Ignatius Jerome Strecker
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|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
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Ignatius Strecker was born in Spearville, Kansas, to William and Mary (Knoeber) Strecker. He was baptized at St. John the Baptist Church, where his parents were also the first couple to be married. He had a brother, Henry; and four sisters, Agnes, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Wilhelmina. Strecker was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Christian Winkelmann on December 19, 1942, celebrating his first Mass in his native Spearville on the following December 21. He then studied canon law at the Catholic University of America, and was later made chancellor of the Diocese of Wichita in 1948.
On April 11, 1962, Strecker was appointed the second Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, by Pope John XXIII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 20 from Archbishop Edward Hunkeler, with Bishops Charles Helmsing and Marion Forst serving as co-consecrators, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. From 1962 to 1965, Strecker attended the Second Vatican Council, during which he sat next to Archbishop Karol Wojtyła of Kraków; the Bishop was extremely dedicated to the Council's implementation in his diocese as well.
Pope Paul VI later named him the second Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas on September 10, 1969. At age 51, Strecker was the second youngest prelate of that rank in the United States. He was later elected president of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference twice. Widely known as an advocate for small family farms, as well as the poor in the inner city and Hispanics, the Archbishop urged Congress to work toward a comprehensive food and agricultural policy. He once testified before the House Agriculture Committee in 1984, during hearings in preparation for comprehensive farm policy legislation, and stated, "The fate of our family farmers is not an abstract concern...What happens to them will determine whether or not a land-owning elite will increasingly control our food and the price of that food."
In 1992 he denounced the pro-choice views of then-State Rep. Kathleen Sebelius (future Governor of Kansas and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services), accusing her of leading "the death-march of the unborn to the abortion clinics in the House of Representatives" and "attempting to make the 'death-marches' to the abortion clinics as legal as the death-marches to the gas chambers of the World War II Holocaust."
After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Strecker resigned his post as Archbishop on June 28, 1993, following twenty-three years of service. During that time, he earned the nickname of "Gracious Ignatius".
- Strecker, Ignatius (1992-03-27). "The Silent and Suffering Church in Kansas". The Leaven.
|Catholic Church titles|
Charles Herman Helmsing
|Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
William Wakefield Baum
Edward Joseph Hunkeler
|Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas
James Patrick Keleher