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Things in the News…or the church bulletin - March 21, 2014

Q: In June, this iconic western Kansas church will be dedicated as a “minor basilica.” The nickname of this Romanesque-style church is the “Cathedral of the Plains.” What’s the real name of this church and in which town is it located? (We want both answers!)

A side view of St. Fidelis Church in Victoria, Kan., taken in 1915. The church was built to serve the predominantly Catholic Volga-German community that began settling the area about 1875. Construction on the church began in 1908 and was completed in 1911. (Photo Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society/kansasmemory.org)


A: St. Fidelis in Victoria, Kan.


The interior of Victoria's "Cathedral of the Plains" (Flickr Photo via TravelKS)

In 1912, the famous orator and Democratic politician William Jennings Bryan visited the beautiful St. Fidelis Church in Victoria, Kan., and dubbed it the “Cathedral of the Plains.” Despite the fact that the church is not technically a cathedral (it has no bishop), the moniker stuck. A little more than 100 years later, the church has been given a new name: basilica. This month, the Vatican declared St. Fidelis a “minor basilica.” On June 7, it will be dedicated as the “Basilica of the Plains.”


The name “basilica” is applied to a large and important church which has been given certain ceremonial rights by the Pope. There are only 77 basilicas in the United States, and St. Fidelis is the only one in Kansas to be given this honor.


Source: Catholic News Agency