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Reverend Monseigneur Irvin F. Lampe Interview


Reverend Monseigneur Irvin F. Lampe Interview


Newton, Kansas - History
Newton, Kansas, St. Mary's Catholic Church - History
Our Lady of Guadalupe - History


In this interview, Reverend Monseigneur Irvin F. Lampe discusses the history of St. Mary's Catholic Church, its elementary school, and the Catholic population in Newton, Kansas. He also discusses the changes the parish has undergone since the late 1800's.


Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas


Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas


Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas




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Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas, “Reverend Monseigneur Irvin F. Lampe Interview,” Newton Digital Collections, accessed February 24, 2024,

A.W. Holt


Reverend Monseigneur Irvin F. Lampe


INTER.: This is the 27. May, 1977. We're at St. Mary's.
REVEREND MNSGR. LAMPE.: Right. This is Rev. Mnsgr. Irvin F. Lampe.
That's my full name. Pastor St. Mary's Catholic Church here at 106 E. Eighth. Some of the history of St. Mary's in recent years has been that we have managed as one of the few to continue our elementary grade school. And in recent years, then we have fallen from approximately a maximum of 203 students to 117. [The school] was built by Mnsgr. Herman and has enabled us to keep up with all the state requirements and we have sufficient housing then for well over 200 to 300 children in our school facilities. This coming year in '77-'78, we will add on the eighth grade, which will give us a total complement of the first four to second four or all eight grades, including the kindergarten. We started the kindergarten in 1976 school year, the first kindergarten ever taught here at St. Mary's. Over the years school has had its ups and downs, started back in the nineteenth century it existed after one year and then was discontinued and started again in the teens. And has existed ever since then. So our elementary school has been a great sacrifice for the people of the parish, where in bygone years was taught totally by the Sisters of St. Joseph, now we have mostly lay teachers, lay librarian and two teaching sisters daring this bygone year. So our school has managed the trials of the period of the times, and we hope that will continue in years to come.
The properties were greatly developed by Mnsgr. Herrman, my predecessor.
And we have succeeded in maintaining them and paying off all debt, and hope to be able to make major improvements this summer. Like totally blacktopping and finishing the alley and things of this nature. Our spiritual program of course has grown along with the times, along with many different organizations. We've added the Legion of Mary in recent years, the last two years. And we continue with the non-parochial organizations such as Knights of Columbus, Daughters of Isabella, having also our parochial organizations, Altar Society, Parish Consul, the Catholic Youth Organizations, which is known as the C.Y.O., Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and in general, cooperating too in community events. So in 1969, two priests were here, Father Gravener, Mnsgr. Lampe, but when Father Jimenez had a stroke and Our Lady of Guadalupe was not able to continue to serve the parish there, the assistant was appointed as a temporary administrator there. And since that time we have had no regular assistant. So over the years, in the twentieth century, most always there were two

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priests here in Newton, Of course with the establishment and institution of Our Lady of Guadalupe in recent years, Our Lady has its own pastor and we have our pastor. Early Settlers of course were Irish and German. And our baptismal records show that the first Mexican, Spanish-Americans to move in to our neighborhood, first on the baptismal record is Titus Lopez. And that was in 1909, when he was baptized.
Their home was in Halstead at the time. And then a Campos child in 1909. from Peabody, But actually moving into Newton, then, were Alberto Granado, in July of 1909, and John Valderino in 1909. And from that time on, why the Mexican, Spanish-American community grew in the city of Newton, And some of the other earlier names were Seaner, 1909, Soneasno, s-o-n-e-a-s-n-o and Sincera, And so the Mexicans increased their numbers from this time on. Also, we are aware that a great many were victims of the flu epidemic in 1918. Thirteen having died at one time within two weeks, according to our records. So the St.Mary's Parish has been the mother parish for the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which you have other records there from Monsiegneur Schaeffers, so we need not go into that. So over the years, many pastors have served here, and you have the list of here on the blue sheet and also the history of the diocese [see "St. Mary's Centennial Celebration, Newton, Kansas, December. 5 to 10, 1971n and History of the Diocese of Wichita, Father John M, Moeder, J.C.D., Sections on Newton, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St, Mary's; of and "Our Lady of Guadalupe's dedication, Newton, Kansas, May 17, 1-959"]. So this is the second physical setup for St. Mary's parish, on the corner of Eighth and Main, extending through to Ninth and Main. So the physical setup has been greatly increased. The new school was built at a cost of $350,000, under Mnsgr. Herrman's regime as pastorate, and we have continued to utilize that building for many community affairs and our own parish events --which in the last few year has grown to some 1400 people.
We have had some 290 Catholic families where all the members are Catholic and we would say then in general there's about 550 units here, considering widows, widowers, mother and children living together, Of father and Brother or father and son or such combinations as that.
So we have approximately 110 mixed families, one side Catholic and the other not, Over the years, then we've ranged from 30 to 60, occasionally as high as 70 baptisms per year. During the last five years, why the baptisms of infants has fallen off, but again increased in 1976 and '77 as well. Many of our people have worked on the railroads over the years, and with their own businesses, The first Lady General of services, Mrs,, Miss Hoisington, Miss Hoisington, was baptised here, among some of the important personages. Father Ignatius Strecker served in St, Mary’s parish as assistant through the 4O's and presently, he is the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, having served here as an assistant. And we are pleased to note that he had climbed the ladder in the ecclesiastical area and field. Among some of the first families here were such names as Hanna, Wichensky, Elliott, Sadowsky, Buckman's and later years, we have many people with Bohemian names because of the Bohemian settlements to the north of us. The parish celebrated its
bicentennial, rather its centenary celebrations in 1972 on December 8. The total title of the parish of the church is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is another title for the Blessed Mother Mary. And so, for brevity and ease why, the parish is known as St. Mary's Catholic Church of Newton.
Many of the people who came here were looking for better farms.
And the background of the many people, they are known as the Russian (pronounced Roosh-ian) Germans, not so much the Russian-Germans, but l don't know the reason for the pronunciation. But they had lived on battlefields, football field of Germany and Russia, escaping from the uncertainties of the war or peace, looked for better opportunities here. And were from the wheat field of Europe and relocated themselves here because they recognized the goodness of the soil, as many of our other neighbors acknowledge that, particularly Mennonites. They were looking for the ideal place for wheat, and naturally, they settled here, enticed to come by the friends already here. From October l4 through to October 28, some thirteen Spanish-Americans or Mexicans were taken by the influenza or pneumonia. Such names as Antonio Menaquez, Manuel Ramirez, Jeanette Sibeta, Pieman Robetios, Manual Laman, Vincenia Gomez, Francisca Lugon, Salvino Romano, Jesus Romano, Marino Vaquiz Maria Gonro, Augustina Gomez, Jesus Diaz. So there's thirteen who died within the period of October 18 through to October the 28 according to our records. One other passed away during the same time, Salma Gohuskie of the flu that was rampant at this period in 1918. The first one to be buried at ourparish cemetery, which is located on E. First, according to our records, was Clellan, Elizabeth, capital C-L-E-L-L-A-N, who died at 11 months and l4 days. And her parents lived here. The second burial was Nolan, I can't make out the first name. And Babinsky, Malone, Buford, Miller, Retkins. And these are the interments of 1884. And since that time, why the cemetery has been kept and maintained. And another area to the west has been made available for gravesites, during these last three years.
And is under development right at present for further plotting. The maps have been drawn, the land further surveyed, but not all the gravesites have been marked as of yet, which is a project at hand.
Our records of burials in our cemetery, you will note that among the first as we already mentioned, 11 months and l4 days, and then an infant, and the Francisca Babinsky was 41 years of age. Another one, 11 months, 26 years, 3 months,2 years, 3 months.
The majority were little children. In 1885, one lady 44 years. And then we note
another Burial 3 years, 3 years 14 days, one year old, 1 year 6 months,
3 weeks 8 days, now we're in 1886. Here's one, Maggie Smith, 36 years old, and another one Aggie Keefe, 36 years. Incidentally, too, the O'Keefe name has been around since the very beginning of Newton.
Another 21 years 9 months, and here's one at the very beginning of Newton. And here's one, Daniel Conway was 58 years, and then 13 months old infant, 11 months old infant, one 28 years old, Lewis Murphy, another infant, another infant, and 1 year, 19 years. Now we go through 1887, with mostly infants. One man 43 and a lady 22 years old.

But then there's one 5 months, 2 months, 6 months, 11 months, 1 year,1 month, 1 year, 10 days, 3 days, 15 years, then a young boy 9 years, another infant 1 1/2 years, another 22 years, and another 5 days, so the majority of these folks are infants. Only in 1888, Peter Weiss was 74 years of age. And we have another at that time 80 years of age. But the greater majority of the early interments in our cemetery were infants and children. And in recent years, then, we have a number of people who have reached the age then of 100. Mrs. Kannapel is at present 99 years of age. [someone who]is very very mentally alert at 89, Karl Gutzmer, and he's lived here most of his life, and knows much about the church here in the area. He used to be a habberdasher, men's clothing sales clerk for over fifty years here in town. I was appointed here under Bishop Leo C. Byrne, who was then elevated to Archbishop and went to Minneapolis- St. Paul. I was appointed here then as pastor July 1, 1967,and it will be 10 years this coming July around in there. The pastor for many years here in St. Mary's of Newton, has also served as Knicher Vreinee, which means Dean of the Newton Deanery. And during my ten years as pastor here,
I've also been president of the Kiwanis Club in downtown Newton,
Kiwanis Club. Also received the Man of the Year Award one year, so.
INTER.: Congratulations.
REV. MNSGR. L.: Thank you. Those are things of the past, but it was
a wonderful acknowledgement.
INTER.: [I asked about his childhood years.]
REV. MNSGR. L.: I was born in St. Louis, on June 11, 1917. I finished there and then 1 year in Belville, Illinois, High School, and then from there I went to seminary, Pontifical College Josephine in Worthington, Ohio, and then was ordained there as a priest May 30, 1943. [My] mother's name is Martha Helen Lampe. My dad who is deceased, is
Henry Lampe. Her name was Mueller, M-U-E-L-L-E-R, and her family, well she grew up in St. Louis, as also my dad. [She was] a housewife. She also has a brother who was a bishop, former Bishop, now retired from Sioux City, Iowa, Joseph N. Mueller. And her dad has come to this country, George Max Mueller, as a Lutheran minister. My father's side of the family. He had three sisters. Two older, one younger. And his mother was a widow shortly after his birth. Dad had the skill of a shoe cutter in a factory, cutting out the uppers for women's, lady's shoes. And later on, he sold real estate.

INTER.: [How has Newton changed ?]
REV. MNSGR. L.: During the last ten years, North Main has developed into a business zone, and in '67, about the only area to the north of us on Main was the Dillon Shopping Center. Since that time many quick food service restaurants have been built and many of the homes

'Oral History is available of Mrs. Kannapel
from urban renewal have been removed from our area. And as a consequence, the parish of St. Mary's has been more or less an inner city parish, with very few residents around it. So, to the south is downtown.
To the north, it's been zoned mostly for business. And many homes have been removed, as for example across the street, Midtown Towers, all family residences, and they were removed because of your urban renewal program. And while there are people living in the Midtown Towers, still they are not growing families. As to the north of there also, there are filling stations, banks, which have also been developed in the past ten years. All new businesses, causing the transplanting of people who formerly have residences along N. Main in our area.
So the business development or the town's development around us,
being mostly commercial, has been a detriment to our school in particular,
because many of our children are not living within walking distance.
When I came here, to my understanding in Wichita, in '43, it was breaking through the 100,000. Fifteen minutes was all you needed any way to go across town diagonally or otherwise, and has since grown to well over 300,000 with the suburbs and other areas, such as Park City, which aren't identified any longer with Wichita. So with people moving into Wichita, seeking better employment, the Catholic population was greatly increased also, because the average Catholic was 10 percent and less in Wichita originally, but is has been greatly increased with the newcomers to the industrial center, the air capital of the world.

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