Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis

The Archdiocese of St. Louis (Latin: Archidiœcesis Sancti Ludovici) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or archdiocese of the Catholic Church that covers the City of St. Louis and the Missouri counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Perry, Saint Charles, Saint Francois, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis, Warren, and Washington. It is the metropolitan see of the ecclesiastical province containing three suffragan sees: Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, the Diocese of Jefferson City, and the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph.[citation needed] It is led by Archbishop, Mitchell Thomas Rozanski, formerly the Bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts.[citation needed]

Archdiocese of Saint Louis

Archidiœcesis Sancti Ludovici
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritorySt. Louis City and ten counties in eastern Missouri
Ecclesiastical provinceSt. Louis
Area5,968 sq mi (15,460 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2017)
514,178 (22.8%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJuly 18, 1826 (197 years ago)
CathedralCathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Patron saintSaint Louis IX(Primary)
Saint Vincent DePaul
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne(Secondary)[1]
Secular priests301
Current leadership
ArchbishopMitchell T. Rozanski
Auxiliary BishopsMark Steven Rivituso
Bishops emeritusRaymond Leo Burke
Robert Joseph Hermann
Robert James Carlson

The archdiocesan cathedral is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.



Early history


The first parish of Saint Louis was established in 1770 by French settlers to the region. The parish was then part of the Diocese of San Cristobal de la Habana, based in Havana, Cuba. It was later incorporated into the Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas when it was erected on April 25, 1793, which originally encompassed the entire Louisiana Purchase as well as the Florida peninsula and the Gulf Coast. The oldest parish in the diocese is St. Genevieve parish founded in 1759 in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri[2]

Pope Pius VI erected the Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas encompassing the pioneer parishes of St Louis, New Orleans, and Louisiana and both Florida colonies on April 25, 1793, taking its territory from the Diocese of San Cristobal de la Habana, based in Havana, Cuba. The diocese originally encompassed the entire territory of the Louisiana Purchase, from the Gulf of Mexico to British North America, as well as the Florida peninsula and the Gulf Coast.[3] This date of erection makes the present Archdiocese of St Louis and the Archdiocese of New Orleans the second oldest Catholic dioceses in the present United States after the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which the same pope had erected as the Diocese of Baltimore on November 6, 1789. The new diocese encompassed the area under the Spanish crown as Luisiana, which was all the land draining into the Mississippi River from the west, as well as Spanish territory to the east of the river in modern-day Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

In April 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from France, which had in 1800 forced Spain to retrocede the territory in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. The United States took formal possession of St Louis, then part of Upper Louisiana, on March 10, 1804. John Carroll, the Bishop of Baltimore, served as apostolic administrator of the diocese from 1805 to 1812.[citation needed]

The area's first bishop was Louis William Valentine Dubourg, who on September 24, 1815, was appointed Bishop of Louisiana and the [East and West] Two Floridas by Pope Pius VII. He was the Bishop of the Louisiana Territory from 1815 to 1826.[2] DuBourg chose to set up his episcopal see in St. Louis. In 1823, Pope Pius VII appointed Joseph Rosati to the office of coadjutor bishop of the diocese.[citation needed]

On August 19, 1825, Pope Leo XII erected the Apostolic Vicariate of Alabama and the Floridas, taking its territory from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas. Although the two Florida territories were no longer part of the diocese, he did not change its title. But soon after, Bishop Rosati abruptly resigned the office of coadjutor bishop during a trip to Rome after which the Vatican decided to split the diocese again, making St. Louis a separate see. On July 18, 1826, the same pope

  • Erected the Diocese of St. Louis, taking its territory from the Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas and the Diocese of Durango,
  • Erected the Apostolic Vicariate of Mississippi, taking its territory from the Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas,
  • Erected the Diocese of New Orleans, taking its territory from the Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas, and
  • Appointed Bishop Rosati as apostolic administrator of both the Diocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of St. Louis. [citation needed]



After Bishop Dubourg's resignation and transfer to lead the diocese of Montauban, France, the diocese of Louisiana was split, giving New Orleans a bishop again, and the Diocese of St. Louis was erected on July 18, 1826, by Pope Leo XII. When founded, it included the state of Missouri, the western half of Illinois, and all American territory west of the Mississippi River and north of the state of Louisiana. It was the largest American diocese, equaling in extent all of the other nine dioceses.[citation needed]

Its first bishop, Joseph Rosati, led the Catholic Church's expansion of its presence in these areas, and built its first cathedral, now known as the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France. He was the Bishop of St. Louis from 1826 to 1843.[2]

On July 28, 1837, territory in Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas was taken from the Diocese to form the Diocese of Dubuque, Iowa.

Until 1840, the "Old Cathedral" was the only church in the city. By 1850, there were 10.[2]

The archdiocese has admitted that it enslaved at least 87 people throughout its history, and that at least 5 senior clergy owned slaves.[4]



The St. Louis Diocese was elevated to an Archdiocese on July 20, 1847, by Pope Pius IX.

Because of its former size, the archdiocese was often referred to as the Rome of the West.[5] It is dedicated to Saint Louis IX and has as its copatrons Saints Vincent de Paul and Rose Philippine Duchesne.[citation needed]

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis contains the largest collection of mosaics in the world. [citation needed] The Cathedral of St. Louis was dedicated in 1926 on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of St. Louis as a diocese, and was built under the direction of Archbishop John Glennon – the last Irish-born Bishop of St. Louis – and completed under the leadership of Archbishop John May. Work on the cathedral mosaics would not be completed for 60 years. The Cathedral of St. Louis was designated a "Basilica" in 1997 on the 150th anniversary of the archdiocese.[2]

St. Louis Preparatory Seminary in the countryside which is now the St. Louis suburb of Shrewsbury was completed in 1931. Later it became Cardinal Glennon College. Today it is the archdiocesan seminary Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.[citation needed]

In January 1999, the archdiocese was host to a two-day visit from Pope John Paul II, the first time a pope had visited the city. It was not John Paul's first visit, since 30 years earlier, he had paid a visit when he was Cardinal Wojtyła, Archbishop of Kraków.[citation needed]

Closing of Parishes


Facing a shortage of priests and decreased Mass attendance, the Archdiocese of St. Louis announced in May 2023 it was closing 44 parishes in a reorganization. In making the announcement, Archbishop Rozanski said "The church experience in our parishes today is not the same as it was 50 years ago, yet we are still functioning in many ways out of the same mode of evangelization with the same structures. We have inherited a great treasure of Catholic institutions from previous generations, but many of them are no longer as effective or sustainable as they once were.”

Under the plan, thirty-five parishes will be taken over, or subsumed, by neighboring ones and fifteen will merge with others to create five new parishes by 2026.[6]

Sexual Abuse of Children


In 2004, the Archdiocese paid $1.7 million to settle claims that it could have intervened to prevent the abuse of children, but failed to do so.[7]

In 2018, then-Archbishop Robert Carlson testified that he was unsure whether he knew in the 1980s that sexual assault of a minor was a crime, and was unable to say when he came to believe that sexual abuse of a minor was a crime.[8]

In July 2019, the Archdiocese of St. Louis released the names of 64 clergy who were "credibly accused" of committing acts of sexual abuse while serving in the Archdiocese.[9][10]

On August 16, 2019, "sexually violent priest" Frederick Lenczycki, who had previously served prison time in Illinois between 2004 and 2009 for acts of sexual abuse,[11] was sentenced to 10 years in prison 2+12 months after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a boy in St. Louis County.[9]

In 2019, the Missouri Attorney General's Office identified over 160 instances of St. Louis Catholic diocesan priests and deacons sexually abusing minors.[12]

In June 2023, the Archdiocese agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit by a man who alleged he was raped when an altar boy from 4th through 6th grade[7] by a since-defrocked priest who has been required to register as a sex offender.[13]

Cancellation of free lunch program for schoolchildren


In April 2022, the Archdiocese directed local Catholic schools to cease participation in free lunch programs, which journalists cautioned could potentially result in thousands of schoolchildren going without free daily lunches. The Archdiocese reportedly advised its schools that if they offered free lunches, they would have to adhere to the Civil Rights Act, which it described as "problematic."[14][15]

Before its withdrawal of the federal program went into effect, the archdiocese allegedly claimed that it would provide its own free lunch program.[16]



The following is a list of the bishops and archbishops of St. Louis, and coadjutors and auxiliary bishops of St. Louis; and their years of service.[citation needed]

Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas

  1. Louis-Guillaume-Valentin Dubourg (1812–1826), appointed Bishop of Montauban and later Archbishop of Besançon

Bishops of St. Louis

  1. Joseph Rosati, C.M. (1827–1843)
    - John Timon (Appointed Coadjutor Bishop in 1839, but did not take effect); appointed Prefect Apostolic of the Republic of Texas in 1840 and later Bishop of Buffalo
  2. Peter Richard Kenrick (1843–1847); Elevated to Archbishop

Archbishops of St. Louis

  1. Peter Richard Kenrick (1847–1895)
  2. John Joseph Kain (1895–1903)
  3. Cardinal John J. Glennon (1903–1946)
  4. Cardinal Joseph Ritter (1946–1967)
  5. Cardinal John Joseph Carberry (1968–1979)
  6. John L. May (1980–1992)
  7. Justin Francis Rigali (1994–2003), appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia (Cardinal in 2003)
  8. Raymond Leo Burke (2004–2008), appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and later Patron of the Order of Malta (Cardinal in 2010)
  9. Robert James Carlson (2009–2020)
  10. Mitchell T. Rozanski (2020–present)

Auxiliary Bishops


Other priests of this diocese who became bishops






The Archdiocese of St. Louis contains 97 primary schools and 25 high schools, with a total enrollment as of 2023 of 30,741.[17]

High schools


Coeducational schools


All boys schools


All girls schools

Closed schools



The Archdiocese Office of Catholic Cemeteries operates 17 cemeteries in the region, including:[21]

  • Ascension
  • Calvary
  • Glencoe
  • Holy Cross
  • Mt. Olive
  • Our Lady
  • Queen of Peace
  • Resurrection
  • Sacred Heart
  • St. Charles Borromeo
  • St. Ferdinand
  • St. Mary's
  • St. Monica
  • St. Peter
  • Sts. Peter & Paul
  • St. Philippine
  • St. Vincent

Suffragan sees

Ecclesiastical Province of St. Louis

See also



  1. ^ "St. Rose Philippine Duchesne arrives at St. Louis Walk of Fame".
  2. ^ a b c d e [Dolan, Timothy Michael. Archdiocese of St. Louis: Three Centuries of Catholicism, 1700-2000. Strasbourg, France: Editions Du Signe, 2001. Print.]
  3. ^ Points, Marie Louise. "New Orleans." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. November 19, 2017
  4. ^ Bogan, Jesse (2024-01-29). "St. Louis Archdiocese is slow to share its history of owning slaves". Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  5. ^ "Small group with big mission hopes to save 'Rome of the West' in St. Louis | Jefferson City News-Tribune". 2022-02-13. Retrieved 2024-04-10.
  6. ^ "Reorganization will cut Catholic Parishes in St. Louis". St. Louis Public Radio. Retrieved 2023-07-06.
  7. ^ a b "St Louis Catholic archdiocese to pay $1m to settle sexual abuse lawsuit". The Guardian. Associated Press. 2023-06-09. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  8. ^ "St. Louis Archbishop Didn't Know Sex With Children Was a Crime". NBC News. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  9. ^ a b "St. Louis Archdiocese names 64 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children or possessing child porn | Metro |".
  10. ^ "List Release | Promise To Protect | Archdiocese of St Louis". Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  11. ^ "Judge denies lower bond for former Hinsdale priest". 22 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Archdiocese of St. Louis abuse victim speaks out after settling with church for $1M". STLPR. 2023-11-10. Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  13. ^ "Archdiocese of St. Louis abuse victim speaks out after settling with church for $1M". STLPR. 2023-11-10. Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  14. ^ Messenger, Tony (2022-08-30). "Messenger: St. Louis Archdiocese tells Catholic schools to drop free lunch program". Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  15. ^ "St. Louis Catholic schools directed to exit Nat'l School Lunch Program". Aleteia — Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture. 2022-08-31. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  16. ^ "St. Louis archdiocese: Students won't lose their lunch over federal program decision". The Pillar. 2022-09-01. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  17. ^ "Home | Archdiocese of St. Louis Catholic Schools". Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  18. ^ a b c "Schools | Archdiocese of St. Louis Catholic Schools". Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  19. ^ "Barat Academy". Barat Academy. Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  20. ^ "Agencies | Archdiocese of St Louis". Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  21. ^ Archdiocese of St. Louis: Cemeteries

38°38′34″N 90°15′26″W / 38.64278°N 90.25722°W / 38.64278; -90.25722