Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis

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Archdiocese of Saint Louis
Archidioecesis Sancti Ludovici
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Louis.svg
Country United States
Territory Greater St. Louis and ten counties in eastern Missouri
Ecclesiastical province St. Louis
Area 5,968 sq mi (15,460 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2011)
582,000 (25.9%)
Parishes 185
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established July 18, 1826 (189 years ago)
Cathedral Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Patron saint Saint Louis IX
Saint Vincent DePaul
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Archbishop Robert James Carlson
Auxiliary Bishops Edward M. Rice
Emeritus Bishops Robert Joseph Hermann
Archdiocese of Saint Louis (Missouri).jpg
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, the Cathedral of the Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of St. Louis (Latin: Archidioecesis Sancti Ludovici) 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-St. Joseph.

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 is assisted by Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert Joseph 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. The Archdiocese is also one of two in the world that has both an Archbishop and a Cardinal, as Raymond Burke's See remains St. Louis, and represents the Archdiocese in the College of Cardinals.


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] Floridas by Pope Pius VII. He was the Bishop of the Louisiana Territory from 1815-1827.[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.


The following is a list of the bishops, archbishops and auxiliary bishops of St. Louis and their years of service.


  1. Joseph Rosati, C.M. (1827–1843)


  1. Peter Richard Kenrick (1843–1895); first archbishop of St. Louis
  2. John Joseph Kain (1895–1903)
  3. John J. Glennon (1903–1946)
  4. Joseph Ritter (1946–1967)
  5. John Joseph Carberry (1968–1979)
  6. John L. May (1980–1992)
  7. Justin Francis Rigali (1994–2003); later Cardinal, Archbishop of Philadelphia, 2002-2011
  8. Raymond Leo Burke (2004–2008); later Cardinal, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and, currently, Patron of the Knights of Malta
  9. Robert J. Carlson (2009–present)


Coadjutor Archbishop[edit]

Auxiliary bishops[edit]

Eastern Rites[edit]

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

High schools[edit]

†Archdiocesan high schools that are owned and operated by the Archdiocese.[3]


The archdiocese operates 17 cemeteries in the region, including:[4]

  • 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[edit]

Ecclesiastical Province of St. Louis

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tim Townsend, "Carlson installed as new leader of St. Louis Roman Catholics." St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jun. 11, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d [Dolan, Timothy Michael. Archdiocese of St. Louis: Three Centuries of Catholicism, 1700-2000. Strasbourg, France: Editions Du Signe, 2001. Print.]
  3. ^ Catholic Education
  4. ^ Archdiocese of St. Louis: Cemeteries

External links[edit]

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