Our Lady Catholic Church
1550 St. Marys Lane
Festus, MO 63028
Rectory – (636)-937-5513 or (636)-931-4702
School/PSR – (636)-937-5008 or (636)-931-2963
Parish Fax – (636)-933-2230
Pastor – Father Jeffrey Maassen
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Deacon & Parish School of Religion – Deacon Glenn Politte
School – (636)-937-5008 ext. 9 or (636)-543-1319
Deacon Tim Dunn
School Principal – Mrs. Tracy Kempfer
School – (636)-937-5008 Ext. 1
CRE – Mrs. Judy Simon
School – (636)-937-5008 Ext. 5
Parish Council President – Mrs. Debbie Geringer
School Board President – Mr. Jason Marnin
Parish Bookkeeper – Mrs. Tracy Hoog
email – email@example.com
Parish Secretary – Mrs. Margaret Dittmann
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastoral Assistant – Miss Victoria Smith
email – email@example.com
In 1956, a committee from the St. Louis Archdiocese became aware that Sacred Heart Parish in Crystal City would need assistance in serving the people of both Festus and Crystal City. Therefore, a tract of land was purchased for a new church, to be called the Church of Our Lady.
Rev. Charles Huelster was appointed as the first pastor, and on November 12, 1956, groundbreaking was held for a building that would include a church, six classrooms, kitchen and temporary convent. While construction was going on, the newly formed parish celebrated Mass in the rectory basement at 501 Edgewood Lane. (Prior to this, Mass was held for a brief period at the American Legion Hall.) The residence at the Edgewood address was used only until a small farm house purchased with the property could be renovated for a rectory. Parish membership at this time was approximately 265 families. On February 28, 1958, classes began at Our Lady School.
With the sudden death of Fr. Huelster on August 16, 1965, a new pastor, Rev. Ambrose Stratman was appointed. He served the parish for five years. In 1970, Rev. Harold Voelker was appointed pastor.
In 1976, four additional classrooms were added onto the school, including kindergarten. In 1979, the present rectory was built. The “farm house” rectory was torn down, and in its place we how have the Rev. Harold Voelker Meditation Garden. The cross in the center of the garden was made from the timbers of the old rectory.
In March 1981, Fr. Voelker was transferred, and Rev. John Ditenhafer was appointed pastor. Under his leadership, our present church building was built, with dedication on October 8, 1989. In 2001, the final payment toward our loan on the new church was repaid to the Archdiocese.
In June 1992, Rev. Joseph Parisi was appointed pastor. After serving as pastor for just over two years, Fr. Parisi was transferred to another parish.
On November 22, 1994, our current pastor, Rev. John Kerber, was appointed to serve Our Lady Parish Family.
In July, 1995, Sister Pat Murray, OSF came to our parish to serve as a Pastoral Associate. She is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana.
Our school has steadily grown over the past couple of years and in the Fall of 1998, a second full-day Kindergarten class was added to our school.
As a result of our Archdiocesan Parish Survey in February 1998, we are looking forward to a future that includes more opportunities for the youth of our parish, ongoing religious education for adults, a greater sense of stewardship among all members, other challenges, and a wonderful growth of faith and spirit among all.
In October 1999, to address a need for ongoing religious education and spiritual growth for adults, we took part in the Archdiocesan Renew 2000 program for five sessions during each Spring and Fall, through the Fall of 2001.
In the Fall of 2000, we began forming a Youth Ministry Team for students attending 7th grade through High School. In February 2001, we officially hired Ron Reiter as our part-time Youth Minister to work with other volunteers in planning youth activities.
In September 2001, we introduced to the parish the Little Rock Scripture Study program, beginning with a four week study called An Introduction to the Bible. In January 2002, the actual study of the Bible began with a ten week study of the Acts of the Apostles. This will be an ongoing study which will cover the various books of the Bible in the future.
In the late 1990’s, as we approached the new millennium, and being aware of the growth in the Festus/Crystal City community, and all of Jefferson County, we realized that our parish school and Parish School of Religion (PSR) would experience the same growth. It became obvious that our existing school building would need additional classrooms. In the Spring of 2001, an addition to our school was begun. In March of 2002, excited students and staff, grades 5 through 8, moved into their new space. This new building included four classrooms, a library, a computer lab and science/art room. Our PSR Students also benefited from the additional classrooms. Our hope is, that once the computer lab is up and running, classes for adults will be offered. Dedication of the addition to our school building was held on April 7, 2002.
Plans for future improvements of our parish include repairing and striping the parking lot, replacing windows throughout the older part of our school and cafeteria, replacing some carpet in church, air conditioning in the school and cafeteria, painting the interior walls of the church and finishing the church basement.
From the beginning, our parish family has been richly blessed and challenged. The stewardship of the parish, and the sharing of their time, treasure and talent has been outstanding throughout the history of the parish. We know that we will be able to meet these goals as we continue to work together. We proudly stand on the strong shoulders of the past and look to a bright future full of surprises from our good and gracious God.