New SSPX church to be built in Kansas

From a reader:

Fr.  I don’t know if you’ve seen it or not, but the SSPX is building a new church in St. Mary’s, KS.  It will seat 1,300 people, and will be a Gothic style church.  For an image of the planned church, you can see  The reason I’m writing is because they’re in the initial phase right now (taking down the existing ruins) and have released a press release (I’ve attached the press release).  Also, later this morning there is supposed to be a webcam posting the entire demolition.  Thought you might find it interesting.

Wow!  Yes, interesting!  More than interesting, I would say!  This sort of thing gives me hope.

It is wonderful that in this age people are stepping up to build beautiful churches for the sake of religion.

Brick by brick.

I look forward to the day when the Archbishop of Kansas City canonically appoints a pastor for that beautiful church!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Henry Edwards says:

    “One brick at a time”. From the indicated web site:

    “one priest at a time — who preaches immutable Truth as a visible Christ on earth,

    “one father and mother at a time — who labor nobly as the head and heart of a traditional family under the true Sacrament of marriage,

    “one teacher at a time — who forms and inspires future Catholic citizens,

    “one attorney at a time — who formulates a coherent, Catholic strategy to bring the reversal of Roe vs. Wade to fruition.”

  2. Why is it that they can build such a beautiful church and when we build churches, they say, it would be too expensive, so we build something that looks like a Pizza Hut!

  3. Mitchell NY says:

    Fr. Jay,
    Amen to that !! I hope this gets huge publicity and everyone tries to outbuild it….

  4. James says:

    So true. And you know that this church will have a sanctuary with the Blessed Sacrament at the center, not some priest’s chair.

  5. Jack says:

    Excellent news, to file this under brick by brick is very appropriate :)

  6. Disgusted in DC says:

    I rather like Jim McCrery’s stuff. I’m somewhat disappointed that his Randall Park project in DC has been delayed because of, well, no one’s loaning money for anything these days. Hopefully delayed, rather than killed.

  7. John says:

    Fr. Jay

    You are probably just asking, however, it is my firm belief that they can build that church because their faith is strong. And, of course, they are building for their children because they HAVE children. It is just the story of the mustard seed.

  8. Mary Ann says:

    The architect’s site is
    Very interesting to see their current projects and portfolio of completed ones. Inspiring.

  9. Anthony says:

    I wish them nothing but luck on this beautiful project, but I think its a shame that so many old, just as if not more beautiful, diocesan parishes are being shuttered and sold while the SSPX must spend all this money to build a new church. If the SSPX could only be given use of a church already standing think of all the good works the construction money could be used for.

  10. Rellis says:

    I agree with the sentiment thus far. It’s nice that an objectively-good church is being built. It will be nice when this is eventually a regularized parish under some canon or another.

    But until then, it’s a rebel chapel. Go there for valid but illicit sacraments at your own soul’s peril.

  11. Louise says:

    Here’s a webcam for you all to watch:

  12. Heather says:

    This project is actually 30 years in the making…I believe the original Church was a beautiful Jesuit Church which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1978.

    Even when the diocese closes a Church, they won’t sell to the SSPX…they would rather sell to Buddhists or anyone but the SSPX. Some of us saw that phenomenon first hand when the Jesuits sold off part of the North American Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville…several traditional Catholic groups wanted to buy, but instead it went to some Buddhists.

    Any Catholic Churches in the possession of the SSPX (for example St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona) were all purchased through an intermediary.

    On another note, too bad Ave Maria didn’t use that architect for their oratory in Florida.

  13. Patrick says:

    It will take them a while to raise the 20 million or so for this church. I’d imagine it will take 10 years or so to raise the money.

  14. Jack says:

    I don’t know patrick, they probebly have a couple of wealthy donors they can call upon, also thinking about it around 1 million Catholics attend SSPX services and I’d say at least that number again (myself included) harbour strongly sympathetc feelings towards them and would be happy to help out on such a worthwhile endevour

  15. Bill in Texas says:

    Fr. Jay et al.:

    St Ann parish in Coppell Texas:

    This is a new parish. It is also a very large parish (8000 families) and a very wealthy one, but it shows what can be done with a good architect, a great pastor, and a lot of patience.


  16. Henry Edwards says:

    James: And you know that this church will have a sanctuary with the Blessed Sacrament at the center, not some priest’s chair.

    And it will have 9 altars. Fairly recently, I assisted (in some sense) simultaneously at 5 Masses celebrated silently by 5 ICK priests — each with a single server — at 5 altars at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis. Actually, slightly staggered so I was privileged to adore Our Lord at 10 separate elevations within 10 minutes.

    In a similar situation of observing simultaneous multiple celebrations at Fontgombault, Cardinal Ratzinger was quoted as saying “Now this is the real Catholic Church!”

  17. RichR says:


    That’s St. William’s in Round Rock, TX, and it is a beautiful church. The incoming pastor married my wife and I, and the incoming associate pastor is newly-ordained and very traditional. Our men’s Gregorian chant group is going to sing there this coming Spring.

    There really are great things happening in the Diocese of Austin. Now we have an episcopal vacancy, so everyone is anxiously awaiting news from Rome.

  18. Louis says:

    Hi Rich, Diocese of Austin is really doing some good things. St Louis Church now has a perpetual chapel of Adoration. St John Neumann has plans for a wonderful church in order of St Williams. The first place I learned about Father Bud Roland and how I found this blog, was when he came to St John Neumann and “googled” him. Good stuff

  19. wmeyer says:

    I would like to add that there are other new churches being built in traditional styles. One such is St. John Neumann, in Farragut, TN, where my uncle resides. The details have not all been fleshed out. Funding was such that they had to defer some expenditures, but the structure was opened a few months ago, and will be dedicated on Sunday, 12 July. I’ve been there, for Easter, and again last Sunday, though my home is near Atlanta. It is a beautiful place, and the hush (even before the NO) is a joy.

  20. Jayna says:

    I’m glad we’re finally getting back to building churches that look like churches. I know this is an SSPX church, but the two most recently built churches here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta (well, one built from the ground up, St. Brigid, and the other remodeled, St. Peter Chanel) are of a decidedly more traditional style. The remodeled St. Peter Chanel is absolutely gorgeous. And I’ve been given to understand that there are changes underway in my own parish as well (as much as I’d like to see the whole thing leveled, I’ll settle for redecorating).

  21. ssoldie says:

    Thank God, who I do believe has been conferring much grace on the FSSPX for these long years, and I will be happy to be a part in contributing to this beautiful house of God.

  22. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Fr. Z wrote:

    Wow! Yes, interesting! More than interesting, I would say! This sort of thing gives me hope. . . .

    Brick by brick.

    Brick by brick . . . of what? The SSPX is still not in communion with the See of Rome.

    [Don’t be so pessimistic! One day this beautiful church – if it ever gets built – will be a fine addition to the Archdiocese of Kansas City. People still care enough to build things like this!]

  23. Mitchell NY says:

    The links on the above Churches do show some beautiful examples of architecture and far outweigh some of the cardboard box styles we so offen see…I am curious though, I checked all the Mass schedules and do not see any EF Masses listed or even a Latin NO…Can anyone say whether or not they Masses are being experimented with in their parishes? Or how their Priests feel about the MP of Pope Benedict XVI…Just trying to gauge how the bricks are stacking up. The have some beautiful sanctuaries that look like they will accomodate an EF Mass. As for the SSPX Church I imagine it must be beautiful to see simultaneous Masses held at the 10 different side Altars..It will reek of our proud Catholic past and future..

  24. FranzJosf says:

    Fr. Jay: One reason they can do it is that they have Leaders! With all that entails. Leadership! The SSPX has it in spades.

  25. FranzJosf says:

    They have Certain Trumpets (cf. Saint Paul)

  26. wmeyer says:

    In Farragut, they used to have a Latin Mass, twice a month. That priest (only one was trained) was then relocated to a town 45 miles away. Now that there is a new bishop in Knoxville, my uncle tells me that the priest will be relocated again, to offer a Latin Mass each week in the city. My only negative observations are, first, that it’s only one priest being moved around, and second, the Latin Mass will not, I’m afraid, be at the cathedral.

  27. Salvatore Giuseppe says:

    I was given a lovely 45 minute tour of Farragut’s St. John Neumann, the parish where I received my First Reconciliation and Holy Communion, before the current church. The building is amazing

    On the other hand, there was an article featured in our local paper yesterday about why churches are being built like office buildings

    with such gems as “”It was a growing desire to become more relevant to the culture,” Torgerson said.”


    “”People will drive by three or four times and say ‘I didn’t know you were a church,’ ” said the Rev. Gee Sprague, lead pastor at CrossRoad Church in Southside.”

  28. James says:

    So now you’re condoning the building of an SSPX church? How can you possibly justify this? [LOL! No.. no… no… go back and read again. I am happy that a beautiful church might be built, and that it will one day be a parish of the Archdiocese of Kansas City!]

  29. Bill says:

    In light of the following actions of a Pope, please don’t tell me that there are conservatives who will actually insist that it is “sinful” to to donate money to the S.S.P.X. to aid in the construction of a church.

    In 1999 A.D., Pope John Paul II donated money to schismatic Eastern Orthodox patriarch Teoctist of Romania to help construct an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral from which grave anti-Catholic errors flow.

    In 2000 A.D….

    Pope John Paul II presented to schismatic Catholicos Karekin II a relic of Saint Gregory the Illuminator which was to be place in the new Cathedral of the schismatics.

    Pope John Paul II declared: “In today’s celebration, I am delighted to return to Your Holiness a relic of Saint Gregory the Illuminator which has been kept in the Convent of Saint Gregory the Armenian in Naples, and venerated there for many centuries. The relic will be placed in the new Cathedral now being built in Yerevan as a symbol of hope and of the Church’s mission in Armenia after so many years of oppression and silence.

    “A place in the heart of a fast-growing city in which to praise God, to listen to Sacred Scripture and to celebrate the Eucharist will be an essential factor of evangelization. I pray that the Holy Spirit will fill that sacred place with his loving presence, glorious light and sanctifying grace.

    “My hope is that the new Cathedral will adorn with still greater beauty the Bride of Christ in Armenia, where the People of God have lived for centuries in the shadow of Mount Ararat. Through the intercession of the Mother of God and Saint Gregory the Illuminator, may the Armenian faithful draw new courage and confidence from their Cathedral. And may the pilgrims coming from far and wide experience the power of God’s light radiating from that holy shrine as they continue their journey of faith.”

  30. wsxyz says:

    It will take them a while to raise the 20 million or so for this church. I’d imagine it will take 10 years or so to raise the money.

    I have never before donated a penny to the SSPX but just for your remark, I donated $100 to the construction of this church.

  31. joebe says:

    And unlike some of the other new churches mentioned and linked above, I’ll bet the new St. Mary’s will have a communion rail.

  32. Dave N. says:

    Beautiful church. As you’ve noted in the past though, this group seems to generate more than their share of internal controversy: It will be interesting to see whether they can pull it off.

  33. Jack says:

    Dave N , rememnber this is the SSPX we’re talking about, The Catholic Church’s very own Marine Corps. They’ll walk on water if they have to.

  34. Wmeyer,

    Perhaps I can update some information about the TLM in Knoxville, where we thankfully have no shortage of fine young priests and seminarians. In the absence of our first one this past Sunday, a beautiful high Mass was sung by a second TLM-trained priest, and a third one has celebrated a midweek daily Mass for us much of the past year. Several more are in various stages of preparation. In the contrast with some Latin Mass communities, we had not visitors but our own diocesan priests for celebrant, deacon and subdeacon at our first solemn high Mass, which was celebrated at the beautiful old downtown church – the only one in the city still having its original high altar, communion rail, side altars, etc. — where our weekly Masses will be beginning next month:

  35. irishgirl says:

    A former high school classmate of mine lives in St. Mary’s, Kansas. I’m sure he knows about this new church-it looks beautiful!

    Heather-are you from Upstate NY? I’m mad, too, about the Jesuits at Auriesville Shrine selling off their former Retreat House to the Buddhists.

    I’m glad that you posted this story, Fr. Z! I keep hoping and praying that the SSPX will be fully reunited with Rome.

  36. Kimberly says:

    Ever since Mother Angelica built her church I was hoping someone would follow suit. FINALLY. How I love those beautiful, ornate churchs. They feed the mind and the soul.

  37. wmeyer says:

    Henry Edwards,

    I am delighted to hear that the progress in Knoxville is not dependent on a single priest.

    Now if only the Archdiocese of Atlanta could make such progress. My one option for Latin continues to be the sole church in the entire archdiocese where Latin is used, St. Francis de Sales, in Mableton, 35 miles away.

    I commented to my pastor that it appeared to be a quarantine zone, and he confirmed that. Very sad that Summorum Pontificum seems to have gone unnoticed, and remains unsupported, hereabouts.

  38. wmever: I commented to my pastor that it appeared to be a quarantine zone, and he confirmed that.

    Yes. This is a problem. Be suspicious of any initiative by a chancery to establish “the Latin Mass” at a particular parish.

  39. Brian2 says:

    Just to add some context: although in general the ‘quarentine zone scenario is true, I don’t think it applies to the parish in ATL. St. Francis de Sales is a ‘full service’ Latin mass parish, offering all the sacraments and parish life in the EF context under the care of the Fraternity of St. Peter. In some respects, it might be preferable to other arrangements. In any case, the Diocese of ATL, I am confident, will have more Latin masses in the future. I can think of at least on diocesan priest who filled in at St. Francis de Sales when the pastor was out of town. And he is now working for the chancery, if IIRC (I don’t live in ATL anymore).

  40. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Z,

    I have been, and remain, suspicious. My archbishop, the former president of the USCCB, has been silent on matters such as Notre Shame and the FOCA. In fairness, the quarantine zone was created under his predecessor. But it remains under his leadership. The good news is, that parish is FSSP, so I am sure of their commitment.

    On a separate issue, I petitioned for annulment about 28 months ago. I have been told, again and again, how much improved the local tribunal process is. Well. Though the archdiocesan paper has published articles (note the plural) extolling the good works of the tribunal, and reporting that the average case is concluded in 10-12 months, no one I know in my parish shares that experience. On the second anniversary of my petition, I received yet another questionnaire. This one a pop psychology profiling test.

    It seems to me that the annulment process, while a matter of canon law, must also be recognized as a matter of reconciliation. Particularly by the tribunal.

    I forgive them, and pray they will find enlightenment, that fewer may suffer in the future.

  41. builditandtheywillcome_NOT says:

    “It will take them a while to raise the 20 million or so for this church. I’d imagine it will take 10 years or so to raise the money.

    I have never before donated a penny to the SSPX but just for your remark, I donated $100 to the construction of this church.”

    I bet you $100 that church will never be built!

  42. wsxyz says:

    Patrick:It will take them a while to raise the 20 million or so for this church. I’d imagine it will take 10 years or so to raise the money.

    Me:I have never before donated a penny to the SSPX but just for your remark, I donated $100 to the construction of this church.”

    builditandtheywillcome_NOT:I bet you $100 that church will never be built!

    I’ll take that bet. Email contact details to wsxyz6294 @

  43. builditandtheywillcome_NOT says:

    to wsxyz:
    one of the guys in charge of funding said that construction would not start for 4 years and that at least 3/4 of the money had to be raised. I still say it ain’t gonna happen. Sooooo, how about this, I’ll donate $100 to Fr. Z if that church gets built before 2019.

  44. Heather says:

    To builditandtheywillcome_NOT

    They are already coming in great numbers, hence the need for the much larger Church. Check out their Sunday Mass schedule:

    Sunday 6:00am, 7:30am, 9:00am High Mass, 11:00am & 12:30pm

    Did the guys in charge of funding tell you how close they are to the goal? The SSPX is pretty shrewd with the way they spend/invest their resources. I doubt they would have launched this project if they didn’t have a considerable chunk of change already.

  45. builditandtheywillcome_NOT says:

    heather, they have less than $1M in the bank (that took them 1 1/2 years) and they need to have 3/4 of the $10 to $12 to be able to begin construction.

  46. Heather says:

    That sounds like a good start. St. Joseph will come through.

    Enjoy your sour grapes!

  47. Andrew says:

    I know for a fact the SSPX has some seriously wealthy benefactors…I mean ultra-rich. There wont be a problem.

  48. A beautiful Church yes. An ugly situation under which it is built, it seems.

    Ultimately, I’d have to go for where the Sacraments are celebrated licitly, even if the building looks utterly wretched.

    Yes it would be good if it does wind up in the Church. Fr Z is more optimistic than I am however. While there may be things going on behind the scenes between Rome and the SSPX that he may be aware of, what is said publicly by the SSPX seems to be entrenched in the “Everybody but us are heretical.”

  49. The new St. John Neumann Church in Farragut near Knoxville (TN) is being dedicated today. This traditional Romanesque cruciform-style was designed and built in just a few years by a parish with just about 1100 families, at a cost of perhaps the same order of magnitude as the proposed St. Mary’s (KS) church. The home page

    gives only a general idea of the church, without the doctrinal and theological detail — that is portrayed in the capitals, stations, and (above all) in the extensive stained-class program (“God’s plan in stained glass”–large rose windows, small rose windows, rosary windows, sacrament windows, etc.) – which makes this new church absolutely unique (so far as I know) among recently constructed Catholic churches in this country. For this detail, which is intended to make the building itself teach the fullness of the faith, you can start with the “Our church building” page

    Then scroll to the bottom of this and each subsequent page, selecting “Next” at the bottom right to go to the next page. On these pages you see detail photos of all these features, with a doctrinal and/or historical description of each photo. To just see the dozens of stained glass windows and their descriptions, you can start with the page

  50. builditandtheywillcome_NOT says:

    Andrew, like how “ultra rich” – remember a million bucks just doesn’t get you as far as it used to. And hopefully they didn’t know Bernie Madoff.

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