St. Patrick Church was established in 1844. The first St. Patrick’s Church was a log structure which served the pioneers in the Meramec River area until a stone church was completed a few years after in 1864. (Building of the church was interrupted during the Civil War and was completed in 1868.) Completion of the church was due primarily through the efforts of Father Edward Berry who finished the project that Father Phillip Grace began in 1957.
The stone church suffered extensive damage from a fire in 1885 leaving only the stone walls. With the generosity and dedication of the parishioners, in less than a year both the church and rectory were completed. Father Berry continued to serve the parish until his death in 1901. Father E.T. Gallagher was assigned to St. Patrick’s in 1901 and worked in the area for five years. He passed away on March 16, 1906 and is buried at St. Patrick’s Church.
Father Arthur O’Reilly was assigned to Armagh in 1906 and it is with him that the official history of St. James Church begins. After St. James in Catawissa was built in 1924 St. Patrick’s closed its doors.
The church is now used for weddings and special occasions today. Each year the annual picnic is hosted on the 3rd Sunday in August as a fundraiser with mass taking place at 11:00 AM. The festivities begin directly after mass.
St. Patrick’s Preservation Society has cared for St. Patrick’s “Old Rock Church” since 1972. As members grow older we are always in need of new, young help. Please consider making St. Patrick’s a part of your family legacy and bring younger members of your family to participate in meetings, masses and picnic events.
For additional information regarding the history of St. Patrick’s of Armagh consider purchasing the following book “Saving the Old Rock Church” by Pauline Massom. This can be found by visiting www.heritagebookstall.com.