As seen in the picture I took above, I visited the new Immaculata Church in Kansas. The new $42M Church was consecrated (dedicated to God) on the third of May, 2023.
The Immaculata was built by the SSPX. They are canonically-irregular but not schismatic. Remember that in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI lifted the putative-excommunications previously placed on their bishops. Even the current Vatican recognizes all their Masses as valid, and even all their confessions as both valid and licit. Although I have no desire (nor intention) to leave my Archdiocese and apply to the SSPX, I very much admire their adherence to keeping the ancient Catholic faith during this time of near-global apostasy. (As I replied on Facebook earlier to a concerned reader, “A Franciscan visiting a Dominican Church in the Middle-Ages doesn’t automatically make him a Dominican.”)
Recently, I was on Dr. Taylor Marshall’s show and we discussed the Jesuits. We both agreed there was some type of missionary-spirit shared by both St. Ignatius and Archbishop Lefebvre. Upon arrival at St. Mary’s College in Kansas, I was immediately reminded of my own Jesuit education since this University/Seminary used to be owned by the Jesuits. The new Immaculata Church book describes the history of these Jesuits in Kansas, their University and even the old Immaculata Church:
The Jesuits established a liberal arts college in 1869. The campus also housed a boy’s high school and a girl’s school run by the sisters of the Sacred Heart until it closed in 1879… In 1931, the beloved and renowned St. Mary’s College closed its doors as a liberal arts school but re-opened in the fall as a Jesuit theologate where seminarians from throughout the country and across the world came to St. Mary’s to finish the final two years of their fourteen-year course of study… The old Immaculata now served as the Jesuit chapel and witnessed the ordination of 1,000 priests.
The history of St. Mary’s continues: Vocations flagged after the Second Vatican Council. Consequently, the Jesuits transferred the theologate [seminary] back to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1967… Ironically, the revolution in the Church that closed the Immaculata also led to its rebirth as a place of Catholic tradition…[In 1978], Archbishop Lefebvre agreed to acquire “the college” solely because of the “magnificent Church” Within months of the purchase—to the shock of all—the Immaculata, almost fully restored, caught fire due to an electrical short. The blaze gutted the interior, leaving only a limestone shell and a partial bell tower. SSPX faithful worked for decades to restore the “symbol,” but to no avail. Archbishop Lefebvre later recalled that he “would never have accepted the purchase of St. Mary’s without this magnificent sanctuary. The fire was a true catastrophe, a stroke of the devil.”
The burning of the original Immaculata Church in Kansas in the 1970s represents, in some sense, the Church at-large as seen in the above statistics. Hence, I call this blog post, “Things We Lost in the Fire,” in reference to a small but sturdy Church in St. Mary’s, but also due to all “the changes” that gutted the Catholic Church on every continent in the world during and after the 1960s.
What then was rebuilt in St. Mary’s the past few years and opening this year of Our Lord 2023?
Here’s some pictures I took that may tell part of the story of the return of the glory to the Church:
As I always say, I hope Jesus returns soon -or- I hope we soon see the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima, leading to a time of peace in the Church. A clue to this comes from Our Lady of Good Success who prophesied in the 16th century that after the 20th century would come “a complete restoration of the Church.” Notice that such a restoration predicted in the 16th century means that (in the rarely-used future perfect tense) something will have been lost that will be regained after the 20th century.
So, instead of bemoaning the near-total loss, the SSPX built an enormous temple in which the faithful can worship God and honor Our Lady under the title of The Immaculata. I can’t help but think this Church is a cameo of the coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Whereas we lost so many things in the fire of the 1960s onwards (to even this continued-destruction of the faith and liturgy, as anyone who even makes a cursory glance at recent Vatican news can see) we nevertheless have the promise of a “complete restoration.”
Mary has always been described as the exemplar of the Catholic Church. Mary is everything that the Catholic Church on earth wants to become: Sinless, glorious, and in-heaven. That is why it’s fitting that the theme of the Immaculata in Kansas is Mary and the Apocalypse. Of course, when you read the word, “Apocalypse” you may think of raging in hell or final battles on earth. That is definitely correct. But if you read the book of the Apocalypse, you will see that earth and hell are completely secondary to the vision of heaven. The book of the Apocalypse is primarily about heaven, not hell. And that is the single unifying theme of the Immaculata in St. Mary’s, Kansas: Mary as the portal to heaven and Mary as the exemplar to all the elect.
These are the two main themes to the new Immaculata Church and that new temple in Kansas is a portal into heaven.
The glory and beauty of this Church represents not just our hope heaven, but the hope we have of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the entire Catholic Church at-large to return to Jesus Christ in lieu of modernism. This has been prophesied by Our Lady of Good Success to be “the complete restoration” of the Church. She exactly predicted a period of sacramental destruction in the 20th century, in fact. But after the fire, the Church would return with much greater glory than she ever had before that mutiny of modernism that tried to destroy her. Such, I believe, is already represented (and perhaps even predicted) in the glorious and new Immaculata Church of St. Mary’s, Kansas.