The St. Patrick's Catholic Church will mark 150 years of service to the community with a major gathering at Laurie, MO.

Faithful Catholics and local historians will want to mark October 13 on their calendars.  The St. Patrick’s Catholic Church will mark 150 years of service to the community with a major gathering at Laurie, MO.

The 1800s era themed Saturday party will feature a beer and wine garden old west saloon, home goods, hog roast, a musical group called the Joel Rosario Trio, kids games and an outdoor Mass. 

Hours are 2pm to 8pm.  The Mass is at 4:30pm.

St. Patrick Church on Highway 5 in Laurie, Missouri, is celebrating its 150th anniversary and remembering its fascinating past.  The first step of its historic journey began in 1822 when seven Osage Indian Chieftains rode by horseback to Florissant, Missouri, to ask the bishop to send a priest to minister to them.  After the spring rains each year, missionaries traveled on horseback, by boat, canoe, or on foot to preach, baptize and marry the Osage.

As the area continued to grow Thomas Fitzpatrick settled in the beautiful green stillness of the Ozarks which reminded him of his native Ireland.  He returned to Ireland and convinced his wife and neighbors to join him.  In 1863 plans for the church were formulated.  Patrick Johnson donated 3.38 acres for the church and cemetery, and in 1868 work began.

The church was built by a group of Irish Catholics, a German-American Catholic, and a Protestant Scotsman.  Stone was quarried on the Johnson farm and hauled to the site by oxen.  The floor was dirt, the pews were s logs split in half, and the shingles were hewn from oak trees.  The building was designed to hold 80 and was ready for worship in 1870.

Through the years the log seats were replaced with pews given by a church in Kansas City, MO.  A more formal altar was added that came from the chapel of St. Mary’s Hospital in Sedalia, and the altar rails were a gift from the sacred Heart Church in Sedalia.  Churches in Jefferson City donated statues and other furnishings.  As the congregation outgrew the little church, Mass was held with the windows opened so that people standing outside could participate.  

The last regular service was held at old St. Patrick Church on July 20, 1952.   On March 2, 1979, the old church was listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The congregation moved to a new church that was built in Gravois Mills because the population had shifted there.  That church, the 2nd St. Patrick Church, remained in service for the next 30 years.  By then summer visitors were overcrowding the area.  Fr. Fred Barnett, the pastor, began saying Masses atop a flatbed truck at the Sunrise Beach Community Center to accommodate the crowds.  Meanwhile plans were underway to build the new St. Patrick Church, named Shrine of St. Patrick to designate it from the old, original St. Patrick Church.

The new and current St. Patrick Church was built in l980.  It features an outdoor prayer path which has stations of the cross that are over 100 years old, an avenue of flags, and beautiful manicured grounds.

By the mid l980’s summer crowds were again overflowing the church.  Fr. Barnett built a grotto to Mary to accommodate the summer visitors with outdoor Masses.  The shrine, Mary Mother of the Church, was dedicated in 1988.  In 1999 a Wall of Life was added, a wall of granite panels where Mothers can be remembered with their names engraved.  In 2003 the shrine was designated as a National Shrine.  Thousands of visitors come to stroll the grounds, hear the carillon bells, and enjoy the fountains, a waterfall, a pond, and beautiful flowers. 


St. Patrick Church is the oldest church in the area and the first rock church west of the Mississippi River.  The old church was beautifully restored in 1997 by 1600 manhours provided by the Knights of Columbus, Council 10381, which earned them an International Service Program Church Activities Award.

St. Patrick Church will celebrate its Sesquicentennial on October 13th beginning at 2:00 p.m. at the historic Old St. Patrick Church, processing to the New St. Patrick Church.  Festivities will include an outdoor Mass at the Mother’s Shrine, a meal of fried chicken and roasted pork, games, booths, historic displays, a wine and beer garden, music, and a drawing for $14,000 in prizes.  The public is invited to share the unique history of this fascinating church and share in its celebration.

A bit of history:

The church has had three incarnations.  The first church still exists on O Road.  It was found to be too small for the growing Catholic flock so a larger church was constructed at Gravois Mills.  It, too, became too small and was sold.  

The third church, known as the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, which also has the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church on Marian Drive in Laurie.

There are 450 parishioner families in the church but on summer Sundays, the church might see 1500 in attendance.