Back in 1879 when this parish began, it was situated in Empire City which was a separate town from Galena. Ground was sold by Louis Fink, Bishop of Leavenworth to John Hennessy of Wichita for one dollar. The first church dated back to the year 1877 when ground was surveyed on July 18th by the Empire Town Company. Original buildings were a frame church and priest’s house next door which was occupied by Father Robert Loeher. Records indicate there was a school which was taught by Sisters who lived in Patrick Murphy’s house. He was president of Empire Town Company. The church bells were dedicated to Saint Patrick’s in 1898 by Father J.E. Chapuis, the priest at Empire City.
The change to Galena took place somewhere around 1908. Records tell of a funeral for Neil Murphy held at Saint Patrick’s in Galena Heights on March 13th of that year conducted by Father Wiliam Rice. This would indicate that the frame church was still standing.
The two-story church and school were built in 1908 for $15,000 at 3rd and Galena Avenue. It was built on two lots purchased from D.L. and May Arthur. Three Sisters of Mercy arrived to teach in the school which remained open until 1922.
A portent of things to come was a fire in 1913 that did only minor damage. As was to happen to so many churches in the 100 years of our Diocese, Saint Patrick’s was completely destroyed by another fire in August 1937. All that remained were the brick walls. After the disaster, the church was rebuilt through the efforts of the children who sold bricks and their parents who did much of the actual work. Father Forrest Barker was pastor at that time. A new parish hall was added in 1953.
The pastor is Father Jeremy Huser.
Father Jeremy’s Emergency Number is 620-202-2579