John Ward, D. D., Bishop of the Leavenworth (Kan.) diocese of the Roman Catholic church, was born in West View, Cuyahoga county, Ohio. May 23, 1857, a son of Joseph and Ellen (McGrath) Ward, natives of County Westmeath, Ireland, who came to America in the early '50s, stopping for a time in New York, but locating permanently at West View, some fourteen miles west of Cleveland, Ohio. Joseph Ward was a farmer and was very successful in his avocation, becoming the owner of valuable farm property. Bishop Ward received his early education in the district and parochial schools of West View, and later attended Mount Saint Mary's Seminary, at Cincinnati, Ohio, and the College of the Assumption, at Sandwich, Ontario, just opposite Detroit, Mich. He was prepared for the priesthood in St. Meinrad Seminary, Spencer county, Indiana, where he completed his studies, in 1884, and was ordained in the priesthood on July 27 of that year, by Bishop Louis Mary Fink, O. S. D., in the cathedral at Leavenworth. His first appointment was in the cathedral in which he was ordained, and on Nov. 11, 1884, he was given his first parish, that of St. Joseph's, in Marshall county, Kansas, with the town of Frankfort as a mission. The members of his flock were scattered over a large district, which made his labors arduous, but he met every obstacle with a courage that insured success, so that after five years of privations and zealous striving he left religion on a solid footing. His name is held in benediction, and no man enjoys more sincere friendship from the people, both Catholic and non-Catholic, in Marshall county. In August, 1888, he became rector of St. Patrick's church at Parsons, Kan., where the removal of a heavy debt and the building of the basement of the present handsome church there taxed his energies six years. In 1895 he became pastor of St. Thomas Church, at Armourdale, and remained there until made rector of the cathedral at Leavenworth, Aug. 15, 1898, and he was appointed irremovable rector of St. Mary's Church, at Kansas City, Kan., May 30, 1909, to succeed the pioneer priest of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Mgr. Anton Kuhls. On Nov. 25, 1910, he was appointed Bishop of Leavenworth, a promotion merited by his character, ability and years of faithful service for the church, and occasioned by the transferring of the Rt. Rev. Thomas F. Lillis from the see of Leavenworth to become coadjutor to Rt. Rev. John Hogan, bishop of Kansas City, Mo. The electoral college of the Leavenworth diocese and the bishops of the province of St. Louis met in Kansas, City, Kan., Aug. 25, 1910, under the presidency of the Most Rev. John J. Glennon, the archbishop of St. Louis, and elected Father Ward to succeed Bishop Lillis, which selection was approved by Pope Pius X.
Bishop Ward has given years of untiring effort to the upbuilding of the different parishes that were in his charge, years that were full of charitable deeds. He is a man nobly endowed with those fine qualities of mind and heart and of personal manner which have the power of awakening loyalty and affection, as well as respect, in all of his associates. He brings to his new position executive ability of a very high order, and his fitness for the high honor in the church is unquestioned.Pages 356-357 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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