The mission of Our Lady of the Holy Cross Parish in the Baden neighborhood of St. Louis is to be in direct contact with the problems and sufferings of the people in its territory — to help them carry their cross.
Thus, said Father Vince Nyman, the call is to “be hope and meet Jesus in the hearts of those who suffer,” which takes many forms in an impoverished area such as the Baden community today. Nearly 40 percent of residents of the 63147 zip code live below 125 percent of the poverty level, and the median household income in the parish boundaries is $31,539, according to the 2019 American Community Survey.
All of us need to look to the cross, he said. “Our saints were saved by the blood of Jesus. That blood of Jesus continues to be poured out in His children today of all walks of life. We find salvation when we reach out to those who are suffering.”
The predominantly African-American community has a higher percentage of people who suffer from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other chronic illnesses.
Drug addiction, homelessness, domestic abuse, violence also are prevalent at high rates. “The people here live the crucified Christ,” said Father Nyman, pastor of the parish. “Just as Mary stood at the foot of the cross of Jesus, she embraces us as well.”
It’s one thing to have the word “cross” in the name of a parish, but it’s important also to be present to the suffering there, he added.
Our Lady of the Holy Cross Parish, in its bulletin, points out that the glory and beauty of God, as well all goodness, should be seen by all. “Our parishioners are aware of their calling to be light in a troubled setting, witnessing to the fact that personal and social transformation is a real possibility. We are committed in our resolve to plant seeds of faith, hope, and love for each and every one.”
Father Nyman invites people to visit the historic Our Lady of the Holy Cross Parish and/or help support its mission. Founded in 1864, the first church had 24 pews. The parishioners were primarily of German and French ancestry. In 1872, the Irish started their own church named Our Lady of Mount Carmel, one block away. It later merged with Holy Cross Parish to form Our Lady of the Holy Cross Parish. The present church was dedicated in 1909, designed by two architects from Germany.
For information on the parish, visit