St. Fidelis Church Titles and Honors
William Jennings Bryan, three-times a candidate for President of the United States, visited St. Fidelis in 1912 and nicknamed it the "Cathedral of the Plains." It is not a cathedral in the strict sense, not being a bishop's church. The Kansas State Historical Society has designated this church as one of the religious treasures of the state. On May 14, 1971, the federal government inscribed the church in the National Register of Historical Places as a building of "architectural significance." On May 25, 1986, Bishop George Fitzsimons of Salina, by a special act of consecration and dedication, set aside the marble altar and church for the perpetual and exclusive use of worship. On January 29, 2008, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius pronounced St. Fidelis as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, a project sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation to determine Kansas’ most important natural or manmade wonders.
On March 6, 2014, the parish was notified that the church was declared a minor basilica. The honor was official as of February 21, 2014. St. Fidelis is the first basilica in Kansas and the 78th in the United States. As a basilica, the church displays a tintinnabulum (bell) and an ombrellino (umbrella) in the sanctuary as symbols of the basilica's link to the pope. Its official name is now The Basilica of St. Fidelis.
The church has receive many honors, but the highest have been bestowed by countless pilgrims, worshippers, and visitors, who come to this temple in search of God.