Welcome to St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church! As many of you know, our parish began in 1893. Our current church building in not the original but was erected in 1906. As a bit of history, you may recognize its style as a blend of French Gothic and English. You may also recognize the four statues of the evangelists that adorn the outside of the building. And you may be able to recognize the biblical stories portrayed in the various windows designed by Emil Frei. But the true history of St. Matthew is not the building but rather the people who came to the building.
The original parishioners were Irish factory workers, and St. Matthew was one of several Irish parishes that grew from the original St. Patrick's at 6th and Biddle. As demographics shifted, the Ville neighborhood became prominent as a model African American community with construction of famous institutions like Homer G. Phillips hospital and Sumner High School. It wasn't until the 1950's that Fr. Craig, under the initiative of Cardinal Ritter, integrated St. Matthew. In 1959, Fr. Zimmerman was appointed the first Jesuit pastor bringing with him many of the parishioners of St. Malachy's Church when it closed. Since that time the parish has retained an identity as both African American and Jesuit.
Our history continues as our parish becomes a place of rebirth and new growth. Our neighborhood is showing sparks of new life as new construction is underway. There are homes and apartments that will soon be a place for new neighbors and we welcome them. More collaboration is happening amongst other faith communities as we strive to serve and be a source of strength to those who are left behind and often forgotten. Our parish is honored to be the first parish in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to appoint a Parish Life Coordinator from the laity. I am humbled and it is with great honor to be entrusted with such a gift.