Parish History

St. Patrick Church has been a part of the Rolla Community for more than 135 years. We are proud of our history and would like to share a little bit of it with you.



Abraham Lincoln was President as the year 1862 began. The Amercian Civil War had begun in earnest. Missouri was the scene of bitter and partisan fighting. Rolla, Missouri was a newly incorporated frontier settlement of 600 people. It resembled a military camp as the railroad terminal for all Union supplies and troops (20,000 to 60,000) stationed in the area. Catholic Irish railroad workers were among the inhabitants of the swollen town and , as 1862 began, in January, Fr. Patrick Gallagher arrived as their shepherd, baptizing six children his first week. By June of 1862, Fr. Gallagher and the parishioners broke ground for the first Church building in Rolla to be built exclusively for religious services. The newly constructed Church was located at Seventh and State Streets. The first services were held on the third Sunday of September, 1862. Because of its Irish roots and Pastor, it was unsurprisingly dedicated to God under the patronage of St. Patrick. It served the parish community for seventy-five years. Original St. Patrick Church on 7th and State as it is today (now Church of Christ Scientist). It was the first building in Rolla built exclusively for religious services. In the early 1940s, as World War II raged, plans began for construction of a new Church building to meet the needs of the growing Catholic congregation. Father Lambert was Pastor as these bold plans culminated with a beautiful new stone Church on Highway 63 and St. Patrick Lane in 1947. A new school was completed in 1953. A parish Hall was constructed in 1975. The Church itself was extensively remodeled and updated in 1979. A new pipe organ was installed in 1984. The By the early 1990s, the parish had grown so much that it was time to think of expanding its facilities. Fundraising and construction for the expanded St. Patrick facilities began in the midst of a deepening recession and on the brink of a war (in the Persian Gulf). However, the long and short term need for a bigger worship space, the need for relatively major repairs in the Church, and committed parish leaders and parishioners with vision and pragmatism made the project possible. The goal was to almost double the size of the church (to 488 seats), provide handicapped access and provide better cry room facilities for our young families. Very early in the process, the scope of the expansion project began to take shape. The possibility of turning the interior of the Church completely around made main entrances that better connect with the rest of the parish campus. It also enabled a much better design for worship space as well as an expanded narthex for fellowship and visiting. The need for a daily chapel plus additional meeting rooms was recognized early and also made part of the project. The project was then broken into two financially bite-sized pieces with the daily chapel and two of the meeting rooms to be roughed in and finished at a later date; all of the rest was the bigger piece, or Phase I. Phase I was begun in the fall of 1991 and completed in November, 1992. We celebrated and rejoiced in prayer on November 29th, 1992, as we rededicated the expanded Church building. In 1994 we were given a bequest by Fr. Joseph Scheer to complete the Chapel in memory of Mary, Katherine, Rosemary and Oscar C. Scheer. Fr. Scheer had been assigned here as Associate Pastor from 1945 to 1948. During that time he had been very involved with the building of the "new church" which took place from 1945 to 1947 personnally handling every piece of slate on the roof! The bequest from Fr. Scheer was given to complete the interior of the chapel shell making a fully usable daily Mass and devotional chapel. The Chapel was dedicated on Wednesday, June 22nd, 1994 with Fr. Don Antweiller and Fr. Joseph Scheer con-celebrating the Mass. At about the same time we recieved the bequest from Fr. Scheer, it was decided to complete the meeting rooms because we were very much in need of them. This effectively completed Phase II. While this Church building is truly a "new" St. Patrick's, there is continuity with the old as well. The beautiful stone exterior is maintained in expanded form. The beautiful wood-beamed ceiling has been enhanced and complemented. The stained glass window in the chapel which depicts St. Patrick is from the original church which was located on State Street. The continuity of the "old" St. Patrick's with the "new" is even coincidentally reflected in both architect (Mr. Art Stauder) and contractor (Mr. Moe Hogan) having a father or grandfather who played major roles in the first St. Patrick's on this site. The new St. Patrick's purpose, like its two predecessors, is for the worshipping community to praise God. It reflects our Catholic Christian faith while also challenging us to grow in it. The new St. Patrick's is a source of great pride for parishioners and hopefully also for our neighbors and friends in the community and surrounding area of Rolla of which we are a part. It is also a source of great humility and gratitude to God for his presence and guidance.

The current St Patrick church.


Our Pastors Through the Years: 1862 - 1865 Rev. Francis Patrick Gallagher
1865 - 1868 Rev. F. W. Graham
1868 - 1875 Rev. Thomas J. Moran
1875 - 1879 Rev. E. Smith
1879 - 1880 Rev. Thomas Bonacum
1880 - 1918 Rev. Patrick B. O'Loughlin
1918 - 1921 Rev. John P. Lynch
1921 - 1941 Rev. Sidney P. Stocking
1941 - 1952 Rev. Harry J. Lambert
1952 - 1960 Msgr. Gerold J. Kaiser
1960 - 1970 Rev. Thomas D. Sullivan
1970 - 1972 Rev. William D. Ludwig
1972 - 1980 Rev. Fred Elskamp
1980 - 1985 Rev. John Fischer
1985 - 1994 Rev. Donald Antweiler
1994 - 1998 Rev. Donald L. Wallace
1998 - 2003 Rev. I. C. Medina
2003 - 2010 Msgr. David Cox
2010 - 2012 Fr. Mchael P. Murphey
2012 - 2016 Fr. Charles Pardee
2016 - 2019 Fr. David J. Veit

2019 - Fr. Gregory Meystrik