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Holy Name of Jesus Parish in North County to celebrate its mission as a mission parish with Mass mob Oct.20

Holy Name of Jesus Parish celebrates 111 years of heritage at Mass mob on Oct. 20

Allison Pittmann, right, helped a client who visited the St. Vincent de Paul conference at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in the Bissell Hills neighborhood. The woman was applying for utility assistance in February. The parish, formed from several other parishes, has a strong outreach program to people needing assistance.
Photo Credits: Lisa Johnston
Holy Name of Jesus Parish is described by its parishioners as a mission parish with a mission.

Located in the Bissell Hills neighborhood of northeast St. Louis County, the parish was founded in 2005 but is built upon 111 years — and 14 parishes worth — of Catholic history in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Today, the parish, which covers 37 square miles, stands as a beacon of outreach to the community in north St. Louis County, serving others through efforts including St. Vincent de Paul Society, The Marthas funeral luncheon ministry, Justice Grows ministry, homebound ministry, youth ministry, and through partnerships with Pathways to Progress, Room at the Inn and Saint Louis Counseling.

“There’s been a refashioning, a whole new notion of parish, so that it’s not just about our parish but our Catholic Church,” pastor Father Michael Henning said. “We’re kind of an outpost here. We need to have a long future, and that in part is through these partnerships that have to do with reaching out to the community in areas that are fundamentally about human development. We see that as a real work of evangelization. It enables us to have a long-term presence as a parish, as much as an effective presence as the Church in an area where we really need to be known as a Church that cares.”

Holy Name of Jesus will host a Mass Mob on Sunday, Oct. 20, in thanksgiving to God for its long faith heritage and its continued presence in North County. The Mass Mob concept was popularized in Buffalo, N.Y., and spread to other cities, including Columbus, Detroit, Kansas City and Chicago. Borrowing from the “flash mob” idea, in which a large group of people suddenly come together to perform a random act, a Mass Mob gathers people for worship and to raise awareness and appreciation for historic churches. Previous Mass Mobs hosted in the Archdiocese of St. Louis typically have attracted about 400-500 people.

In 2006, a year after Holy Name of Jesus was formed, the former St. Jerome church building and school annex was renovated to accommodate St. Vincent de Paul, Room at the Inn and parish offices.

Pathways to Progress, a program of Catholic Charities’ St. Francis Community Services, is based at the former school building on campus. The program provides wraparound case management services for families living in poverty in North St. Louis County, with plans to expand to north St. Louis City, said program director Maryn Olson. Nine people recently graduated from the program. “We walk with families from two to four years, and we ask, ‘Where are you now, and where do you want to go?’ And we figure out how to make that happen,” Olson said.

Christ Light of the Nations School in nearby Spanish Lake provides a Catholic education for grades kindergarten through eighth and has been supported by Holy Name of Jesus Parish — and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish through 2016 — since the school was formed 14 years ago. The school also is supported through funding from the Annual Catholic Appeal and student scholarships from the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation.

Principal Sister Mary Lawrence, SSND, noted that the school “is a stabilizing factor in this end of North County. We are the sole provider of Catholic (elementary) education here, and it gives parents the option of a Christian education. That’s the most important job that we have, to be another avenue for kids to have somewhere safe and secure to learn.”

Parishioners from Holy Name of Jesus and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne in Florissant also regularly volunteer with Room at the Inn, a ministry sponsored by the Sisters of the Divine Providence, which provides 24-hour emergency shelter for women and children and families in St. Louis County. Holy Name of Jesus serves as one of more than 50 night sites, hosting up to 10 people twice a month. ”Every week is different,” said parish coordinator Joan Aslin. “You have a lot of laughs and smiles and tears. The children are so precious.”

Through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, utility assistance is offered twice a month, and the food pantry once a month, to neighbors in need. The number of people served continues to grow, Father Henning said. Volunteer and financial support also comes from several other parishes in the archdiocese, including St. Anselm, St. Clement of Rome, St. Joseph in Cottleville, St. Joseph in Clayton and Ascension.

“I’ve thought of the needs in this area as ways in which we could attract more volunteers and commitment as a work of the Church,“ Father Henning said. “I think we’ve only begun to scratch the surface here.”

>> Mass Mob

WHERE: Holy Name of Jesus Church, 10235 Ashbrook Drive, in north St. Louis County

WHEN: Mass celebrated at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, followed by fellowship and hospitality and an open house of the campus

MORE INFO: The Mass is in thanksgiving to God for the parish’s heritage of faith, including the faithful witness and generous sacrifice of 14 former parish communities. These parishes are now the foundation of Holy Name of Jesus’ future and presence in northeast St. Louis County.

>> The history behind Holy Name of Jesus

Holy Name of Jesus Parish was formed in 2005 and includes the former Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Good Counsel, St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Jerome and St. Pius X parishes, and part of St. Christopher Parish. It is located at the site of the former St. Jerome Parish in Bissell Hills. The parish boundaries now cover 37 square miles.

The following are former parishes located in north St. Louis County and St. Louis City, all of which now share in the heritage of Holy Name of Jesus.

•St. Aloysius (1908-2005) *This parish started as a mission of Holy Cross Parish in the Baden neighborhood of north St. Louis

• St. Adalabert (1912-1993)

• Corpus Christi (1915-2005)

• St. Catherine of Alexandria (1921-2005)

• St. Louis de Marillac (1935-1999)

• Our Lady of Good Counsel (1951-2005)

• St. Jerome (1952-2005)

• St. Pius X (1954-2005)

• St. Lucy (1957-1998)

• Our Lady of Loretto (1959-2005)

• St. Francis Xavier Cabrini (1965-1999)

• Transfiguration (1965-2005)

• St. Christopher (1967-2005)

•Our Lady of the Rosary (2005-2016; Our Lady of the Rosary included the former parishes of Our Lady of Loretto, St. Aloysius and part of Transfiguration, and was located at the site of Our Lady of Loretto in Spanish Lake.)

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