On June 23, 1959, Archbishop Edward J. Hunkeler, D.D. established a new parish in the burgeoning area of southeast Johnson County to serve the Catholic people in Leawood and sections of Prairie Village and Overland Park. Father Paul Kelly was appointed as pastor, and services were held in the basement of St. Ann’s Church to take care of the spiritual needs of the 350 families of the new parish.
Almost immediately the pastor and his hard-working parishioners set about planning and collecting funds for what would be Curé of Ars Church and School. These efforts were brought to fruition as the parish dedicated the new building on September 3, 1961. This building provided a church that seated nearly 800 people, a spacious parish hall below the church, a classroom wing that provided living quarters for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia who staffed the school, as well as office facilities for the principal and her staff. The Rectory and Parish Offices were in a small house that occupied the 10 acres that had been purchased for the parish.
Growth of the parish was swift, and seven years later a wing was added to the school, doubling the classroom space for the now 600 parish families. At the same time, a convent was built to the north of the rectory to provide quarters for the sisters and release the space they occupied in the school building for school purposes.
Father Paul Kelly resigned his pastorate in 1971 due to illness. Much of the spirit and development of Curé of Ars Parish is due to the energies and zeal of this pleasant and much-loved priest. He was succeeded by Father George Burak. The parish continued its growth and numbered over 1,400 families by 1977. Under Father Burak, plans were made and a highly successful fund drive was organized. The basic plans were completed in August, 1977
Father Robert A. Burger assumed the pastorate at Curé of Ars that same August. With the old rectory due to be razed for the site of the new church, a new rectory was established in a home across Mission Road from the church. Offices were set up in the front part of the parish convent.
In July of 1986, Father Charles McGlinn, our present pastor, came to Curé of Ars. At the same time, a new parish was formed south of 1-435, and about 450 families from Curé became the nucleus for Nativity Parish. As of May, 2009, Cure’ of Ars has approximately 2,100 families.
The following priests have served as associates at Curé since its founding: Fathers Al Rockers, Carl Zawacki, Ron Cornish, Ken Setter, Tom Dolezal, Frank Burger, Joe Cramer, Robert Everard, Michael Stubbs, Francis Hund, John Toepfer, Mick Mulvany, Patrick Jerome, Bill Fisher, David Rabe, Craig Maxim, Peter Jaramillo, Anthony Williams, Brian Schieber, Darren Henson, Kent O’Connor, and Greg Hammes.