Parish History

The Beginning| 1960 -1990's | The 2000's | Pastors, Associates, Deacons



April 12, 1954 – Archbishop Ritter establishes Our Lady of Providence Parish at its current site on Pardee Road near Grant's Farm. Father Vincent Duggan is appointed as Pastor.

May 9, 1954 – The first parish Mass is offered on Mother's Day in the four room farm house on the property. Eleven people are in attendance.

May 12, 1954 – The first organizational meeting of the parish is held; 82 parishioners out of the 139 families within the parish boundaries attend.

August 28, 1954 – Father Duggan and a delegation of 30 parishioners travel to St. Mary-of-the-Woods in Terre Haute, Indiana to request the Sisters of Providence to assume the responsibility of educating the OLP parish children. Five Sisters are assigned to teach at Our Lady of Providence school, one of whom teaches the kindergarten for the many children in the parish between the ages of four and five.

December 26, 1954 – Ground is broken for the combination church and school building.

April 23, 1955 – Archbishop Joseph Ritter blesses the cornerstone of the church building.

August 27, 1955 – The first Mass in the new church is celebrated.

September 6, 1955 – Our Lady of Providence School opens with 123 students and the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana as teachers.

October 30, 1955 – Archbishop Joseph Ritter returns to Our Lady of Providence to bless the new church.

April 1956 - The parish roster increases from the original 25 families to 338.

September 1956 - The first Parish School of Religion (PSR) program begins with classes held on Saturday mornings.

1958 - A pavilion is purchased for $200 from a watermelon stand on Chippewa and is added to the OLP parish grounds.

August 23, 1959 – An open house is held to welcome visitors to the new parish convent that includes eight bedrooms, a chapel, and a community room.

Winter 1959 – The parish increases to 543 families and school enrollment reaches 350 students.

THE 1960's

June 1960 -Through ad sales in the parish bulletin, OLP raises enough money to fund youth sports teams, beginning with baseball and softball.

Fall 1960 – Due to increasing enrollment, six new classrooms are added to the parish school.

February – July, 1962 - Plans are drawn and construction completed on an addition to the convent.

February – September 1963 – A new rectory is constructed on parish grounds. 

Fall 1965 - Associate pastor Father Charles Frankey works with the CYC to relocate playground equipment and provide a blacktop area for basketball and volleyball as well as additional parking spaces for Sunday Masses.

January 1967 – OLP numbers 786 families and school enrollment is 625 students.

Winter 1968 - Liturgical reforms of Vatican II prompt renovation of the sanctuary at OLP. The altar railing is removed to make room for the altar, which is placed in the center of the sanctuary. Concurrently, the church and convent are air-conditioned.

October 15, 1969 - The first open School Board meeting is held.

THE 1970's

April 1970 – The first OLP School Board members are elected.

1970 - The Offertory Procession is initiated and the Liturgy Committee is organized, further implementing liturgical reforms. OLP’s weekend Mass schedule is modified from six Masses on Sunday to one Mass on Saturday afternoon and five on Sunday.

February 1974 - A monthly collection of food, clothing and money begins for St. Rose of Lima Parish. This effort continues through the summer of 1977 when the St. Joseph Basket was placed in the front hall of the church.

Spring 1975 - Plans for the renovation of the church are approved.

November – May 18, 1979 - Church renovations are initiated and completed. Cardinal Carberry conducts the Sacrament of Confirmation minutes after completion. Projects include a forty-foot addition to serve as sanctuary and sacristy. The interior of the church is carpeted, a modern wood panel design is installed, confessionals are updated, and Stations of the Cross are put in place, as are refinished pews. A stained glass window depicting the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary is constructed in the top front wall of the church.

February 1977 - After 23 years as pastor, Father Duggan announces his resignation.

May 1977 - Monsignor Nicholas Schneider is appointed Pastor of OLP.

June 14, 1977 - Father Duggan is honored at a parish Thank You Reception and Monsignor Schneider is formally welcomed to OLP.

August 1977 - Father Duggan suffers a massive stroke.

June 1978 - Cardinal Carberry confers on Father Duggan the title Pastor Emeritus for his 38 years of service to the Archdiocese and twenty-three years as Pastor of OLP.

August 1978 - Plans are made for the parish’s 25th Anniversary Celebration and include a Parish Pictorial Directory, a Parish Mission, a Progressive Dinner, an outdoor procession and an Anniversary Mass.

May 9, 1979 - The parish celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a con-celebrated Mass of Thanksgiving for God’s providential care in each one’s life.

THE 1980's

May 1980 - The Sisters of Providence withdraw from teaching at OLP School after twenty-five years of service.

December 1984 – Monsignor Schneider announces his transfer to St. Monica Parish in Creve Coeur. His accomplishments as Pastor include focusing attention on adult education and prayer, ensuring that the OLP Parish Council takes a more active role in parish life, and encouraging liturgical ministries such as Readers and Communion Ministers. Transferring with Monsignor Schneider is Marie Kremer, OLP Music Director. Under Dr. Kremer's direction, the Music Ministry grows to include a Childrens Choir, an Adult Choir and an Instrumental Group, and the ministry of Cantor is also initiated.

January 1985 - Father Charles Forst arrives at OLP.

March 1986 – Fundraising begins for the new church and gymnasium promoted by Father Forst and approved by the Archdiocese at a cost of $3.2 million. With the support of about 450 parish families, $800,000 is pledged to the effort.

May 7, 1986 – Father Forst is officially designated Monsignor Forst.

October 11, 1986 – Ground is broken for the new church.

March 1987 – Construction begins on the new church and gymnasium project.

October 30, 1988 – The cornerstone of the new church is blessed by Bishop O'Donnell.

December 1988 – The pipe organ is dismantled and removed in preparation for the new pipe organ to be placed in the new church. Monsignor Forst makes a wooden cross for the life-size crucifix, as well as the sanctuary chairs, the ambo, and wall fixtures.

February 12, 1989 – Masses begin in the new church on the first Sunday of Lent. 

October 1989 – The differences in opinion regarding the need for a new church cause some division within the parish family. Seeking to heal those divisions, Father Forst requests that a few parishioners plan a celebration to bring people together. The celebration, the first of many to follow, is called “Parish Day.”

October 22, 1989 – The new pipe organ is dedicated “to the greater honor and glory of God.”

November 12, 1989 – Ownership of the new church is formally transferred to Archbishop John L. May, who presides over the Mass of Dedication. At the altar are Father John Gaydos, Deacon Jerry Prives, Monsignor Forst, and Associate Pastor Father Thomas Begley.

THE 1990's

1990 – Renovation on the old church begins. The church is converted to a multipurpose gymnasium by lowering the floor. The former sanctuary space is renovated into three meeting rooms and a small kitchen area. The stained glass in the front of the old church is preserved in the center meeting room. The Providence Room serves as the Chapel of Repose on Holy Thursday to unite the parish's past with its present.

August 11, 1990 - The close of construction is marked by a blessing of the new parish center, followed by a Thank You Dinner served in the Pardee Room (gym). While the new church and parish center enhance worship and the gym allows more sporting and recreational activities for parishioners of all ages, the parish begins to feel the weight of the debt incurred as a result of the new construction. 

1990 – The Home and School Association is initiated by OLP parishioners (later becoming Parents of Providence). The organization helps raise funds for the benefit of the school and parish.

May 1, 1994 – The OLP Fortieth Anniversary Celebration takes place, and includes a Mass with guest Archbishop Justin Rigali.  The dinner is held at The Cedars.

1995 – The parish celebrates Monsignor Forst's 50th ordination anniversary with a dinner dance at Royale Orleans.

June 1996 – After reaching retirement age, Monsignor Forst moves to Precious Blood Parish.

1996 – The OLP Men's club is formed by parishioners and also helps to raise funds for the school and parish.

June 1996 – Father Robert F. Johnston arrives as OLP's fourth pastor. Father Johnston develops a plan with the Finance Committee to reduce the considerable parish debt. Because the Archdiocese has a moratorium in place on parish fundraising, the OLP debt relief effort is combined with the Archdiocesan endowment fundraising program called Returning God's Gifts. The Spirit of Providence campaign is announced. The OLP campaign is successful, freeing the parish from debt and allowing for many improvements to the new church, including adding stained glass windows across the front of church, painting a faux marble design on the concrete pillars inside the church, and painting the interior metal ceiling beams white.  These improvements bring to completion the elements from the new church design which were scrapped at the time of construction due to lack of funds.

1996 - The annual Rachel Mueth Golf Tournament has its first tournament to raise funds to endow a scholarship for OLP students. The tournament is started in honor of parishioner Rachel Mueth, who attended OLP through third grade until her untimely death from cancer in 1995.

January 1999 - A delegation of OLP parishioners joins the larger St. Louis Archdiocesan family for Mass with Pope John Paul II at the Trans World Dome.

THE 2000's

January 2003 - Father David Rauch arrives as the fifth Pastor at OLP. Father Rauch comes to OLP amid uncertainties about OLP's future relative to the Archdiocesan consolidation of nearby parishes.  He undertakes an effort to get acquainted with the various parish ministries and organizations, and is mindful of the challenges facing him as our new spiritual leader, as well as the impact of the Archdiocesan consolidation plan on OLP's future. Father Rauch begins planning for OLP's 50th anniversary.

June 28, 2003 – Father Rauch, joined by a large group of parishioners, participates in a Summit Meeting/Retreat at the LaSallette Spiritual Center to shape a vision for OLP's future.

May 9, 2004 – The parish celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Mass at the parish. Festivities are the culmination of plans prepared by OLP's 50th Anniversary Jubilee Committee.

August 2005 – To close the parish jubilee year, a celebration is held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the parish school.

2005 – Father Rauch hires a parish nurse to work part time providing health services to parish school students as well as parishioners. He also undertakes a change in the Parish Council, adjusting its mission to serve as the Pastoral Council. Father Rauch's commitment to adult spiritual education leads to the incorporation of the ACTs retreats for men and women, along with the Little Rock Bible study program.

2005 - OLP opens up its pre-school in response to the growing number of families in the parish boundaries needing early childcare.

2009 – The “Providence Will Provide” fundraising campaign is initiated with a goal to raise $800,000 towards various capital improvements for the church and school, including a new church roof, parking lot upgrades, school cafeteria remodel, and sound system upgrades. The campaign raised a little over $1 million and was capped off by a “Celebration Sunday” in December.

2012 - In response to dwindling enrollment in parish schools in our area, consolidation of three parish schools forms Holy Cross Academy, which grows to encompass four campuses supporting various grade levels, including a pre-school campus. This school format is a leader in the archdiocese.

May 2016 – Father Richard J. Schilli arrives as the sixth Pastor of OLP.  During his tenure, many upgrades are made to the church and parish buildings, including a handicap ramp to the sanctuary, upgrades to the sound system, repair of the hearing aid loop system, maintenance and repair of both stained and clear glass windows, installation of livestream technology, upgrades to the courtyard behind school which include a new shrine, addition of a parish garden and orchard, new field maintenance and installation of an irrigation system and repair and maintenance of the Outdoor Experience.

2016 – Holy Cross Academy grows with the addition of St. Dominic Savio Parish as a partner parish in the school system.

January 2018 – Father Schilli re-establishes the Parish Council.

2018 – Parish school adds an upgraded classroom for two-year old children as part of an initiative to promote its early childhood education program.

2020 -The suppression of St. Dominic Savio Parish and St. George Parish results in the creation of St. John Paul II parish, which continues with the HCA partnership. The structure of HCA changes so that four campuses are redesigned as age/grade appropriate campuses.

2021 – A new boiler is installed in the parish school building to replace the original boiler.

October 9, 2021 – The OLP sports field is dedicated in the name of Rachel Mueth. The annual memorial Rachel Mueth Golf Tournament has generated over $475,000 in funds for scholarships and capital improvements. The dedication presentation is held the afternoon of the annual ProvidenceFest celebration.

October 2021 - Initial preparations begin for all parishes in the St. Louis Archdiocese for the All Things New Pastoral Plan initiative planned by Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski and scheduled to launch on January 25, 2022. This is a strategic plan to organize churches in the St. Louis Archdiocese within the framework of the realities of the 21st century. 


1954-1976 Rev. Vincent J. Duggan *

1977-1984 Rev. Monsignor Nicholas A. Schneider

1985-1996 Rev. Charles Forst

1996-2002 Rev. Robert F. Johnston*

2003-2016 Rev. David Rauch

2016-Present Rev. Richard J. Schilli


1959-1960 Rev. James C. McLain *

1961-1963 Rev. James Kern

1964-1965 Rev. Richard Money

1965-1968 Rev. Charles Frankey

1966-1974 Rev. Theodore Brug

1968-1969 Rev. Robert Faherty

1969-1971 Rev. Richard Neumann

1971-1975 Rev. Richard Heman

1975-1976 Rev. Donald G. Brinkman *

1976-1977 Rev. Robert C. Lane

1978-1981 Rev. Timothy M. Foley

1978-1980 Rev. A. John Schuler

1981-1986 Rev. Anthony J. Palazzolo

1982-1989 Rev. Dennis Doerhoff

1986-1987 Rev. Denny M. Schaab

1987-1988 Rev. Donald G. Brinkman

1989-1991 Rev. Thomas Begley

1991-1995 Rev. Stephen Puricelli (Trans. Deacon)

1991-1995 Rev. Donald Koch (In Residence)

1995-2004 Rev. Glennon E. Doherty

1995-2002 Rev. John P. Heil (In Res. & On Faculty Kenrick Glennon Seminary)

2005-2012 Rev. Msgr. Francis X. Blood (In Res.)


1995-1998    Rev. Mr. Christian H. Winkelmann (Assigned To Newman Center, St. Louis Comm. College Kirkwood & To Help Fr. Gary Braun At Wash. Univ.)

1982-1989 Lawrence McVey (appointed to St. James the Greater Parish)

1982-2004   Gerald Prives (To Retire)

1999-2021   David Amelotti (Deceased)

2018-Present Patrick M. Wheadon (additional assignment beginning 2021 assisting Diaconate Office Formation Programs)

*Our parish family recognizes the wounds caused by abuse, and we ask for Our Lady's providential care to help heal those wounds, alleviate suffering, and guide our efforts as we strive to protect the vulnerable among us.