Saint Louis Catholic Church
Saint Louis Catholic Church
By Beau Fortier, Fall 2015
Catholicism is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was born of the Virgin Marry to save the world. As one of the largest religions in the world there are approximately 1.2 billion people who identify themselves as Catholics. The leaders of the church were established by Jesus; stating that the pope leads the bishops and the bishops lead Gods followers. The bible is used to teach from in the Catholic religion. The bible is made up of 73 books and is seen as the revealed word of God. Catholicism is growing by the day and will continue to increase its size and spread the word of God.
St Louis Catholic Church was established in October of 1979. The beginning was not always easy for this parish, as it never started off in an official building. The parish was established by Bishop Rene Gracida; who then named Father Dave McCreanor as the first ever pastor. In the beginning stages mass was celebrated at Talquin Electric for months until a new more permanent space was acquired. For the next six years until 1985 the parish worshipped and celebrated mass at Capital Cinemas, a local movie theater. In 1985 the present day Church was built as an all purpose building. For the first time the parish owned its own building and its members were able to have celebrate and worship in an actual Church. There has only been four pastors in the 36 year history of the church. After Fr. Dave McCreanor, Fr. Paul Stewart took over and led the Church as the second pastor. Continuing to grow and gain success the Church was doing well and in 2000 Fr. Kevin Johnson became the third pastor. The increasing support and membership in the Church became too much and more space was needed. To solve this problem in 2009 another building was built. The Deacon Mack Shook parish hall was built to give more meeting space and rooms to teach in and was named after the deceased Deacon Mack Shook. In 2012, after 12 years of hard faithful service Father Craig smith took over as pastor, becoming the fourth and current pastor to serve St Louis parish. Today the current Church is still located on 3640 Fred George Rd, and compared to the 1985 all-purpose building, it now has permanent pews and religious artifacts. The walls of the church are lined with the stations of the cross, flowers and candles lit and placed perfectly, and behind the alter a special beautiful portrait of Jesus on the Cross with a stained glass window above it. The church started from ground up and now is full of faith and beauty.
Saint Louis Catholic Church is full of tradition and history. It is by no means the oldest, biggest, or most appealing church in Tallahassee, but it is based on strong faith and community. Faith and community are two things that the members of this church truly cherish. After visiting this parish numerous times throughout this past semester I have come to realize what type of people regularly attend and have gotten a warming welcome from them. I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet a few of the actual members of the parish along with a few of those who run the parish. This Catholic Church keeps with tradition. They still give wine to drink as Jesus gave his disciples and they sing almost everything, which most Catholic Churches have given up these days.
The current staff members of the St Louis parish are three deacons, the pastor, and the office administrator. The deacons include Rev. Madera, Rev. Macko, and Rev. Jacobs, the pastor father Craig, and Neida Castillo the office Administrator. I had the privilege of talking to father Craig and Neida Castillo. Father Craig talked about how strong of a community the parish is. He could not be more positive about all the members of the parish. Not only does he teach the word of Jesus to everyone but he is a very personal and face to face kind of guy. It was nice to see how he knew so many people and actually cared. After leading mass he immediately held the door open for those leaving and stuck around to talk to all the people. It really was a community of people coming together to share and practice there faith, but it didn’t stop there everyone there was familiar to each other, they are a family who cares about its members. I have been attending masses in the Catholic Church all my life and haven’t seen such genuine care for others within a church ever until I went to St Louis.
Besides Father Craig I had the pleasure of meeting an elderly woman who had been attending St Louis Catholic Church for twenty-five years now. Her name is Gloria Pullen. Since Father Craig is rather new to the parish I decided that speaking to someone with more history at the church would be beneficial. Gloria also had nothing but positive remarks about the church. She said “I look forward to coming to mass everyday and having coffee and sweets after with Father Craig.” This reiterated the feeling I had about this parish. Father Craig and the members in the church all genuinely care about each other. She is also working with a group of mothers to come together once a week or so and fro them to all bring their kids and play outside with them and all bond together. Gloria is one of the great and many examples of the kind, faithful, loving people that makeup the members of this parish.
St. Louis Catholic Church has been growing here in Tallahassee for about 36 years now. It has established a great following and the local community cherishes it. Not only is there church there for the people, but it’s also there for the people. It raises money and supplies for those in need and puts on social events and clubs for the surrounding families. This church along with all its members really exemplify what it is to be a true practicing Catholic and the community is lucky to have this establishment.