In 1857, Fr. John Hogan successfully petitioned Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis to release him to evangelize the countryside of northern Missouri. Fr. Hogan writes in his autobiography:
The work to be done... and the responsibility for it, since I had undertaken it and solicited for it the sanction of the Ordinary of the diocese, made me apprehensive I should fail. To withdraw was too late. To go on was a duty
Fr Hogan did indeed go on. He founded the congregation of St. Columban parish at Chillicothe, as well as many of the surrounding parishes in north and north central Missouri. After a number of years of faithful service, he was named the first bishop of the newly-formed Diocese of St. Joseph and later the first bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City. The zeal and ethic of Fr. Hogan was not forgotten by his people;
and a few years after he left to take up his Episcopal duties, the parish at
Chillicothe had grown beyond the size of the small church he had built. In 1879,
the Catholics in Chillicothe came together and through hard work, pious determination and Divine Providence raised up with their own hands a larger and more grand church
building - the current St. Columban's.
The obstacles and difficulties our ancestors overcame in accomplishing this feat resonate with us today as we seek to restore and renew in our time what they have handed on to us. It is important then that we remember their story. This book, entitled A Duty
Sanctioned, brings to life, through historical fiction, the past so that it might inspire the present. Our thanks to parishioner Brenda
O'Halloran for telling the story of us.
Mission in Missouri, John J. Hogan. Ch. 2, pg. 13.
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