St. Francis de Sales Parish, Lebanon, MO
St. Francis de Sales Church, Lebanon, MO. (Photos by G. Eckl)
Phone: (417) 532-4811 — Fax: (417) 532-8847
Mailing address: 345 Grand Ave., Lebanon, MO 65536-2315
For current parish Mass times and other activities and events click HERE. Or, call the phone number above.
St. Francis de Sales Church is both the oldest and largest church in Laclede County. Founded a few years after the Civil War, much of the early history of this Catholic community was lost in the turmoil of the war years and because the entire state of Missouri was “mission territory.” Although the first Catholics settled in the county around 1864, it took almost two more years for a priest to visit and minister to them on a somewhat regular basis.
Fr. P. F. Gallagher is the first name on the long list of priests who served the parish. Although he was pastor of the parish in Rolla at the time, he made a survey of the few scattered Catholic families. In 1866, this survey led to more consistent ministry to the area families in the person of Fr. F.W. Graham.
Fr. Graham succeeded in gathering the support needed to build a church. It was a small frame building constructed on land donated by a local family. The parish used the church for 80 years until it was replaced by the present brick structure in 1949. The parish’s two original buildings have been part of three different dioceses in the parish’s 135-year history: St. Louis; Kansas City and, presently, Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
Lay leadership has been a contributing factor in what parishioners call “open and outreaching” parish life. They are proud of the comments in their parish guest book that praise this “very friendly” parish community.
Although the elementary school is no longer in operation, PSR classes realize an almost 95 per cent attendance and the RCIA and adult education groups are led by volunteers who are more than willing to spread their Catholic faith. The parishioners are characterized by a willingness to share their gifts and develop new ones.