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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Fr. Colin Boor's influence widely felt in Arma

  • When the Arma-Northeast High School Alumni Association officers were making plans for the 2011 reunion, there was one guest they had to invite.



    “We couldn’t have a reunion and not invite Fr. Colin Boor,” said Joan Barbieri, an alumni officer. “We were in high school and he was so instrumental in working with the kids.”

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  • When the Arma-Northeast High School Alumni Association officers were making plans for the 2011 reunion, there was one guest they had to invite.
    “We couldn’t have a reunion and not invite Fr. Colin Boor,” said Joan Barbieri, an alumni officer. “We were in high school and he was so instrumental in working with the kids.”
    “I loved working with the youth in Arma and Mulberry,” Fr. Boor said. “I was half a kid myself then.”
    He served St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Arma, and St. Gabriel Catholic Church, Mulberry, from 1955 to 1960. It was his first post as a pastor, though he had previously served as an assistant pastor at All Saints Church, Wichita.
    Born in Odin, Kansas in the 1920s, he remembers the hardships of farm life during that time.
    “We farmed a half-section, had no electricity, no telephone, no bathroom, and got water from a windmill,” Fr. Boor said. “We went to one-room schools. The crops failed for about seven years because of the dust storms.”
    An accident in 1938 led to his becoming a priest.
    “I had a busted arm — not broken, busted,” Fr. Boor said. “I was in St. Anthony’s Hospital in Dodge City. They wanted to cut my arm off, but I wouldn’t let them. Then it turned brown and started to stink.”
    Some of the nuns there obtained some oil believed to have miraculous healing properties. It came from the bones of St. Walpurga, an English missionary sent with her two brothers to assist their uncle, St. Boniface, who was working to convert the pagan Germans. She was canonized on May 1, 870 AD, and not long after that her bones, or the rocky niche in which they were placed, began to exude the oil.
    “The nuns started putting that oil on my arm, and it started getting better,” Fr. Boor said. “I came home and told my mother and father, ‘I’m going to be a priest, but don’t tell anybody’.”
    The following year he went off to St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana.
    “I never came home for Christmas for three years, because my father  said there was no money for buses,” Fr. Boor said. “I was there seven years, but the last four were at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis.”
    He fondly remembers his years in Arma, though the old church was not in the best of shape.
    “It had termites, and they swarmed during church,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘Boor, you’d better find another place,’ but the church didn’t fall down  and we kept using it.”
    It was his predecessor, Fr. John Reinkemeyer, who undertook the building of the current church with assistance from the late Migdonio Seidler, a native of Nicaragua who was living and working in Pittsburg.
    Page 2 of 3 - “Mig was a rare and gifted man, an architect and an engineer,” Fr. Boor said. “After I went to Hutchinson, I’d fly down here and fly him back to help with some work we were doing there.”
    The plane was a Cessna 172 that he purchased in partnership with some other young priests.
    “At that time, my folks lived in Ponca City, Okla.,” Fr. Boor said. “It took me four hours to drive there, and 50 minutes to fly down. I’d land in a pasture.”
    He did other things with the plane as well.
    “In 1959, Fr. Boor flew my wife and me to Wichita to get our first adopted son,  David,” said Fred Bogina, parish finance officer. “I’ll never forget him doing that for us. The baby was 4 months old. Now he’s 52 and a Highway Patrolman.”
    Fr. Boor started a basketball program for young boys and a Junior Legion of Mary for girls.
    Don Buche was an enthusiastic member of the basketball program. His father, Clarence Buche, was the coach.
    “Fr. Boor had a tremendous influence on us,” Buche said. “He was a friend and teacher, but he was also a disciplinarian. He didn’t let us get away with anything.”
    Judy Goodman Kopriva, now living in Excelsior Springs, Mo., loved her time in the Junior Legion of Mary.
    “We’d meet and pray the Rosary together,” she said. “We were also assigned a job to do every week, such as visiting the homebound to see who wanted to have communion brought to them. We actively practiced our faith in this parish. It still gives me goosebumps to think of it, and to this day I have thoughts of starting a Junior League in my parish.”
    After leaving Arma and Mulberry, Fr. Boor was assigned to Cunningham. Then, in January of 1964, he, along with Fr. Joseph Bergkamp and Fr. Harold McCormick volunteered to work at a mission in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
    The priests were to conduct CCD classes and lay apostolate programs.
    “We also helped form credit unions, a cooperative to make concrete blocks and had sewing programs with the help of two communities of nuns. How did three priests do all this? We had lay people from Colombia, the United States and Ireland.”
    He left Venezuela in 1973 and returned to the United States. He was at Our Lady of Guadalupe in South Hutchinson for 26 years, serving the needs of the Mexican community there.
    “I was also half-time chaplain at the Hutchinson prison for 17  years,” Fr. Boor said. “I retired in 1999, but volunteered to work in Garden City, until they ran me out of Dodge four or five years ago with a bad heart.”
    He may have influenced many youth in Arma, but his years there influenced him as well.
    Page 3 of 3 - “I developed a great admiration and respect for the miners, for those who came from Europe, Sicily, Croatia, Slovenia, Calabria and France,” Fr. Boor said. “That was a wonderful preparation for working in another culture.”
    And he stressed that one does not have to be a priest to do God’s work in the world.
    “With age and years I have grown in appreciation of marriage and married couples because it all starts in the home,” Fr. Boor said. “Many couples don’t understand how important their work is in rearing a family in God’s plan. We all come from a family.”

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