History of Jefferson City Diocese

History of Jefferson City Diocese

Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City, Missouri, was established in 1959.

 

The Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Jefferson City, Missouri is the "Mother Church" for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City. Our Cathedral serves as the parish church for Most Reverend W. Shawn McKnight, the fourth Bishop of Jefferson City.

The Cathedral resides on a 25-acre site, which also includes a Carmelite monastery and the Alphonse J. Schwartze Memorial Catholic Center (Chancery Offices), as well as St. Joseph Cathedral School. Our Parish offices, located to the right of the school building formerly served as a convent that housed the Sisters of Mercy.

Our pastor and rector is Reverend Louis M. Nelen, who was ordained in 2012 and also serves our diocese as the Diocesan Director of Seminarians.

Diocesan Shepherds

Pastoral Care

  • 1959: Fr. Kenneth J, McDonnel, First Pastor
  • 1960: Monsignor Francis O'Duignan, Second Pastor
  • 1964: Monsignor Gerard L. Poelker, Third Pastor and First Rector
  • 1970: Reverend Richard Cronin, Administrator
  • 1973: Fr. Francis G. Gillgannon, Administrator
  • 1980: Reverend Patrick J. Shortt, Rector
  • 1989: Fr. Michael J. Wilbers, Rector
  • 1999: Fr. Fred Elskamp, Rector
  • 2004: Monsignor Robert Kurwicki, Pastor
  • 2018: Reverend Fr. Louis M. Nelen, Pastor and Rector

St. Joseph Cathedral School

  • 1959: Convent was established to house the Sisters of Mercy, recruited from Ireland by Monsignor Francis O'Duigan
  • 1977: Activities building constructed, housing a gym and stage as the school grew
  • 1984: Addition completed connecting the activities building to the school, classrooms added to the basement level of the convent to accomodate growing numbers
  • 1987: School administration changes from Sisters of Mercy to secular principal
  • 1989: School is staffed entirely by laity
  • 2019: A new gym is constructed and opens to students and parishioners