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Rt. Rev. John Ward, Bishop of the See of Leavenworth, but with home at 1228 Sandusky Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas; has been one of the ablest priests and administrators of the Catholic Church in Kansas for over thirty years, and a host of friends and admirers both in and out of the church rejoiced in his elevation as a bishop on November 25, 1910.
Bishop Ward was born in the Village of Westview near Cleveland, Ohio, May 23, 1857. He was the second in a family of three children. His parents were Joseph and Ellen (McGrath) Ward, both natives of Ireland. Joseph Ward followed farming in Ohio.
Early in his career John Ward was destined for the priesthood. He attended school in Westview, began his classical studies in St. Mary’s College at Cincinnati, continued in Assumption College at Sandwich, Ontario, and afterwards graduated from St. Meinrad College in Indiana. He was ordained July 17, 1884, and was appointed assistant at the Cathedral in Leavenworth. After three months there he was appointed to a pastorate in Marshall County, and from 1888 to 1895 was in charge of the church at Parsons, Kansas. He then came to St. Thomas Church in Armourdale, where he was priest until 1898. For ten years he was rector of the Cathedral at Leavenworth, and then returned to Kansas City, Kansas, as irremovable rector of St. Mary’s for a period of three years. From this he was appointed Bishop of Leavenworth and was consecrated in that dignity February 22, 1911, by His Excellency Diomede Falconio, apostolic delegate and later cardinal. His see comprises twenty counties in the northeastern portion of the state. Both as priest and bishop has Bishop Ward had the satisfaction of seeing a large number of parishes relieved of burdens of debt and while his work has not been pre-eminent as a financial administrator he is successful.