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Wednesday, April 22, 2020/Categories: History
The Seneca, Kan. newspaper, The Courier-Democrat, Nov. 23, 1989, describes the dedication of the church which took place Nov. 14, 1894: "The arrival of Bishop Louis M. Fink, O.S.B., was announced on Tuesday the 13th by six shots from the celebrated canon of Wildcat. Fifty young men mounted on horseback escorted the bishop from Seneca to St. Benedict. The tower of the church had been profusely decorated including flags of different nationalities represented in the congregation. There were to be seen the flag of the United States, the Papal flag, and the flags of Prussia, Oldenburg, Ireland and Holland."
On the day of the dedication, the canon awakened the people at 5 a.m. By 8 a.m., a large crowed of people had gathered. "St. Benedict's brass band added to the joy of the people by playing some fine tunes. And when the St. Peter and Paul Society of Seneca arrived in a body, headed by the Seneca brass band, there was an enthusiasm manifested such as can be seen only on very few occasions." By 9 a.m., the five church societies gathered under their banners and formed a circle around the church. At 10 a.m., the outside and then the inside of the church were blessed followed by a solemn High Mass. The sermon was in German. At the end of Mass there was a sermon in English. After the service the ladies of the parish served a grand dinner in the old church until 3 p.m. At 3:30, there was a lecture on Christian education. At 6:30 there was a great display of fireworks. After that there was dancing and other amusements until 12 p.m. when all went home rejoicing that they had taken part in the in the celebration of the greatest festival ever witnessed in Nemaha Co." It was estimated that three to four thousand people were present.
The practice of preaching in German was dropped during the First World War. (A Socio-Economic Analysis of four Rural Parishes in Nemaha County Kansas, Gilbert Wolters, O.S.B., 1938, Catholic University of America, page 157). The church was consecrated on June 1, 1899 (Wolters, page 153).
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