Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary prepares to celebrate 150th Anniversary!
ALL ARE WELCOME
St. Charles County, Missouri – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 403 North Main St. in O’Fallon, Mo., is preparing to commemorate 150 years of faith, community, service, and fellowship during a sesquicentennial celebration like no other. Beginning in August, the church will commence in a month-long celebration leading up to an anniversary Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Mark Steven Rivituso of the Archdiocese of St. Louis presiding, followed by a grand reception in the Father Joseph Kempf Parish Center, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
Mark your calendar now for this historic event! If you are a current or past member of the parish community, attended or taught at Assumption School, or had a connection to the church in any way, you are invited to join in this monumental celebration! The anniversary will begin with an outdoor back-to-school and parish picnic from 12 – 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15, which is also Assumption’s parish Feast day. Additional church festivities and services are being planned and a schedule of events will be announced soon. In addition, commemorative T-shirts, sweatshirts, and a 55 page Heritage hardback book featuring photos and stories of Assumption’s past 150 years will be available for purchase. Everyone will get a commemorative booklet at the anniversary celebration in September.
The current pastor, Rev. Nick Kastenholz, considers that we need to celebrate such anniversaries. “It is important to remember and appreciate all that those in the 150 year history of the parish have done to get us to where we are today. This year, we especially appreciate how, united by Christ, they were able to not only survive but to flourish through many challenges. Our celebration will help unite us to Christ, to one another, and show the faith and joy we hope to share with the generations to come.”
Over the past 150 years, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish has touched the lives of thousands of parishioners, and has had 15 dedicated pastors serving the parish family since its inception on September 17, 1871. “May you find Christ here; may you bring Christ to the world” is more than a prayer or a song, it’s a way of life that has been practiced in the parish for well over a century.
The concept began in the fall of 1869 after 17 families from All Saints Parish in St. Peters discussed the possibility of building a Catholic School in O’Fallon close to home. Shortly after the meeting, eight additional families from St. Paul Parish in St. Paul joined the group’s venture and they decided to build a school and a parish. With the Archbishop’s approval, plans were made and the cornerstone of the original church was laid in 1870. With their very own hands, this same parish family built the church and a small log schoolhouse. Three days before the church was dedicated, the first pastor, Father William Sonnenschein, arrived and the church’s legacy began.
Over the next 60 years, the church community continued to grow and eventually outgrew the original church. In September of 1930 the Pastor, Father Peter Kurtenbach, called a general parish meeting to discuss building a larger church, and the vote was unanimously in favor of this decision. A contract was signed with the Mississippi Valley Construction Company to build the new church with the agreement that under the contractor’s supervision, some of the parishioners would do some of the work to help reduce overall costs. The entire parish took part in the demolition of tearing down the old church, removing all the debris, and constructing the new church in the exact same spot. The cornerstone was laid in November 1930 and the church was dedicated on July 4, 1931. The new church, known as the chapel, seated 600 people.
By 1999, the parish had grown to over 2,800 families and continued to expand. The parishioners knew a new church was needed but wanted to keep the current church. Under Pastor, Father Joseph Kempf’s direction, an architect was contacted to draw up plans to keep the current church and build a new church that would accommodate 1,200 people. The parishioners held capital campaigns to raise money to build the new church with a parish center below it and the administrative offices in between it and the chapel. Work on the new church and parish center began in August 2004 and the new building was dedicated on February 26, 2005.
Today, the church family at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish continues to follow Christ with Pastor, Reverend Nick Kastenholz; Senior Associate Pastor, Monsignor William McCumber; and Associate Pastor, Reverend Patrick Russell at the lead, along with two deacons and a host of dedicated church staff and volunteers. All are welcome to visit this beautiful place of worship. For more information about Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish and the 150th anniversary celebration, visit the church website at assumptionbvm.org or call 636-240-3721.