Transcribed by Sean Furniss
The Right Reverend John Ward Administered the Sacrament of
REVEREND THOMAS H. KINSELLA, A. M., LL. D.
Father Kinsella became pastor of Holy Trinity church and missions on the departure of Father Burk, December 4, 1914, and remained until April 14, 1919. During his stay a few important improvements were made, such as the paving of the street in front of the church, plastering the extensive basement, and improving the winter chapel, also the school building and grounds. Nothing was added to the church, however, except the large Crucifix over the altar which was donated by Miss Lucy Mallory in memory of her parents. Mrs. Charles Lyon gave the beautiful baptismal font. A set of large brass candlesticks for the main altar was donated by Mrs. Marcella Clark's estate. Miss Mary Dalton donated a full set of black vestments in memory of her father, Joseph Dalton and Mr. Frank Fenoughty donated the large central chandelier, which adds much light and beauty to the whole interior of the church. On Sept. 10, 1915, Dr. J. L. Porter, a distinguished and wealthy non-Catholic citizen of Paola, died; he bequeathed in his last will a certain amount of money to each of the churches of the town. Holy Trinity church received $1,000 from his estate with a sense of sincere gratitude on the part of the Catholic people. All the churches of Paola unite in decorating his grave each year and it is hoped that the custom will continue.
It seemed that there was nothing more to be done now except the frescoing of the interior of the church. A new, up-to-date school building was, however, the dream of the pastor; but, unfortunately his failing health caused him to leave his worthy successor the realization of that hope.
During the four years and four months of Father Kinsella's pastorage he learned the almost forgotten story of the early Jesuit missions in Miami and Linn counties, and of the no less heroic struggles of the secular priests who followed them during the territorial days and during the formation period which preceded and followed the great Civil war. The more he delved the more he found to engage his attention. Going back forty, sixty, eight years, he was led to see the designs of Providence working in Europe and America, a century ago, to make Florissant, Mo., and this nameless section of the future state of Kansas, veritable fountain heads from which would flow the waters of Regeneration and the blessing of Christian civilization to the whole middle west.
Wit patience and untiring effort he compiled and composed this History of Catholicity in Miami and Linn counties, but gave special attention of course, to the history of Holy Trinity church as being the inheritor of the glories of other days--days though which not remote, nevertheless as primitive in circumstances as the wildest flights of the imagination could picture. Father Hoecken's Diary in the Appendix to this volume will give some idea of the utter misery and degradation of the Indians, less than one hundred years ago. The Diary is of great value and may be regarded as one of the most important literary treasures of the state of Kansas. It was originally written in Latin but, through the kindness of Very Rev. Father Wallace, S. J., president of St. Mary's College, a translation was furnished, which had been previously published in "The Dial."
During his last years at Paola, Father Kinsella was assisted by Rev. Michael J. O'Farrell and, after him, Rev. Francis T. Fitzgerald who rendered efficient assistance to the end of their term in office. Osawatomie was now raised to the dignity of a parish under the care of Rev. Eugene F. Vallely on April 1, 1918. Father Fitzgerald remained, however, until April 14, of the following year when Father Kinsella resigned his charge of the parish. He then accepted the chaplaincy of the Ursuline Academy as being more suited to his age and infirmity. The transfer was made on the day after Palm Sunday--April 14--a day reminiscent of an event that took place fifty years before, on the same day in 1869, when Father Kinsella arrived in New York from Ireland, being then in this fifteenth year. Father Kinsella was born at Knockhouse, in the County Kilkenny, a few miles from the city of Waterford, in 1854. He went to school in Ireland and afterwards in New York City. After a few years as a clerk in Louisville, Ky., he went to St. Joseph's College at Bardstown, Ky., in 1874; then to Mt. St. Mary's College, Maryland, for seven years; going thence to St. Meinrad's Abbey, Indiana, to prepare for Ordination which took place in the Cathedral of Leavenworth on the 17th of July, 1884; Rt. Rev. John Ward, D. D., and Rev. Chas. Curtin being ordained at the same time. After celebrating his first mass in Topeka, the home of his brother, on the 20th of July, he was appointed to the Cathedral, from which center he attended all institutions and missions around the Episcopal City. There were seven different places to visit each month. The list may prove interesting as showing the varied human interest that center at Leavenworth. The Kickapoo church, a mission seven miles north of this city; the military prison at Fort Leavenworth and also St. Ignatius chapel in the Fort proper, within the city, St. John's hospital on week days. South of the city was the great state prison at Lansing and beyond that, about two miles, was the little church at Delaware; the "Poorhouse," six miles west of the city was as the apple of the bishop's eye. On a fixed day, once a month, for twelve years, the Father was on hand to say Mass and give Holy Communion to a very miserable, a very sad, and yet a very devout body of poor people.
No words can describe the unsanitary conditions of the Leavenworth county poor house in those days. It is all changed now, however, and that county can feel proud of its care of God's poor. Seven years at Leavenworth had now passed; then three years at Horton, from which place he was recalled to Leavenworth to take charge of the Catholic veterans of the Soldiers' Home and, in conjunction with that important position--a Government one--he assumed also the chaplaincy of St. Vincent's Orphanage for six years.
He remained about seventeen years as Chaplain of the National Military Home, the last ten of which were exceedingly pleasant in every way. Then, he requested a change and after three years as pastor of the Sacred Heart church in Leavenworth he was appointed to Paola where he found it his duty to visit the famous State Hospital for the Insane at Osawatomie each month and to say Mass twice a month in the town church a mile distant. It can thus be seen that his experiences were many-sided and quite full of interest. Father Kinsella traveled extensively in Europe and America and came in contact with many people of prominence; he saw and enjoyed the best productions of art in all its forms, and visited the great Sanctuaries of many nations--not the last of which was his old home in Ireland. In 1900 he saw the Passion Play at Oberammergau, visited Lourdes, saw Pope Leo XIII, Queen Victoria, and Edward VI. The Paris World's Fair was in progress at this time.
It is interesting to note that Father Kinsella was the twentieth pastor of what we now call Paola, since the days of Father Herman Gerard Aelian, S.J., who came in May, 1839. After him came Father Francis Xavier De Coen, S.J., who came in April 1845; then came Father John Schoenmakers, S.J., and companions in 1847; Father Paul Mary Ponziglione, S.J., the last of the Jesuit missionaries came in 1851 to 1858. In 1854 Kansas became a regularly organized Territory, in 1860 it was admitted to the Union. During these latter years great numbers of people came to settle on the land and henceforth the bishop of the diocese ruled the church of Kansas. Paola with its many stations was served by the following pastors:
Rev. Ivo Schacht was sent from Leavenworth at the end of 1858 and began the organization of Holy Trinity parish.
Families of Holy Trinity Parish, January, 1919.
The Right Reverend Bishop Ward Administered the Sacrament of
The Right Reverend John Ward Administered the Sacrament of
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