St. Philip Neri
Franklin, Kansas

Historical artifacts:  We were able to salvage many artifacts from the St. Philip Neri Catholic Church.   Many of those items need to be restored as well as a place to house them.   We plan to place a historical sign at the new community park with many of the concrete items imbedded.   The bell possibly will be used at the new community center.   Anyone who would like to contribute toward this worthy cause can send a donation made payable to "FCCI" and be sure to mark it for "Historical preservation".   Donations can be sent to:  Franklin Community Council, Inc. (FCCI),  P. O. Box 43, Franklin, Ks. 66735-0043

If you have any photos to contribute to this page I'd be thrilled to have them.  All originals will be returned or I will be happy to pay for the cost of duplication.  Also any stories or memories that you would like to share and have displayed for future generations I'll be glad to post them to this page.   If you have any more information about the photos that are here please contact me with your story. 

1915:  Parish beginning
1916:  Church building completed by the Silvestrine Benedictines
1919:  Church destroyed by fire
1919:  (Fall) Rebuilt
1920:  (January) Destroyed by Fire
1921:  (October 17) Dedication of new church which was moved into Franklin and remodeled
1934-1950:  Staffed by the Capuchin Fathers with summer schools taught by Sisters of Charity of the BLessed Virgin Mary from Mt. Carmel Academy, Wichita
1945:  Moved to new location on Highway 69
1951: (Summer)  Rectory moved from Our Lady of Lourdes in Pittsburg and rebuilt at the Franklin Parish Site
1954:  (August) Dedication of the highway shrine in honor of Our Lady.
1976:  Parishioners asked to attend Mass in Arma. Census of the parish showed 21 households as members of St. Philip Neri.  
1987:  (June 1)  Official closing of St. Philip Neri Parish
2004:  (August 23) Demolition of structure. 

Father John Wojciechowski (1915)  1st pastor
Father Joseph Cipolletti, SOSB, (1916)
Father Joseph Pompeney (--1920--)
Capuchin Fathers (1934-1950)
Father Vincent Brown (1951)
Father Francis Heyer
Father Joseph Donohoe
Father Michael O'Malley
Father Robert Watson
Father Marino Caldarelli
Father Neil Diver
Father Justin Betzen
Father Edward Steinberger
Father Charles J. Middleton

* * * * * * *
The following information was taken from the Wichita Diocese 1987 Diocesan Parish Book.  Thanks to Sr. Jacinta Langlois, ASC for her help  We are very appreciative.  

Records show that St. Philip Neri parish in Franklin had its beginning in 1915.   Father John Wojciechowski was named the first pastor, to be succeeded by Father Joseph Cipolletti, SOSB, a year later.  The first church building was completed by the Silvestrine Benedictines in 1916, only to be destroyed by fire three years later.  Father Joseph Pompeney was named the third pastor and he saw to the rebuilding of the church in the fall of 1919, only to see it reduced to ashes once again in January of 1920. Undaunted, the parishioners were determined to have a house of worship once again.  A large hall was purchased and moved to Franklin and remodeled into a church, then dedicated by Bishop Schwertner on October 17, 1921.  It was to see many improvements in the coming years.

The Capuchin Fathers staffed the parish from 1934 to 1950.  In the meantime, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Mt. Carmel Academy in Wichita conducted summer vacation schools at the local public school in the town.

In 1945, the church was moved to a new location near Highway 69.  In the fall of that year, a parish mission was held, given by the Capuchin Fathers from Pittsburgh, Pa.  These priests heard confessions for Slovenians, many of whom were present.

During the summer of 1951, the old rectory from Our Lady of Lourdes in Pittsburg was dismantled and rebuilt at the Franklin Parish site.  It was blessed time for the installation of Father Vincent Brown as the new pastor of the parish.  An interesting feature of the parish grounds is the highway shrine in honor of Our Lady, which  was dedicated in August of 1954.

Recent pastors who have served St. Philip Neri include Fathers Francis Heyer, Joseph Donohoe, Michael O'Malley, Robert Watson, Marino Caldarelli, Neil Diver, Justin Betzen and Edward Steinberger. Father Charles J. Middleton is present pastor.  

* * * * * * *
Newspaper Article - 1976


Click on photos for larger image then use your "back" button to return to this page.

First Church Located on Church Street


Interior of early church

1923 Communion Photo
Appears to be younger children
Can you identify anyone?

1923 Communion Photo
Appears to be teenagers
Can you identify anyone?

Altar - Early Church

The nuns came and stayed for 2 weeks in the summer. They had summer school and stayed with different families.   This was approximately the late teens and early '20s.

Late '20s or early '30s

Father Leo - 1920s?

Father Leo

Wedding at early church

Father Landers

Bazin family

Church Choir

1936-37 Communion
Father Lambert
Front Row: P. Smardo, B. Pope, E. Manci, K. Nepote, S. Gulay, L. Kobak, J. OBlak
Back Row: V. LaSota, E. Minelli, A. Nepote, O. Manci

Father Agatha

Church Choir

Church Choir

Church was moved to new location
Located on west side of 69 Highway

Early Church Before Rectory Was Built-late 1940s
New location on 69 Highway

Altar-New Church

Holy Mother Statue in Center of Circle Drive
Many May Crownings were held here!

Highway shrine in honor of Our Lady, which  was dedicated in August of 1954.

After rectory was built

Stations of the Cross from St. Philip Neri
Currently on display at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Frontenac, Ks.

Stations of the Cross from St. Philip Neri
Currently on display at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Frontenac, Ks.

Family Photo on Front Steps of Church
Do you know who they are?

Altar Society 1944

Church Committee
L. Chebultz, Father Brown, Bishop Carroll, B. Bell
Front: T. Davis, T. LaSota, E. Markovitz

1957 May Crowning

1957 May Crowning

1957 May Crowning

1950s 1st Communion Photo

Memories of St. Philip Neri
I was the altar boy at St. Philip Neri for several years with Billy Bogatay.      Memory of Andy LaSota
I was baptized in the Catholic Church on the west corner (South of Karlinger's store) where in later years a house was built.
 Memory of Jo Ann Burgar
I made my First Communion at St. Philip Neri Church.  Memory of Nancy Fedell
St. Philip was a big part of our lives in Franklin.   There are many, many happy memories.    The May Crownings were a huge event.    The girls were so excited to have those beautiful dresses to wear and what an honor to be chosen to actually crown the Blessed Mother.    When the weather was nice we would hold the ceremony on the grounds.  Remember the statue that was in the center of the driveway.   (picture below)  The girls all carried bouquets of flowers.    We also had many spaghetti parties with Father Donohue in the rectory.    I can still feel the comfort of attending that little church.   It felt as though everyone was family (and I guess in a sense we all were).   Memory of Phyllis Liposek Bitner
I remember Sunday morning mass at St. Philips Neri Catholic Church, early mass-hard pews-long sermons-Ashbachers all lined up like little soldiers- and yes the old famous songs sang week after week, I can go to mass today and not even look at a music book to sing the songs. My parents were married there, me and my brothers and sisters where baptized there.   Memory of Henry Ashbacher
I can recall attending a Catholic service or two with my grandmother (Marie Irma Ponce) at a church in Franklin.  Memory of John Ponce

History Main Page