St. Mary Parish, West Plains, MO
St. Mary Church, West Plains, MO. (Photos by G Eckl)
Phone: (417) 256-2556
1551 Bill Virdon Blvd., West Plains, MO
Mailing address: St. Mary Church, PO Box 67 West Plains, MO 65775-0067
St. Mary Parish celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding in September 2002. The current church building was dedicated on June 6, 1983, its 81st anniversary.
For the first Catholics in the Ozarks, priests came on horseback from the remote areas of Poplar Bluff, Salem, or Rolla to celebrate Mass in private homes. The probable site of the first Mass was at the home of Mike and Annie Fitzgerald. Church services were soon held regularly in the room above Fitzgerald’s Tin and Plumbing Shop on Washington Avenue until the church was built on South Hill Street and dedicated to the Mother of God, St. Mary.
A financial report of 1910 shows a congregation of 52 families. One third of the income for that year came from businesses and citizens of West Plains who were not Catholic, which reflected the public interest in building a Catholic church in the community. In 1948, St. Mary’s was given parish status with Fr. Francis Donovan as the first resident pastor. Soon, St. Mary’s began branching out to its own mission work.
During the 1950’s, St. Mary’s was a Mission Center for young priests working in the vast area of the Central Deanery of the Archdiocese of St. Louis under the Missionary Apostolate Plan. The area included five counties: Howell; Oregon; Ozark; Shannon; and Texas.
In 1957, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Butler donated the seven-acre tract of land on which the current church complex was eventually built. It was not until 1982 that the actual church building project took place on south Thayer Avenue. In February 2003, a gathering area joining the church with the parish center was completed.
Weekend Mass times
Daily Mass Times
Monday – Friday
4 p.m., or by appointment
First Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
First Saturday devotion, 8 a.m.
Monday – Thursday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
GPS coordinates: N36° 43.128’, W091° 50.030’ (click here for map)
Physical address: St. Mary Church, 965 S Thayer Ave, West Plains, MO