Our Historic Church


​In 1888, the local Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society established a small mission chapel near the intersection of Blair and Virginia in St. Paul, Minnesota. This marked the inception of St. Vincent's Parish in the history of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The 125 predominantly Irish families who attended St. Vincent's Chapel formed the core of what would later become a vibrant hub in St. Paul's "Frogtown" area. Initially served by priests from St. Luke's Parish, St. Vincent's Parish began in the same year that Pope Leo XIII elevated the diocese to metropolitan status, appointing John Ireland as its first archbishop.

St. Vincent's Parish story is one of growth through dedication and sacrifice. Father Raleigh from nearby St. Joseph's Parish celebrated the first Mass in the newly built chapel.

Every Sunday, Reverend (later Bishop) John J. Lawler officiated Mass at St. Vincent's Chapel, establishing himself as its first pastor, despite his tenure lasting only a year.

By October 1889, the first St. Vincent's Rectory was completed and ready for habitation. Archbishop Ireland appointed Reverend Laurence Cosgrove, a young Irish priest, as St. Vincent's inaugural resident pastor. Over his twenty-year tenure, Father Cosgrove oversaw significant material and spiritual expansion within the parish.

Father Cosgrove gained renown for his zeal, energy, and vision. Alongside his duties at St. Vincent's, he served as chaplain at Calvary Cemetery, for the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the State Order of Foresters. Additionally, he was the founding pastor of St. Andrew's Parish, a mission of St. Vincent's, in 1889. Father Cosgrove, known for his literary talents, authored "A Popular History of St. Vincent's Church," capturing its development in eloquent prose during his rare moments of repose.

In May 1898, Archbishop Ireland formally dedicated the newly constructed St. Vincent de Paul Church, noting the parish's rapid growth from its modest beginnings.

Ground was broken for St. Vincent's School on November 1, 1900, with the school opening its doors in July 1901, staffed initially by four Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

The dedication of St. Vincent's School on September 8, 1902, marked the completion of an imposing structure with eight classrooms capable of seating 500 students, set amidst spacious grounds that included playgrounds and ornamental features.

Father Cosgrove's legacy laid the foundation upon which St. Vincent's Parish flourished. He was succeeded by Reverend William Walsh, followed in 1912 by Reverend Timothy E. Crowley, who oversaw renovations to the rectory and school after a destructive fire.

In 1922, Reverend Martin I. J. Griffin assumed leadership at St. Vincent's Parish, bringing extensive experience and personal qualities to his role. Under his guidance, the parish expanded, boasting 815 families and significant improvements to its facilities.

Father Griffin's tenure included notable renovations to the church and school, enhancing both the physical and spiritual infrastructure of St. Vincent's.

Following Father Griffin's departure in 1940, Reverend Peter F. Meade and later Reverend Thomas G. Exley and Reverend Charles H. Morgan each contributed to the parish's growth through various improvements and community initiatives.

Father Morgan's compassionate leadership and attention to detail left a lasting impact, particularly with the installation of new church furnishings and renovations to the school.

Upon Father Morgan's passing in 1963, Reverend Michael P. Fay assumed pastoral duties, ushering in a new era amidst the societal changes of the 1960s.

During Father Fay's tenure, the parish continued its tradition of community involvement and improvement projects, exemplified by the refurbishment of the church's exterior.

Father William Gamber succeeded Father Fay in 1975, overseeing additional renovations and repairs within the parish.

In June 1979, the appointment of Reverend Bernard C. Klein marked a departure from the parish's longstanding tradition of Irish pastors, as St. Vincent's continued to evolve under new leadership.


[Historical information from 1979 to 2024 is currently being compiled.] 


Our Humble Origin

 

[We are currently compiling the details]

 

St. alphonsa syro-malabar catholic church
ST. PAUL, Minnesota