History of St. Ignatius Church

The history of St. Ignatius of Loyola Church started with the early Catholics of Kanopolis.  This diverse settlement of people consisted of French, Mexicans, Italians, Germans and Bohemians.  Before a Catholic Church was established at Kanopolis, these hardy individuals would travel on foot or by train to Ellsworth for Mass.  Every 5th Sunday of the month, the priest would come from Ellsworth to Kanopolis and offer Mass.  Later as a mission parish of Wilson, Mass was offered and religious education was provided in the homes of the Kanopolis parishioners.  The only other place to have mass at that time was in the old dance hall, which was also used for other activities and projects for the town citizens.

A young seminarian, Fr. Ignatius Manzo, came in the summer to teach catechism.  After his ordination, he continued his ministry at Kanopolis.  As he worked among the growing catholic community, he saw the need for funds and suggested that they sell Mexican food, have games and later on, added a raffle to the festivities.  This early need brought about the beginning of the Fiesta, a celebration that continues to be held each year on the Saturday before Labor Day.

In 1944, Father Manzo and Msgr. John A. Duskie Vicar General of the Diocese of Salina, procured a war-surplus chapel from the defunct World War II Camp Phillips that was located south of Salina.  George Andrews donated the site Catholic Church at Kanopolis, Kansas.  Father Manzo became St. Ignatius’ first resident priest. 

Fr. Basil Torrez, a native of Kanopolis was ordained in 1956 and became pastor of St. Ignatius serving from 1958 to 1960.  In July 1999, he celebrated his retirement with the people of this hometown community.

St. Ignatius celebrated its Silver Jubilee on December 12, 1971, while Father Mattas was pastor and then on October 18, 1998, the parish, with Father Daniel Scheetz, Bishop Fitzsimmons and former pastors of St. Ignatius, celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the parish.

Today, this diverse parish community continues to promote the growth and love of the parish family.  Current Pastor is Fr. Joshua A. Werth on July 1, 2016.