VICTORIA, Kansas – St. Fidelis Church, commonly known as the Cathedral of the Plains, is a big stopping for tourists off of I-70, but it has now been named a minor basilica.
“It’s an honor, it makes you feel really proud, we were always proud of our church we had so many visitors that come to say that it rivals the churches in Europe,” said Jan Brungardt, St. Fidelis parishioner.
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. I was not expecting the phone call,” said Father John Schmeidler.
Father 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. 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,” said Schmeidler.
For the members of the church the honor is still sinking in.
“We’re really honored to be one of these, a basilica, of course we’re proud of the church anyways I think it’s just awesome,” said Brungardt.
Worldwide, there are more than 1,600 minor basilicas; only 78 of them are in the United States.
The Catholic Church has four major basilicas.
They include St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and Basilica of St. Mary Major, all in Rome.