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NEWS FROM THE BASILICA

St. Fidelis Cemetery Gate Gets a New Look

As you drive by the St. Fidelis Cemetery in Victoria, Kansas, you may notice a difference in the main gate's appearance. Back in July of 2023, the maintenance crew for St. Fidelis Parish noticed that the old gate was rusted and falling apart. They removed the gate and used much of the scroll work, the crosses, and the angel plaques to design the new entrance to the cemetery. The scrolls are now laying horizontally in the structures rather than vertically. The redesigned gate was installed on March 7, 2024.

St. Nick Makes an Appearance

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, the St. Fidelis Education department sponsored Christmas caroling around the city of Victoria in the evening. One stop for the carolers was the St. Fidelis Friary where they were greeted by St. Nicholas (our pastor, Fr. Jim Moster). Enjoying the carols with St. Nick were Fr. Harvey Dinkel and Fr. Don Debes. 

About 20 adult and youth carolers traveled around town on two trailers. Townsfolk came out of their homes to wave and listen to the singers and the music provided by trumpeters Danny Schippers and USD 432 music instructor Max Befort.

Afterwards, the group gathered at the V.F.W. Hall in Victoria where they enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies.

Christian Mothers Start "A Stitch and a Prayer" Project

The Saint Fidelis Christian Mothers/Altar Society began a new project called "A Stitch and a Prayer". Several women of the tri-parishes met at the Parish Office on Monday afternoon, November 6, 2023, to start cutting out patterns and material to make bags for food distribution.

Anyone is still welcome to join the group which will meet on an "as needed" basis. Watch the bulletin for details.

This "A Stitch and a Prayer" project will support Redeem United and benefit the people in Haiti.

Another Project Completed
Emmeram Cemetery Fence

Recently, a lot of work was done on the fence surrounding the Emmeram Cemetery. St. Fidelis Parish is responsible for the maintenance of the Emmeram Cemetery. The old steel posts around the cemetery were removed. Harland Rupp used his Bobcat and hydraulic posthole digger to dig holes for about 30 limestone posts donated by Steve and Mary Pfeifer. Wilmer Dinkel and Kenny Pfeifer then strung barbless wire between the posts. Cement was poured at the entrances to hold the wrought iron fence which was previously installed at the St. Fidelis Cemetery. New wrought iron fencing is being designed for the St. Fidelis Cemetery. A little work still needs to be completed at the walk-in gates, but other than that Emmeram Cemetery is looking very well cared for.

Next up is the landscaping project planned for the yard around The Basilica of St. Fidelis. Parish volunteers will do the preliminary work of clearing the areas of the current vegetation. Then Darren's Lawn Care, LLC of Hays will provide the new landscaping.

With a generous donation from a parishioner, St. Fidelis Parish was able to purchase new pre-lit trees that surround the inside Christmas crib scene in The Basilica of St. Fidelis. The new trees will be easier to store and assemble in the future.

The outside crib in front of the St. Fidelis Parish Office gained a surrounding fence in 2022. Maintenance man for the parish, Kenny Pfeifer, used old lumber that was stored at the St. Fidelis Cemetery and previously used on the church's outdoor crib to build the fence. 

For easier set up and take down, the crib and statues will be stored on a trailer, which the fence now covers.

The crib is dedicated to a former maintenance employee, Joe Brungardt, who built the crib. Sadly, Joe passed away suddenly in November 2020.

Children's Pageant Makes Christmas Eve Mass

Even More Special at The Basilica of St. Fidelis

With only one practice under their belts, students in Kindergarten and First Grade participated in a Christmas Even Pageant performed during the 5:00 Mass at The Basilica of St. Fidelis on Saturday evening, December 24, 2022.

Kindergarten and First Grade students in the St. Fidelis religious education program pose for a picture as stars of the St. Fidelis Christmas Eve Pageant.

The three kings await their turn to visit the baby Jesus during the Christmas Eve Pageant at The Basilica of St. Fidelis.

New Bell System in Place at St. Fidelis

During the week of December 19-23, 2022, The Verdin Company out of Cincinnati, Ohio, installed new strikers on the bells in the south tower of the Basilica of St. Fidelis. Then they installed the digital control boxes for the bell system in the south sacristy of the church. You should be able to hear all four bells ringing in the future.

Each of the four bells in the south tower of The Basilica of St. Fidelis has its own striker.

The picture quality is a bit poor, but it shows the four bells in the south tower--each with its own new numbered striker.

Electronic equipment to control the bell striker system is shown on the north wall of the south sacristy of The Basilica of St. Fidelis. The old system was removed from the west wall and a little touch up painting to that wall is now necessary.

The new strikers for the four bells in the south tower of The Basilica of St. Fidelis arrived in October of 2022. Before the strikers could be attached to the bells, the maintenance crew for the church had to figure out how to get them into the tower. As a solution Kenny Pfeifer and Randy Leiker, along with Curt Kuhn, John Schulte, Eric Pfeifer, Frank Dreiling, Doug Kuhn, John Braun, Bobby Schmidtberger, and Larry Brown used a CAT line pulley system on Friday, November 25, 2022, to carefully lift the heavy equipment to the tower. It took them about three hours to accomplish this task. The outside Christmas Crib at the church was set up the same day with the help of all the extra man power.

Patrick (left) and Paula Zwenger of St. Ann  Parish are congratulated by Francis Goeckel, president of the Diocese's Rural Life Commission, after they received their award.

Diocese of Salina Rural Life

Day Celebrated in Victoria

 

On Sunday, August 14, 2022, the Tri-Parishes of St. Fidelis, St. Ann, and St. Boniface hosted the Diocese of Salina's Rural Life Day activities in Victoria. Six families received Msgr. John George Weber Century Farm awards. These awards are given to families who have lived on a farm, farmed land, or owned a farm in the Diocese for 100 years or more.

Two of the family farms recognized were from the Tri-Parishes: the Curtis Kuhn farm and the Patrick and Paula Zwenger farm.

A member of each honored family read a brief history of how their family came to own or live on their farm and gave testament to the importance faith played in their family.

Everyone in the parishes was invited to attend the Rural Life Day ceremonies which began with a prayer service led by Father Jim Moster in The Basilica of St. Fidelis at 3:00 p.m. Around 3:30, they all headed over to the Victoria V.F.W. Hall where the awards were presented and refreshments awaited them. About 75 people attended the event.

Curtis Kuhn's family poses with their award. From left is Curtis' daughter Kaylee, son Cale, wife Rochelle, daughter Rachel, and Curtis.

Enjoying a Meal at the

Summer Lunch Program

Little Ollie enjoys a plate of spaghetti during the St. Fidelis Summer Lunch Program on Friday, June 17, at the Parish Office.

The program has seen an average of about 40 to 45 children and adults per day taking advantage of a great meal and great conversation since it began on May 16, 2022. 

Vacation Bible School - held the week of June 6-10, 2022

All of the students and helpers of the Vacation Bible School posed for a picture on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in the second floor meeting room of St. Fidelis Friary.

We always need to get a "silly" picture, but this year we forgot to do it with the whole group, so a young Vacation Bible School attendee did his best to fill in for everyone.

(picture taken 6-9-2022)

Summer Lunch Program

The Summer Lunch Program is going strong at the St. Fidelis Parish Office with daily attendance ranging from the high 30's to the 50's. There has been an extra bunch showing up this week what with the Summer Bible School program also being in session for two hours in the mornings all week. On Monday and Tuesday, June 6-7, volunteers served 69 and 75, respectively.

Menus are printed in the weekly bulletin and have included such delicious items as nachos, biscuits and gravy, pizza, sloppy joes, sliders, chicken nuggets, and lasagna. 

Anyone in the Victoria area (children and adults) is invited to come and grab a bite to eat--for free!     (pictures taken 6-8-2022)

Picture taken Thursday, January 13, 2022

Sneak Peek at the New Carpet

Vitztum's Carpet One Floor & Home of Hays was busy the week of January 10 removing old carpet and then installing new carpet in the Basilica of St. Fidelis. As of Thursday morning, January 13, the  carpet was laid down the center aisle and in the crossway between the pews up front.  The Vitztum's crew was also busy pulling up the carpet at the back of the church.

To remove the old carpet, an employee of Vitztum's stood on a special device which was attached to the carpet. The device then moved slowly pulling the carpet along as it went down the aisle. The project should be completed during the week of January 17.

Hays Planing Mill was also in church putting shims in by kneelers that had a little too much space between kneeler and pew.

Picture taken Monday, January 10, 2022

Some Changes in the Basilica

In December 2021, a handrail was installed in the Sanctuary of the Basilica of St. Fidelis by the steps leading up to the Tabernacle. This will aid the priests or others needing to walk those steps. Tim Linenberger of Salina donated his time to paint the rail so it looks marbleized like the altars.

Also, in December 2021 just in time for the Christmas season, a new star was donated for the indoor Christmas crib in memory of long-time sacristan Katie Scheck.

Picture taken 12-21-2021

Picture taken 1-2-2022

Wichita Tour Group Visits the Basilica

A group of about 150 tourists visited the Basilica of St. Fidelis on Tuesday, December 7. They were brought here by Village Travel tour buses out of Wichita, Kansas. Before arriving in Victorira, they also visited churches in Damar and Hays.

Our volunteer tour guide, Jan Piesker, filled them in on some interest facts about the Basilica.

While the group was in the Basilica, Dennis Braun and his crew with Hays Planing Mill were in the church putting new white bumpers on the bottoms of some of kneelers.

They are almost done with the pew refurbishing project. Kneelers are still being worked on for pews in the center aisle south side.

Barbershop Chorus
Practices in the Basilica

On Thursday evening, December 2, 2021, the Hays High Plains Barbershop Chorus, directed by Max Befort, practiced singing in the Basilica of St. Fidelis. In November, the group's president, Don Barber, called to request they be allowed to sing in the church.

 

The event wasn't advertised but the few people in the audience were privileged to hear some beautiful music for about 1 1/2 hours. 

According to their Facebook page, the Barbershop group will perform in Wakeeney on Sunday, December 5, at the United Methodist Church at 4:00 p.m.

Max Befort is a first year music instructor for USD 432 in Victoria and will present his students in a Christmas Concert on Wednesday, December 15, at 7:00 p.m. at Victoria Junior Senior High School.

The Basilica will also be graced with music performed during the annual FHSU Cathedral Christmas Concert directed by Terry Krull on Sunday, December 12, starting at 3:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend. 

WOW! Work is moving right along in the Basilica!

On Thursday, November 4, 2021, the Basilica of St. Fidelis was buzzing with workers. Employees of Hays Planing Mill of Hays were there to move the rest of the pews on the south side center so Carpet One of Hays could finish laying the tile in that section. And while the pews were gone, parishioners worked hard to clean the pillars in that area. 

Pictures taken 11-4-2021

Pre-Kindergarten Kids Make a Halloween Visit to the Parish Office

Spooks and goblins and pretty princess plus more from the Victoria Pre-Kindergarten class visited the St. Fidelis Parish Office on

Friday, October 29, 2021. Fr. Earl Meyer also stopped by to see the costumed characters. Staff members distributed Halloween goodies to the kids after they serenaded the staff with an itsy bitsy spider song.

More Pews and Flooring Completed

The project of refurbishing the pews and laying tile in the Basilica of St. Fidelis is progressing fairly rapidly. One picture shows the south side center aisle. Several parishioners are cleaning the pillars while the pews are removed.

 

The other picture is of the north side center aisle with the new tile laid awaiting the placement of the finished pews.

pictures taken 10-21-2021

Front Pews Get Their Turn

The front pews in the center aisle of the Basilica of Saint Fidelis have been removed and are getting refreshed.

 

The picture at right shows the new tile in place on the right side, with the old tile still on the left.

At the far right, the handicapped section pews are refurbished and ready for us.

The church is becoming more beautiful day by day.

picture taken 8-19-2021

Herzogfest Polka Mass in Victoria City Park

Fr. Jim Moster, pastor of St. Fidelis Parish in Victoria, got a little help during the Polka Mass celebrated in the Victoria City Park during Herzogfest on Saturday, April 14, 2021.

Teresa Shepherd helped by holding the microphone while Fr. Jim said the Offertory prayers. The wind was blowing a little too much, so Jeani Billinger stepped up and held down the pages so Fr. Jim concentrate of reading.

Even though the wind created a little trouble for Mass, it helped make the weather pleasant so everyone could enjoy a nice, fun Herzogfest day.

picture pulled from video taken 8-14-2021

Pews Are Just About Ready for Use

Dennis Braun (right) and his son Dusty with Hays Planing Mill started the process of spacing and screwing down the pews in the Basilica of St. Fidelis on Thursday, August 5.

 

They will then get the kneelers installed so the pews can be used again while others are removed for refurbishing.

They hoped to have the pews on the north side done by the end of the day.

picture taken 8-5-2021

Alfred "Fritz" Braun stopped in the Basilica of St. Fidelis on Thursday, August 5, to check on the progress Dennis and Dusty were having with the pews.

picture taken 8-5-2021

Windows and Registers Getting a Cleaning

There seems to always be something going on in the Basilica of St. Fidelis.

 

At right we see Marilyn Braun cleaning the lower portion of one of the stained-glass windows on Wednesday, August 4. She has been working on this project for a while and took advantage of the side pews being gone for refurbishing to clean most of the other windows.

 

Because of the height of the windows, the top portions can't get the tender loving care Marilyn is providing for the lower part where the windows can be opened. She found evidence of spiders nests and bees using the windows for a home.

 

While the pews are out of the way, she has also cleaned the registers and the return vents on the floor. She's also cleaning the the hat clips and the hardware on the pews that secure the kneelers. 

picture taken 8-4-2021

Kneelers and Kneeler Pads

Kneelers for the newly refurbished pews in the Basilica of St. Fidelis are shown piled up in the northeast corner of the church near the north entryway. 

The kneelers were sanded, stained, and varnished by Dennis Braun and his Hays Planing Mill crew and the padded covers were redone by Terry Gasper of Gasper Auto Trim & Upholstery of Victoria.

Dennis plans to start installing the kneelers and screwing the pews in place on Thursday, August 5.

It won't be long now before the pews will be ready for use.

picture taken 8-4-2021

Saint Fidelis
Cemetery Shed

Chris and Jeff Braun with Braun's Construction of Victoria recently installed new Pro Panel steel roofing and siding on the storage shed at St. Fidelis Cemetery.

pictures taken 7-8-2021

New Sidewalks

around the Parish Office

 

JCorp of Hays is fixing the sidewalks around the Parish Office. They began their work on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. The sidewalks on the east side from the driveway, all of the south side, and the west side to the garage will be replaced.

JCorp will also be removing and replacing the material in the expansion lines of the north parking lot of the Basilica of St. Fidelis and then restriping of the lot for parking spaces will be done.

Work on the Pews and the Flooring in the Basilica of St. Fidelis Continues

RIGHT: Vitztum's Carpet One Floor & Home of Hays had the new tile floor and baseboard in the Basilica of St. Fidelis nearly complete  when the picture at right was taken the morning of Wednesday, July 7, 2021.  

TOP LEFT: Some of the refinished pews were brought back to the Basilica of St. Fidelis the week of July 4, 2021, and were stored on the south side of the church until the new tile was in place. The work on the pews is being done by Dennis Braun and his crew at Hays Planing Mill of Hays. Each pew is taken apart and individual pieces are sanded, stained, and varnished, after which the pew is screwed  back together.

BOTTOM LEFT: In the afternoon of Wednesday, July 7, a crew from Hays Planing Mill was in church moving the re-varnished pews to their rightful stations on the north side of the church. Hopes are that all the pews, the tile flooring, and the new carpet will be installed by Christmas.

New kneeler pads are being made by Gasper Auto Trim & Upholstery of Victoria. 

LEFT: On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the railings on the north side of the Parish Office building were installed after being powder-coated again.

Weather and de-icing salt played havoc with the railings over the years.

The bottom legs of the railings were replaced with stainless steel bases to help prevent future decay.

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