Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis

The Archdiocese of St. Louis (Latin: Archidioecesis Sancti Ludovici, French: Archidiocèse catholique de St. Louis) is the Roman Catholic archdiocese 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 to the suffragan sees of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, the Diocese of Jefferson City, and the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph.

Archdiocese of Saint Louis

Archidioecesis Sancti Ludovici

Archidiocèse catholique de St. Louis
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Coat of arms
CountryUnited 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%)
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJuly 18, 1826 (193 years ago)
CathedralCathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Co-cathedralBasilica of St. Louis, King
Patron saintSaint Louis IX
Saint Vincent DePaul
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne
Secular priests337
Current leadership
ArchbishopRobert James Carlson
Auxiliary BishopsMark Steven Rivituso
Bishops emeritusRaymond Leo Burke
Robert Joseph Hermann

It is currently led by Robert James Carlson, the former Bishop of Saginaw, who was named the Archbishop-elect on April 21, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI, and was installed on June 10, 2009.[1] Archbishop Carlson was assisted by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert Joseph Hermann who is now retired. His current auxiliary bishop is Mark Steven Rivituso who was appointed in 2017 and who replaced Auxiliary Bishop Edward Matthew Rice who served from 2010 to 2016 after replacing Hermann. His predecessor was Archbishop Raymond Burke until Burke's transfer to the position of Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura on June 27, 2008. The archdiocesan cathedral is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The original cathedral and mother church is the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France.


Early history

The first parish of Saint Louis was established in 1770 and it was 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. This parish is St. Genevieve parish in St. Genevieve Missouri[2]

The city of Saint Louis was sold to the United States in 1803. 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 1815-1826.[2] Unlike his predecessor, who set up his see in New Orleans, DuBourg chose to set up his episcopal see in St. Louis.


After his 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.

Its first bishop, Joseph Rosati, led the Roman 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 1826-1843.[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: Cathedral of St. Louis, St. Mary of Victories, St. Francis Xavier, St. Patrick, St. Joseph, St. Vincent de Paul, St. John the Apostle, Sts. Peter and Paul, Holy Trinity, and St. Michael.[2]


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

Because of its strong Catholic identity and having been the mother diocese of many dioceses in the midwest, the archdiocese was often referred to as "the Rome of the west". It is dedicated to Saint Louis IX and has as its copatrons Saints Vincent de Paul and Rose Philippine Duchesne. St. Louis IX, the patron of the archdiocese, represents the ideal Christian knight- a fervent layman, a man of honor and a leader unafraid of exhibiting his ardent spirituality. In 1833 a French laymen answered what the Second Vatican Council calls the universal call to holiness of all Christians. Blessed Frederic Ozanam founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society to serve the poor. The first chapter of the Society in the United States was started in St. Louis in 1845, led by Judge Bryan Mullanphy who later became mayor of the city of St. Louis. Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne and the Religious of the Sacred Heart opened the first school for girls west of the Mississippi, in St. Charles in 1818.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis contains the largest collection of mosaics in the world and is one of St. Louis' most impressive architectural treasures. The Cathedral of St. Louis was dedicated in 1926 on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of St. Louis as a diocese. An imposing structure – solid, permanent, huge – the building's richly colored interior mosaics are a visual prayer. 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, every impressive inch of the Cathedral is used to tell the story of salvation and the history of the Catholic faith lived in St. Louis. 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 and in 2015 it is home to 125+ from St. Louis and other dioceses all over the world. Today it is called Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

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.

Sex Abuse

In July 2019, the Archdiocese of St. Louis released the names of 64 clergy who were "credibly accused" of committing acts of sex abuse while at the Archdiocese.[3] On August 16, 2019, "sexually violent priest" Frederick Lenczycki, who had previously served prison time in Illinois between 2004 and 2009 for acts of sex abuse,[4] was sentenced to 10 years in prison two-and-a-half months after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a boy in St. Louis County.[5]


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.

Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas

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

Bishop of St. Louis

  1. Joseph Rosati, C.M. (1827-1843)
  2. Peter Richard Kenrick (1843-1847)

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 (elevated to Cardinal in 2003)
  8. Raymond Leo Burke (2004-2008), appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and later Patron of the Order of Malta (elevated to Cardinal in 2010)
  9. Robert J. Carlson (2009-present)

Coadjutor Bishops

Auxiliary Bishops

Other priests of this diocese who became bishops

Eastern Rites

There are two Eastern Rite churches and one Eastern Rite Cathedral within the archdiocese's boundaries:


There are 100 Archdiocesan/parochial and 9 private elementary schools.

There are 12 Archdiocesan and 15 private Catholic high schools:


†Archdiocesan high schools that are owned and operated by the Archdiocese.[7]


The Archdiocese Office of Catholic Cemeteries operates 17 cemeteries in the region, including:[8]

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

Suffragan sees

See also


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