A funeral Mass for Msgr. Jerome J. Buchheit, a retired parish pastor, was celebrated Aug. 30 at Holy Infant Church in Ballwin. Msgr. Buchheit, 95, died Aug. 26. He was the oldest priest in the archdiocese.
Msgr. Buchheit was born on Dec. 19, 1925 in Longtown, Missouri, and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on May 3, 1951, by then-Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter.
Having served as a pastor for 34 of his 70 years of priesthood, Msgr. Buchheit said in an interview with the Review earlier this year, the key was to remember that you’re serving others when you’re leading a parish. “You don’t want to be domineering,” he said. “Priests really should be servants. If you can get along with people, then you’ll be fine.”
He was raised in St. Joseph Parish in Apple Creek, a small town in Perry County, about 10 miles south of Perryville. He was encouraged to attend a preparatory school run by Vincentian priests in Cape Girardeau. He spent one year there, and then decided he was being called to the diocesan priesthood. Msgr. Buchheit attended St. Louis Preparatory Seminary, and then Kenrick Seminary.
His first assignment as a priest was at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Soulard, where he remained until 1956. Msgr. Buchheit served at a variety of parishes elsewhere in the archdiocese, including assistant pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Louis, 1956-59; assistant pastor, St. Peter Parish in St. Charles, 1959-67; pastor, St. Joseph Parish in Farmington, 1967-74; pastor, St. George Parish in Gardenville, 1974-84; and pastor, Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin, from 1984 until his retirement in 2001. He also served as dean of the Southwest Deanery in the 1990s.
Holy Infant was his longest tenure, having served there for 17 years. He was known as an ambitious administrator, serving as a master builder of the current parish complex, which included church and parish center and expansion of the school.
Msgr. Buchheit retired to the De Soto area and assisted at St. Rose of Lima Parish for 13 years before moving to Regina Cleri, a home for retired diocesan priests in Shrewsbury, in 2014. He moved to Mother of Good Counsel Home in February. While at Regina Cleri, he celebrated five Masses a week at area nursing homes and helped with Sunday Masses as needed at area parishes.
Of his vocation, he said: “I’ve tried to fulfill it to the best of my ability,” he said. “God put you here and you can only live and do what God wants you to do.”
Burial was in Resurrection Cemetery.