History

The parish’s inception is attributed to the foresight and courage of Bishop Daniel Kucera, OSB (later appointed Archbishop of Dubuque, now retired). He wisely noted shortly after coming to the Diocese of Salina, that Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish had become too large for effective ministry and parish life. Consequently, the diocese purchased a tract of land (520 X 702) east of Hays from Nicholas Hoffman as a possible site for a new parish complex.

On the second Sunday of March 1983, the bishop confidentially shared his vision with Father Daniel Scheetz and asked if he would accept the challenge of starting a new parish. A formal letter of appointment as Founding Pastor was mailed on May 18.  The canonical decree of erection of the new parish, with boundaries containing the homes of nearly 400 Catholic families, was published on May 23.

On June 8, 1983, a steering committee agreed to purchase a house at 1305 Agnes Drive, which served as rectory, offices and daily Mass Chapel for the next two and one half years. The first weekend liturgies were celebrated July 2-3 in Room 100 of Hays High School. Approximately 175 families formed the core of the “new church” in east Hays.

A building commission was formed on August 17, 1983. The Architectural Firm of Stecklein-Brungardt presented several alternative church designs to the entire church community on December 3, 1983. This was the first annual celebration of the Feast of St. Nicholas. On July 16, 1984, parish representatives again outlined the scope of the building project to diocesan officials. On August 6, Bishop George K. Fitzsimons granted permission to obtain bids for the new structure. In September 1984, Pierce-Schippers Construction of Hays was awarded a contract for $942,000.

On October 7, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, parish members (numbering 255 families) broke ground by drawing an antique plow across the building site. Soil brought from the home sites of parishioners was mixed in the furrow of newly broken ground as a symbol of “planting” new roots.

The sanctuary of the complex was 75% complete in July 1985 when the Finance Committee secured a buyer for the parish house, which led to the decision to complete the office wing of the church.  This wing also was to be used for living quarters for the pastor. The contract was given to Paul-Wertenberger Construction Company of Hays.

The laying of the cornerstone took place within a prayer service on July 25, 1985. A “time capsule” containing documents, pictures, records and other memorabilia was sealed into the wall of the church tower at that time.

Today St. Nicholas is shepherded by Fr. Jarett Konrade and is noted for its strong lay involvement. Lectionary-based catechesis and meaningful liturgies enlivened by quality liturgical music are just two great sources of pride for the parish.