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Our Sister Parish &
Home of the St. Peter Claver Shrine

2715 North Sarah Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63113


Sunday:              9:30 am
Monday-Friday:  8:00 am
Saturday:            5:00 pm
Holy Days:          7:00 pm

St. Gabriel the Archangel and St. Matthew the Apostle have been "Sister Parishes" since the tenures of Fr. Charles Burgoon and Fr. Ruhl.  Founded in 1893, St. Matthew the Apostle is a vibrant parish community in the Historic "Ville" neighborhood in north St. Louis City. The St. Matthew community works tirelessly with those who are in need in our city. They are led by their pastor, Fr. Pat Quinn, S.J. into many works of service.  We are proud to support their efforts through prayer, fellowship, and financial assistance. 

St. Matthew Mission Statement:

"The very heart of St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church is Jesus Christ present on the altar.  Our mission, born at that altar, is to be sent forth into our neighborhood in order to build up the Kingdom of God.  The labor of this effort must address in deed more than in word the needs of our people."

What we share in common with the parishioners of St. Matthew is being part of vibrant, growing communities, filled with faith and love of the Lord. Members of St. Gabriel who have celebrated Mass at St. Matthew Parish can attest to the very rich faith experience at St. Matthew. These liturgies are celebrated in joyful song and rich tradition.  We believe both parishes have been blessed by opportunities to share our faith journey together.

Examples of our participation with St. Matthew parish include:

  •     participating in joint Parish Council meetings
  •     attending events, such as auctions, Lenten fish fry dinners, Mass in the Grass, picnics
  •     working together on repair and service projects
  •     sharing of resources through the St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving and Christmas basket program.

As we continue and expand our relationship, we welcome and encourage more involvement with St. Matthew parishioners.  Our brothers and sisters at St. Matthew have told us we are always welcome to join them in the celebration of Mass at 9:30 am on Sunday.

DIRECTIONS:  To reach St. Matthew from St. Gabriel, take Hampton south to I-44, east to the Vandeventer exit. Go left on Vandeventer to Martin Luther King Drive.  Left on MLK Drive; right on North Sarah.  Go about 8 blocks and St. Matthew will be on the left.  (Less than 8 miles.)

Our brothers and sisters say "We look forward to welcoming you!"

Dedication of Shrine of St. Peter Claver

June 23, 2013
--St. Louis Review

Catholics from across the region, and as far away as Denver, gathered in St. Louis at St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church Sunday, June 23, 2013 for a Mass dedicating the new Shrine of St. Peter Claver. The Most Rev. Edward M. Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, was celebrant, and members of the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver led the celebration.

The saint hailed as the apostle to the blacks has a new place of honor here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Parishioners have said they believe it is the only shrine of its kind in North America.

St. Peter Claver, a 16th- and 17th-century Jesuit missionary from Spain, was known for his years of ministry to black slaves from Africa. He was known for catechizing and baptizing approximately 300,000 slaves over a period of 40 years. He spent time ministering to slaves being transported by ship, which often included conditions that were overcrowded, dirty and filled with disease.

The Knights of Peter Claver, the largest African-American Catholic fraternal organization in the United States, takes its name from the saint. Nearly 100 members of the Knights, ladies' auxiliary and junior membership attended the Mass. St. Matthew established its Father Zimmerman Council #150 in 1965.

The shrine at St. Matthew is housed in a former built-in confessional and was the work of several parishioners and volunteers over a period of several months, according to Vincent Wallace, who spearheaded the project and grew up in the parish. He was largely assisted by St. Matthew parishioner Bernard Anthony.

Wallace originally talked to St. Matthew pastor, Jesuit Father Mark McKenzie, about replacing the drapes in one of the confessionals, and eventually it was decided that an old statue of St. Peter Claver, which sat in a back corner of the church, would be refurbished and used as the centerpiece for a shrine. The 5 1/2-foot statue was repaired and repainted by Karla Anderson, a member of Visitation/St. Ann Shrine in north St. Louis. The work also included tearing out the old fixtures, replastering and painting the interior walls and ceiling and putting in new lighting.

Wallace called the saint's dedication to ministering to slaves as "an act of love and sacrifice. He met the slave ships and ministered to them both physically and spiritually. This man did not worry about his own individual health but worried about others, who were being subjected to the most inhumane treatment."

In his homily, Bishop Rice spoke about the importance of Catholics embracing Jesus as their savior -- not just knowing about Jesus, but truly knowing Him. That's part of the mission of St. Matthew Parish, and "I would like to think that's what Peter Claver cherished the most. He shared Jesus with those who loved Him the most."

Among those at the Mass and dedication were three Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver. The community came to St. Louis in 1928 and moved its convent from the city to Chesterfield in 1963. The sisters' charism is to build the Kingdom of God in the world, especially among the poor and marginalized, through prayer, gift of self and mission activity.

Sister Leonora Najjemba, who is marking the 25th anniversary of her religious vows this year, said that just like St. Peter Claver, "through my vows I can serve God like he did."

St. Matthew Parish also had a first-class relic of St. Peter Claver on display. The relic, a bone fragment, is believed to have been validated in 1934. Father McKenzie said that the relic was likely brought with the Jesuits when they moved from the former St. Malachy Parish to St. Matthew.

For photos, visit the St. Louis Review coverage.