St. Mary Parish, Seneca, MO, Founded 1884
General parish info
Pastor: Fr. Patrick A. Teter
Administrative Assistant/RCIA Director: Priscilla Poor
Phone: (417) 776-3786
Mailing address: PO Box 1169 Seneca, MO 64865-1169
Weekend Mass times
St. Mary Catholic Community began in 1875, when the first Catholic, James Francis McGannon, came to Seneca from Canada to open a hardware business. Not long afterward, the Brady, Powers, and Yust families settled in the area. All had to travel to Pierce City or Springfield to attend Mass. In 1881, after the arrival of more families, Mr. McGannon was successful in getting priests from Pierce City and Sarcoxie to hold Mass in McGannon Hall above his business.
In 1884, Bishop John Hogan of Kansas City established St. Mary as a mission to St. Canera Parish, in Neosho. Fr. James Wood celebrated Mass in McGannon Hall and the Henry Yust home for five years.
Beginning in 1893, Fr. Kault was appointed pastor, traveling from Subiaco, AR, to minister to St. Mary. The brick church used by the parish today was built during his pastorate and dedicated in 1894. The property for the church was donated by James McGannon and was built and furnished without debt. Since then, the church has grown to 75 families.
St. Mary Mission became a parish in 1957, when Fr. Clem Ilmberger came to Seneca as the first resident pastor. Construction of the rectory was completed by the men of the parish who donated their time and labor.
In 1988, the new St. Mary community hall was built, replacing the old hall, which had been a barracks building from Fort Crowder. The church began renovations in 1994 and was rededicated March 1, 1996, by Bishop John Leibrecht.
Ilmberger, Fr. Clement F., Jan 18, 1958 – Apr 19, 1959
Ellinger, Fr. Wallace G., Apr 20, 1959 – Apr 22, 1960
Palermo, Fr. Frank C., Apr 23, 1960 – Aug 16, 1966
Eschbacher, Fr. Jerome J., Aug 17, 1966 – Aug 13, 1970
Reker, Fr. Val H., Aug 14, 1970 – Aug 15, 1972
Landewe, Fr. Robert A. (Administrator), Jul 15, 1971 – Jan 19, 1973
Parrott, Fr. Thomas W. (Administrator then pastor), Jan 20, 1973 – Feb 9, 1976; *Pastor, Feb 10, 1976 – Jan 30, 1987
Unterreiner, Fr. James J., Jan 31, 1987 – Aug 18, 1991
Harth, Fr. John M., Aug 19, 1991 – Aug 16, 2001
Than Van Liem, Fr. Joseph, CMC (Administrator), 2002 – Aug 12, 2003
Leveillee, Fr. Roger L., Aug 17, 2001 – May 6, 2003
Braun, Fr. John S., Aug 13, 2003 – Jul 5, 2006
Hulshof, Fr. David F. (temp. Administrator), Jan 2006 – Aug 9, 2006
Bertrand, Fr. Vincent E., JCL, Aug 10, 2006 – Jun 30, 2011
Quang Van Do, Fr. Michael M., CMC,
Teter, Fr. Patrick A., Jul 1, 2013 –
Above is compiled from diocesan archives.
“D” designates information compiled from The Catholic Directory or Year Book.