Parish History

Curé of Ars parish was founded in 1966.

Who is the Curé of Ars?

"The life of Saint John Vianney, given as a priestly oblation, found its inspiration and strength in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and was dedicated to leading the flock to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus, given to us as Heavenly Bread in the Holy Eucharist" ("Homily on the 40th Anniversary of the Foundation of Cure of Ars Parish," Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, November 5, 2006).

The Curé of Ars is Saint Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney, the saintly French priest who was born on May 8, 1786, at Dardilly, near Lyon, in France. He was baptized under the name of Jean-Marie, and, because he chose Jean Baptiste as his Confirmation name, thereafter referred to himself as Jean-Marie-Baptiste.

Born of a very devout family, Jean Vianney was five years old when the Reign of Terror in Paris was exiling or murdering the Catholic clergy and religious. He received his First Holy Communion at a time when the troops of the French Revolution passed through the region and closed the parish church.

His vocation was encouraged by a holy priest, and two years later Jean Vianney received the permission of his father to study for the priesthood. He was not an outstanding student, but he was finally ordained in 1815 at the age of 29.

He was assigned as Cure, or Pastor, of the Parish of Saint Sixtus at the village of Ars, some distance from Lyon, and remained there for 42 years because the people there repeatedly opposed his transfer. He himself tried several times to leave Ars in order to follow a contemplative life.

He refused the appointment as a Canon of the Diocese of Belley, and when he received the medal of the Legion of Honor in 1843, he sold it in order to give the money to the poor. He died to exhaustion on August 4, 1859, at the age of 74, as he had predicted, peacefully and without fear.

In October 3, 1874 Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney was proclaimed Venerable by Blessed Pius IX, and on January 8, 1905, he was enrolled among the Blessed. Saint Pius X proposed him as a model to the parochial clergy, and in 1925, Pope Pius XI canonized him. His feast day is kept on August 4. Because he is the patron of this Parish, his feast day is celebrated as a solemnity here at Cure of Ars.

Adapted from Saints of the Roman Calendar by Enzo Lodi, translated and adapted by Jordan Aumann, 0.P, Alba House: New York, 1992.

History of the Parish of Curé of Ars

The Parish was established by Joseph Cardinal Ritter in 1966 and was comprised of families from the following parishes: Holy Redeemer, Annunciation, Saint Dominic Savio, Seven Holy Founders and Saint Michael the Archangel. The first Mass was celebrated on September 11, 1966, at the former Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary South, the chapel of which served as the temporary church for the Parish until the completion of the Parish church built on the site of former property of Kenrick Seminary in Shrewsbury.

The first Baptism in the Parish was of Christopher Barnhorst on July 20, 1966; the first Marriage was between Mr. Norbert Terragno and Miss Dora Alice Gutierrez on November 24, 1966; the first Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Mr. George Coe, on January 20, 1967; the first Parish Meeting was in January, 1967, when the Cure of Ars Parish Assembly, predecessor of the Parish Pastoral Council, was established.

The following are those who have served as Pastor of the Parish: the Reverend Louis Kertz, 1966-1975; the Reverend Lambert Hrdlicka, 1975-1985; the Reverend Monsignor Clarence Good, 1985- 2003; the Reverend Monsignor Kevin Callahan, 2003-2004; the Reverend Philip Bené, 2005-2008; the Reverend Monsignor Mark Rivituso, 2008-2013; and the Reverend James J. Byrnes, 2013-present.

The following are those who have served as Associate Pastors, both full-time and part-time: the Reverend Eugene Utrup, the Reverend Charles Hofer, the Reverend John O'Neil, the Reverend Donald Molitor, and the Reverend Timothy Dolan, now Archbishop of New York. The Reverends John HeiI and Thomas Molini also helped minister to the spiritual needs of the Parish and the Reverend Monsignor John Maguire served as priest-in-residence from 1996 until 2004.

The following are those who have served as Permanent Deacons: Deacon Thomas Murphy, Deacon Herbert Luke, and now Deacons Patrick Monahan and Theodore Rodis.

Major events in the life of the Parish include the celebration of the Thirty-fifth Anniversary of the Ordination to the Holy Priesthood of Father Lambert Hrdlicka in 1985; the burning of the Parish mortgage also in 1985; the celebration of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Parish in 1991; the Ordination of Herbert Luke, M.D., to the Permanent Diaconate on June 10, 1995; the celebrations of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Ordination to the Holy Priesthood of Monsignor Good on December 21, 1996, and his being named a Prelate of Honor on September 26, 2003; the naming of Monsignor Callahan a Chaplain of His Holiness also on September 26, 2003; the Ordination of Patrick Monahan to the Permanent Diaconate on May 20, 2005; the Funeral Mass on December 29, 2005, of long-time parishioner Mr. George J. Lucas, Sr., father of the Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois, at which were in attendance Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop Raymond Burke, Bishop John Gaydos, Bishop Robert Hermann, and Bishop Kevin Vann; the Funeral Mass on June 17, 2006, of Mary Catherine Kelly Lucas, mother of Bishop Lucas, at which were in attendance Archbishop Joseph Naumann and Bishop Hermann; and the celebration of the Fortieth Anniversary of the Parish in 2006 with Holy Mass celebrated by Archbishop Burke on November 5, 2006.

During the Jubilee Year of the Priest, our parish celebrated a special Novena in honor of Saint John Vianney. The Most Reverend Robert Carlson was the principal celebrant and homilist for the opening Mass of the Novena on July 25, 2009. The Most Reverend Robert Hermann was the principal celebrant and homilist for the closing Mass of the Novena on August 2, 2009. The other priest-celebrants and homilists were Reverend Paul Rothschild, Reverend Kristian Tester, Reverend Monsignor Timothy Cronin, Reverend Monsignor Patrick Hambrough, Reverend Monsignor Eugene Morris, Reverend Monsignor Edward Rice, and Reverend Monsignor Mark Rivituso.

History of the Church

"Conscious of our mission to bring the love of God to the world, you have rightly placed the worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, above all the Holy Mass, as the first focus of your parish life" ("Homily on the 40th Anniversary of the Foundation of Cure of Ars Parish," Archbishop Burke).

The cornerstone of the church was laid in November 1967, construction was completed in time for Christmas Midnight Mass in 1968, and solemnly dedicated by John Cardinal Carberry on September 13, 1969.

In 1991, on the occasion of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Parish, Monsignor Good made many needed improvements to the interior of the church.

In 2005, the Parish acquired a crucifix from the former Saint Aloysius Gonzags Church in South Saint Louis. The crucifix, the corpus of which is made of wood and was carved in southern Germany in the late 1800s, was subsequently restored and installed in the sanctuary above and behind the altar. The ends of the cross contain relics of three early Christian martyrs: Saint Ireneaus, Bishop, Saint Vincent, and Saint Liberatus, Abbot. The crucifix is dedicated to the late Reverend Monsignor John Maguire, who served at the Parish during the last years of his life.

In 2005, the Parish also acquired the pipe organ of the former Saint Boniface Church in Carondelet. The four rank Wicks organ, which was originally constructed in 1960, was reconditioned, and subsequently installed in the church.

In 2006, the Parish acquired a relic of Saint John-Marie-Baptiste Vianney, the Patron of the Parish. The relic, which is comprised of a fragment of the remains of the holy priest, is for the veneration of the faithful and is permanently displayed in an ambry near the statue of our patron inside our parish church. This ambry was installed to celebrate the Jubilee Year of the Priest and to honor our parish patron and the patron of all the world's priests. A second, first class relic was donated by Archbishop Burke in 2008.

In 2009, a statue of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was donated by the John Kain Knights of Columbus Council. This statue is located towards the entrance of our parish property. This image of the Most Sacred Heart was blessed on June 19, 2009, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart.

In 2006, the sanctuary of the church was also refurbished, with the tabernacle being relocated to the center of the sanctuary behind the altar.

During the Jubilee Year of the Priest, our parish celebrated a special Novena in honor of Saint John Vianney. The Most Reverend Robert Carlson was the principal celebrant and homilist for the opening Mass of the Novena on July 25, 2009. The Most Reverend Robert Hermann was the principal celebrant and homilist for the closing Mass of the Novena on August 2, 2009. The other priest celebrants and homilists were Reverend Paul Rothschild, Reverend Kristian Teater, Reverend Monsignor Timothy Cronin, Reverend Monsignor Patrick Hambrough, Reverend Monsignor Eugene Morris, Reverend Monsignor Edward Rice, and Reverend Monsignor Mark Rivituso.

A Funeral Mass was celebrated for the repose of the soul of our former beloved pastor, Reverend Monsignor Clarence Good on May 26, 2009. The principal celebrant and homilist was Bishop Robert Hermann.