Kansas church to be named a Star on the Mantle of Our Lady, Queen of Peace

A Eucharistic procession at St. John the Baptist parish in Beloit, Kansas. A Eucharistic procession at St. John the Baptist parish in Beloit, Kansas. | St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

On Sunday, Dec. 12, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Beloit, Kansas, will become the second Catholic church in the U.S. to be recognized as a Star on the Mantle of Our Lady, Queen of Peace by Comunità Regina della Pace (Community of Queen of Peace). 

Comunitá Regina della Pace is an international apostolate of Eucharistic adoration created in 2008 to foster peace and reconciliation around the world.

“Division is so rampant in our world and in our culture that I don't know that there's a more significant time or a more significant petition, especially in the Western world and in the United States, than peace,” said Father Jarett Konrade, pastor of St. John the Baptist. 

As a member of this international community, St. John the Baptist will join churches around the world in praying intentionally for peace during Mass and in the context of Eucharistic adoration. 

“The significance of being a Star on the Mantle is in my mind, beginning that more formalized relationship with the Comunitá, and what that means to me is a more formalized and directed living out of the call of Eucharistic adoration and praying for peace in all of those different facets,” Konrade said.

St. John the Baptist is geographically about 50 miles from the center of the United States, which makes the location significant, said Konrade. 

“The divisions are, in some ways, tearing the country apart in the middle,” he said. “I see this as, hopefully, a stepping stone to, in a very public way, communicate to the community, to the diocese, the significance of Eucharistic adoration, Marian devotion, and prayer for peace.”

Beloit’s rural population numbers about 4,000, with more and more Catholic families moving to the area, Konrade said. The parish currently has Eucharistic adoration from Tuesday morning through Friday morning, but Konrade thinks it likely that the hours will continue to expand toward one day having perpetual adoration. 

“Throughout my priesthood, I’ve seen, again and again, the fruitfulness of parishes that commit themselves to the dedication of Eucharistic adoration,” he said.

A partnership between the Comunitá and St. John the Baptist was first explored by the Adoratio Foundation, a charitable organization in Beloit that was established to build Catholic thought, culture, and devotion in the area. They presented the opportunity to Bishop Gerald Vincke and Father Konrade as part of the effort intentionally to pray for peace in connection with others throughout the world.

“There's so much anxiety, so much worry, so much concern about what's going on in the world, what's going on in our culture, what's going on in politics that I don't know that there's a more prominent and significant intention of prayer than peace in the truest sense of what peace means,” said Konrade. 

The inauguration of St. John the Baptist as a Star on the Mantle comes just under six months after the church suffered a fire. On June 27, the southeast tower suffered extensive damage and the entire church experienced smoke damage. Though restoration is underway, the church is not expected to be fully repaired until late summer or early fall of 2022.

After the fire, Eucharistic adoration moved into a conference room of the parish office building. Konrade said that though it has been difficult, he now sees the fire as an opportunity to move forward in a positive way. 

“The presence of evil, in the history of the church—the frequency of spiritual attacks when you are about to do something sacred and holy—you can guarantee the opposition is going to have something to say about it,” Konrade said.  

Bishop Vincke will celebrate the inauguration Mass on Sunday with the church flanked by scaffolding on all sides as they continue to work on repairs, Konrade said, but that it is another example of how “God sometimes uses activities of evil and turns them on their head in terms of positivity and moving forward in a positive way.” 

Sunday’s inauguration Mass, which takes place on the feats of Our Lady of Guadalupe, will be livestreamed on the St. John the Baptist Facebook page and on its website.

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