Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

300 Years Cahokia Church Celebrates Its History

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

300 Years Cahokia Church Celebrates Its History

Article excerpt

The bells at the historic Holy Family Church in Cahokia rang out Sunday morning for the French missionary priests from Quebec who traveled down the Mississippi River and founded the church here in 1699.

The choir sang triumphant hymns Sunday in remembrance of the pioneers who rebuilt Holy Family's log church building after it burned in the late 1700s.

And parishioners rejoiced and prayed, all part of a Mass Sunday to mark the start of the parish's celebration of its 300 years of history. The celebration will continue for three years. "Before there was a St. Louis, before there was a Chicago or a New Orleans, there was Holy Family at Cahokia," said John Reed, a parishioner and organizer of the tricentennial observance. Reed believes that no other Catholic parish in the United States has celebrated its tricentennial and says that Holy Family is the country's oldest continuously operating parish. Holy Family began its life in 1699 as L'Eglise de la Ste. Famille. Since then, it has served Catholics of the area without interruption, church historians say. The Mass Sunday morning actually was a double celebration. It also inaugurated three years of preparations for the worldwide Holy Year 2000. At the Vatican Saturday night, Pope John Paul II asked Catholics around the world to begin preparations for 2000, which he has declared a "Holy Year of Jubilee. …

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