Our Parish History

Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish History

History of the Catholic Church in Northwestern Jefferson County (House Springs Area)

The history of our Parish actual begins in the early 1800's with Irish Catholics settling in the area between the Meramec and the Big River. In 1844 the first parish to serve the settlers of this area was established by Bishop Kenrick, the first Archbishop of St. Louis. The first church built to serve the new settlers was St. Patrick's of Down, located on the Meramec river about four miles south of Pacific. As the population of the area increased, St. Patrick's was no longer centrally located.

A new St. Patrick's was built, as well as the church of St. Columbkille (1850), which was a mission parish to St. Patrick, in the present House Springs area in Byrnesville. Initially, both churches were served and administered from St. Patrick's. 

In 1880 St. Columbkille got its first Pastor, Fr. William Gallagher and the House Springs area had an independent parish.

The population of the area continued to grow and new parishes emerged. By the turn of the century, many Catholics from House Springs and High Ridge who had been attending Mass at St. Columbkille's were now attending at St. John's Church in Rock Creek or St. Joseph's Church in Kimswick.

In 1905, St. Philomena's church was built in House Springs as a mission of St. Columbkille's. It remained a mission church until 1948.

During World War I  (1918) , Fr. Jeremiah Murphy was appointed to serve the two Byrnesville-House Springs parishes. He remained pastor until his retirement in 1955. Through the time of the two World Wars and the Great Depression, the population of St. Columbkille's remained rather stable or decreased slightly, while the construction of Highway 30, giving easy access to St. Louis, contributed to the development of subdivisions and a rapid expansion in the population of House Springs and St. Philomena's.

St. Columbkille had Fr. Jeremiah Murphy till 1955, when Fr. Joseph O’Brien became pastor in  1955. In 1957 Fr. O’Brien when off for military service

Fr. Joseph Dwyer came to St. Philomena, on April 23, 1948 and was pastor till 1956. So in 1948 St. Columkille and St. Phililomena, both had a Pastor.  Fr. James Curtin, came to St. Philomena as Pastor in 1956. In was in 1957 he became administered of St. Columbkille, as well, when Fr. O’Brein left.

In 1957, St. Columkille's no longer had a resident pastor, but was administered by Fr. James Curtin, the resident pastor of St. Philomena's until the two parishes were merged in 1959.

On September 18,1959, it was announced that St. Philomena and St. Columbkille, would become one parish, the New St. Philomena.

April 10, 1960, ground was broken for a new church. A new, larger church to accommodate the parishioners of the merged churches and intended to be the new St. Philomena's, was built on the present site. With the reorganization of the calendar of saints, the Church was dedicated by Joseph Cardinal Ritter on July 20, 1961 as Our Lady Queen of Peace.

On July 20, 1961 the dedication of the new Church with a new name - Our Lady Queen of Peace

In September 1961, Fr. Thomas Woracek, became the next pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace

Since its dedication in 1961, Our Lady Queen of Peace has served the needs of Catholics in a large area of Jefferson County. By the parish's Twenty Fifth Anniversary in 1986, an excellent parish school was operating and a large PSR program was in place. Parish based service groups and faith formation groups were in place to nourish the spiritual needs of parishioners and take the spirit of Catholic faith at Our Lady Queen of Peace beyond our borders.

Our Lady Queen of Peace has moved into the new millenium and has celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2011.

The parish remains a vibrant community of faith, a caring family of believers, and a model of Christian Witness in Jefferson County and the Archdiocese of St. Louis.