The first Mass was celebrated in Emporia by Jesuit Father Paul Ponziglione in March 1870 at the home of T. L. Ryan at 6th Avenue and Exchange Street. Father Ponziglione made periodic visits to Emporia for a couple of years until Father Joseph Perrier was officially assigned in 1872. Money was donated for the first church by both Catholics and non-Catholics from the community. Two lots of land were purchased at 2nd Avenue and Cottonwood Street. The first church, a wood frame structure, was built in 1874 and was approximately 30’ x 30’ in size. The church was built without debt, costing $3,500.