and 75 children formed a procession at the convent and acted as an escort to Bishop Mark K. Carroll and 60 clergy to the gym and school addition. Boy Scout troop 710 participated in the Mass celebration.
The Advance Register; 1952
The Church begins building 5 more classrooms and offices.
May 12 The first Confirmation class recorded.
September 15 Christ the King Parent Teacher Association has more than 350 members.
November Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop 710 Chartered.
May Father Roland Nett is appointed as an Assistant pastor.
September Christ the King school enrollment tops 435 students.
“Jesus call His Church to serve”
The parish consists of 475 families.
Construction completed on the “South Building, 5 classrooms, Principal’s office, and maintenance man’s house.”
Christ the King school gym is converted into a temporary church.
“He Lives in His People”
June Reverend Joseph Gerstenkorn is made a Papal Chamberlain by the late Pope Pius XII. He becomes the Very Reverend Monsignor Joseph Gerstenkorn.
July Father Ivan Eck, assistant pastor, completes his assignment at Christ the King parish.
“Our Family of Faith Grow…”
February 9 Christ the King Holy Name Society officially chartered.
May 26 Father Joseph Gerstenkorn celebrates his Silver Sacredotal Jubilee.
Bishop Mark K. Carroll announces the order and decreed that a new parish is established “St. Francis of Assisi.” Very Reverend Monsignor Joseph Gerstenkorn is appointed as pastor.
July The Most Reverend Mark K. Carroll appoints the Very Reverend Monsignor Quintin J. Malone as the new pastor. Under his guidance the Home and School Federation was formed, replacing the former PTA.
July 21 The Most Reverend Mark K. Carroll appoints the Reverend Vincent J. Eck as the new pastor. Prior to this appointment Father Eck’s first pastorate was St. Paul’s parish, Lyons. Also, he is the second of two priest brothers to serve at Christ the King parish.
“Reaching Out to Others”
July 2 Father Kyle G. Fisher’s C.S.S.R. ordained to the priesthood.
The parish celebrates Kyle G. Fisher’s first Solemn High Mass
“Our Family of Faith”
A portion of land west of the gymnasium and north of the church was acquired. The parish members landscaped the grounds, and blacktopped the parking lot, west of the school gym and circle drive.
“Jesus Calls Us Together”
June The parish consists of 475 families.
The Most Reverend Leo C. Byrne approves of the construction of the new circular church, 4501 West Maple, Wichita, KS.
“Father Eck…knew the faith and prodigality of his people”
The Advance 1968
The parish consists of 500 families.
May 12 Christ the King “the circular church” is completed on Mother’s Day. The church can now accommodate 850 parish members.
October 27 Bishop David M. Maloney celebrates the Mass of Dedication of the new “Christ the King Church: 4501 West Maple, Wichita, KS.”
The marble statue of “Christ the King” donated in memory of a parish member.
November The pipe organ was gifted and installed in the church.
“I am the Vine, You are the Branches…Reaching Out to Others”
The “Baptismal Font” is donated in memory of a parish member Christina Reida 9 years old.
The church purchased property on which Charity Hall and Father’s Rectory are built.
“He Lives…in His People”
April 21 Reverend Vincent J. Eck celebrates his 25th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
“Christ the King Parish begins the Eucharistic Ministry”
April 30 The members build “Charity Hall”
“Christ the King Parish Celebrates Fr. Andrew Kuykendall’s Ordination”
Andy is the first “home grown” parish son to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
May 20 Deacon Andrew Kuykendall ordained to the priesthood.
May 21 The parish celebrates the joyous event, Father Andy’s first Solemn High Mass.
October Fun and hard work made “Fun Night” a great success every year from here on.
Additions were made to the maintenance man’s house.
Additions to the garage were made for parish equipment.
Christ the King begins K-grade.
The completion of “Hope Room” in Charity Hall and a permanent rectory is built.
The original convent is converted to classrooms, library, nurses’ room and teachers’ lounge.
“The Bread of Life”
The One Hundred Club; a men’s organization, is formed.
Original families Parish.........................50
July 1 Reverend Phillip J. Allen is appointed as the new pastor.
The parish consists of 700 families.
Additions are made to Christ the King School classrooms “new windows.”
The Apple McIntosh® computers became apart of the classroom.
The parish consists of 680 families.
The Stewardship program is introduced to Christ the King members.
“…if prayer and hard work are invested God will fill all needs.”
Rev. Charles W. Regan
July 9 Reverend Charles W. Regan appointed to the parish
September Christ the King school has 290 students.
June 15 The first Christ the King Endowment Fund is established.
June 19 A hail storm severely damaged numerous parish roofs.
September Christ the King School reduced to one classroom per grade.
November Reverend John L. Dinan, retires.
The “maintenance garage” is built.
September The parish consists of 600 families. The 45th school year begins with 220 students.
Spring The Computer lab fund is established.
July Reverend Charles W. Regan, retires.
July Reverend Robert B. Wachter appointed as the new pastor.
September The parish consists of 587 families, and fall school enrollment begins with 232 students.
January The first phase of Windows® PC Computer Lab program is complete.
The 24 hour adoration program begins.
Playground equipment is added, in memory of our parish members Amanda and Joshua Dutton.
May Reverend David J. Lies, Jr. ordained to the priesthood.
January The Men’s Club remodels the gym’s kitchen.
Second phase of computer lab with software completed, and new playground equipment added.
July Christ the King School classrooms are re-wired for future accommodations.
August Christ the King School classrooms become air-conditioned.
Christ the King School adds Pre-4 grades.
February 14 Church renovation began.
The parish consists of 657 families. The 49th school year ends with 269 students.