Gunning, Monsignor Edward I




July 18, 1985

Personal Info

  • Date of Birth:  10 April 1892
  • Place of Birth in Ireland: Kilbane, Broadford
  • County: Clare
  • Education: Ring Irish College in Dungarvan, his classics in St Kieran’s College and his philosophy and theology in St Kieran’s Ecclesiastical College
  • Date of Ordination: 13 June 1920
  • Place of Ordination: St Mary Cathedral, Kilkenny
  • Ordained by: Bishop Michael Kelly of Sydney

Diocesan Appointments:

  • Assistant – St Patrick Parish, Parsons – 10/23/1920 to 10/14/1921
  • Pastor – St John, Hamilton – 10/15/1921 to 6/27/1937
  • Pastor – Sacred Heart Parish, Eureka – 10/15/1921 to 6/27/1937
  • Pastor – Sacred Heart Parish, Fredonia with St Francis Parish, Fall River as a mission – 7/1/1937 to 6/30/1940
  • Pastor – St Patrick Parish, Walnut with St Mary Parish, Hiatville as a mission – 7/1/1940 to 10/1/1947
  • Pastor – St Patrick Parish, Parsons – 10/15/1947 to 6/30/1967 with Our Lady of Victory, Parsons as a mission – 10/15/1947 to 7/1/1950
  • Vicar Forane – Parsons Deanery – 1954
  • Monsignor – 06/09/1957
  • Diocesan Consultor – Chancery, 1963
  • Pastor Emeritus – St Patrick Parish, Parsons – 6/30/1967 to 6/30/1972

Msgr. Gunning became known as a builder as he renovated the Sacred Heart Church in Eureka by rebuilding the tower, wired the parish buildings for electricity, purchased property and built a modern rectory, and acquired a dwelling which he enlarged and converted into a parish hall.

When he was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in Fredonia, he renovated the church, built a basement under it and rebuilt the church’s foundation. Even after he was appointed pastor of St Patrick’s Church in Walnut, he remodeled and refurnished the convent at Sacred Heart Parish, re-roofed the school, renovated the church and acquired $50,000 in U.S. bonds for a new church in Walnut.

Once he was made pastor of St Patrick’s Parish in Parsons, he built a new school in 1950 and a decade later a new rectory.

Following his 80th birthday party, Msgr. Gunning decided to retire and return to County Clare for an extended vacation. When asked what he was going to do there, he said “sit around!” After thinking about it for a few minutes, he added “In the summer I’ll hunt grouse in the heather” at which time he broke out in laughter. He returned a year later to live in Westphalia.

In an editorial published in The Catholic Advance following the Monsignor’s death, it was stated that he possessed a colorful personality and many of his assistant priests identified him as their most unforgettable pastor due to his quick quips and actions. One story that was shared in the editorial talked about a time when women wore head coverings in church. Apparently a young Parsons man, who had let his hair grow out to shoulder length, came up for Holy Communion and when Monsignor got to him, patted him on the head and said: “Dear, get something on your head.”

  • Date of Death: 18 July 1985
  • Place of Death: Catholic Care Center – Wichita, KS
  • Age of Death: 93
  • Funeral Celebrant: Bishop Eugene J. Gerber
  • Burial: Calvary Cemetery, Parsons, Labette County, Kansas

View full story with footnotes.