HISTORIES OF ST. JOHN the EVANGELIST and SACRED HEART CATHOLIC CHURCHES

St. John the Evangelist     1884 - present
In 1884, Bishop Lavis Fink asked Father Thomas Moore to establish a mission in Argentine, Kansas for the Catholics who were attracted to the area by the silver smelter plant. Father Moore quickly found that there were more Catholics than expected and asked the bishop to find a resident priest for the area. Father Lacher arrived in 1886 as the first pastor of St. John the Evangelist and immediately began the process of building the church which was completed the following year.

The original church was devastated by a flood in 1903. A new building was constructed out of stone quarried from the hills near Argentine and was dedicated in September of 1907. A second flood left the inside of the church ruined in 1951 and again had to be restored. The rebuilding of the church is what we see today. The altar has been changed but only slightly to preserve the historical meaning and value that those before us wanted to keep in the church.



Sacred Heart     1912 - present
A number of faithful Belgians, mostly from Flanders, had settled on farms in this area near the turn of the century. At first they attended and were served by St. John the Evangelist parish in Argentine. As their numbers gradually increased, pride in their heritage prompted them to move toward the formation of a parish they could call their own. In the spring of 1912, Father William DeBoeck (congregation of the Sacred Heart of Louvain, Belgium) arrived in KCK to work. Riding a bicycle, he pedaled around the countryside and found 30 Belgian families in Kinney Heights, 33 families in Lenexa, 21 families in Argentine, 12 families in Merriam, 8 families in Armourdale and 3 families in Rosedale. Edward Lust donated a lot on the west side of Argentine Road, now 34th Street, one-half mile south of our current building and the people quickly erected the first church of the Sacred Heart. In 1954, during the pastorate of Monsignor Louis S. Hauber, the present church was erected to replace the old frame building down the hill. The present rectory and convent were built in 1962.

Two Benedictine nuns opened a school to 45 students in September 1912. The present school building was completed in 1951. In 1973, Sacred Heart and St. John the Evangelist elementary schools were consolidated and renamed Our Lady of Unity School.