Kansas church honored to become new basilica

VICTORIA, Kansas (NBC/KSNW) — The Cathedral of the Plains is one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas that brings thousands of visitors every year, and now it has a new honor.

“I think it makes us all proud, really, really proud,” said St. Fidelis parishioner Jan Brungardt.

St. Fidelis church, commonly known as the Cathedral of the Plains, is a big stopping point for tourists off of Interstate 70, but now it’s a Basilica of the Plains.

“It’s an honor, it makes you feel really proud,” said Brungardt. “We were always proud of our church. We had so many visitors that come to say that it rivals the churches in Europe.”

St. Fidelis has been around for 113 years, but after all the paperwork was filled out and turned in, it took less than a year for it to be named a basilica.

“You know, it surprised me how quickly this was named and how quickly it came about,” said Father John Schmeidler. “I was not expecting the phone call.”

Schmeidler never doubted that St. Fidelis would be named a basilica but attributes all the hard work of getting it done to his predecessor.

“I know for Father Jeff, though, it was quite a task, because you had to get all the different pictures of all the artifacts and the art,” said Schmeidler. “There was a large questionnaire. I know it was almost like a small book — of pictures and of writings — that had to be sent in, so quite a lot of work went into this.”

For the members of the church, the honor is still sinking in.

There are only 77 basilicas in the United States, and St. Fidelis is the only one in Kansas.

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