Former Cape Girardeau pastor, Kansas bishop dies

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- The Most Rev. Marion Francis Forst, a Roman Catholic bishop in Kansas for 47 years, has died at the age of 96.

Forst, who was the oldest bishop in the U.S., died Saturday night at Olathe Regional Medical Center. A funeral Mass was scheduled for Thursday at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kan., with burial in the nearby Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Forst, a St. Louis native, was a priest for 73 years. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Louis on June 10, 1934, and spent his first two years as a priest on loan to the Diocese of Denver before returning to the St. Louis archdiocese.

Forst served three years as a Navy chaplain during World War II. After his discharge in 1946, Forst became pastor of St. Mary's Church in Cape Girardeau, Mo. When the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was formed two years later, Forst was appointed vicar general.

He was named the second bishop of Dodge City on Jan. 2, 1960.

In 1962, Pope John Paul VI called the world's bishops to Rome for the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Forst attended Vatican II's four sessions and in 2000, Forst published "Daily Journal of Vatican II," his daily observations of his time at the council.

Forst served as bishop of Dodge City for 16 years until Oct. 16, 1976, when Pope John Paul VI accepted his resignation because of health problems. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Kansas City, Kan., and held that post until retiring in 1986.

In 1995, in recognition for his long service to the church, Pope John Paul II named Forst the titular bishop of Leavenworth, an honorary position.

Information from: The Topeka Capital-Journal,

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