Members of St. Patrick Church in Laurie are gearing up for a huge community-wide celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of their parish, the first church in the area.

Members of St. Patrick Church in Laurie are gearing up for a huge community-wide celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of their parish, the first church in the area. Their original old rock church, where they still hold some special occasions, is also the oldest rock church west of the Mississippi River.

One hundred and fifty years ago a group of Osage Indians rode on horseback to St. Louis to petition the Bishop to send a priest to this area. The rest is history.

St. Patrick Church grew from the mission and a handful of faithful Irish Catholics to a second, larger church in Gravois Mills, built after they outgrew the original church. When the parish outgrew that church, Sunday Masses were held outdoors on a flatbed truck at the Sunrise Beach Community Center. St. Patrick Church is now housed at a beautiful newer church, accompanied by a national shrine, Mary Mother of the Church, which accommodates more than 1,200 visitors for their outdoor Masses on summer weekends. The oldest church in the area has continued to thrive, to grow and to integrate into the community.

The public is invited to join the parish in celebrating this historic time. Mark your calendar for what is sure to be a fun celebration October 13, 2018. Beginning at 2 p.m. at Old St. Patrick Church on Highway O, it will later move to an extravagant celebration at the new St. Patrick Church on Highway 5 in Laurie. Activities planned for the day include a buckboard procession from Old St. Patrick Church to the present-day church, an outdoor Mass at 4 p.m., a feast of roasted pig and fried chicken, a country store, a beer and wine garden, games for children, era music, an historical display and a raffle which will award 21 prizes paying a total of $14,500 in cash. Dinners will cost $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 12 years.

The theme for this Sesquicentennial celebration is “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” and will emphasize a favorite catchphrase of the former long-time pastor, Fr. Fred Barnett, “We pray and we play, and we get to heaven the happy way.”