The Little Parish that Could

More than 50 years ago, Catholic Extension helped build a church in Jetmore, Kansas. The people built a parish family

Jetmore, Kansas, is one of America’s quintessential small towns. Located in the western part of the state, Jetmore is surrounded by miles of farmland and grounded by a sense of family values; parish family values, that is.

Here, parishioners at St. Lawrence Church pitch in like a big family, doing things for their church that fall outside the norm. These diligent folks have been known to haul a sink or cabinet from a shuttered convent nearby to furnish a sacristy for their priest—and even to clean the church’s basement!

Every Dollar Counts

St. Lawrence is like “the little engine that could” — it believes in itself and keeps chugging along. Catholic Extension has been privileged to help the parish with small grants through the years. In fact, donors contributed the original funding to build the church in 1948.

Over the past 12 years, Catholic Extension donors have provided approximately $65,000 in funds, and St. Lawrence, like many parishes in the mission dioceses, has an uncanny ability to stretch every dollar.

Parishioner Dick Sorem, a lifelong member who is president of the parish council and head of finance, maintains St. Lawrence is very conservative in its spending. “The only thing we pay for is lawncare,” he said. “We do all of our own repairs and work around the parish with volunteers, and we watch our expenses.”

The assistance Catholic Extension donors provide “makes a huge difference,” Sorem noted. The church operated for years without a resident priest — and it wasn’t until 2008 that it received one. Having Father Dande has provided wonderful stability for this faithful community, which is flourishing under his leadership.

A Resident Priest at Last

Father Dande is a Fransalian missionary from India who also served on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. “We so appreciate the generous support of Catholic Extension,” he said. “A little help makes a lot of difference in our parish life. We pray for our benefactors.”

Show your support for parish families, like St. Lawrence, that work hard to make every dollar count.

Support Now