ST AGATHA CHURCH PASTORS
Fr. Hubert Zasada 2012- present
Fr. Hubert Zasada was born on October 28, 1974 in Skwierzynie, Poland. He graduated from high school in 1993 and entered the Christ Fathers novitiate in 1995. Ks. Zasada graduated college in Poznan and was ordained a priest in the Poznan Cathedral on 21 May 2002 by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki. He began his pastoral work in the parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Brojce, and then worked in Szczecin-Zdroje at the Holy Spirit parish. After working in Poland for 3 years, he went to work among Polish immigrants in Kazakhstan. After his return home, Fr. Zasada worked in the parish of Archangel Michael in Dobrzany. In August 2009, he arrived on the North American continent to serve Polish immigrants. He worked at Trójcowo in Chicago between 2009 and 2011, and later in Hamtramck, MI between 2011 and 2012. Since 2012 has been serving Poles in St. Louis.
Fr. Czeslaw Litak 2005-2012
Fr. Czesław Litak was born on October 20, 1950 in Dębica, Poland. He was a member of the Our Lady of the Angels parish in Dębica. He graduated high school in Dębica in 1969. He entered the Seminary in Tarnów, and after graduating with a philosophy - theology Master’s degree was ordained a priest on June 1, 1975 by Bishop of Tarnów, Bishop Jerzy Ablewicz. He worked as a vicar in the following parishes: Czermin, Tarnów - Klikowa and Zalasowa. Between the years of 1983 and 2005, he first held the office of a vicar exposed, then, after the establishment of the parish, became the Pastor of the Gaboń parish. In addition, he held responsibilities of a pastor for people with physical disabilities in the region of Starosąd. In late August 2005, Fr. Litak began his work as the Pastor of St. Agatha Polish Roman Catholic Parish in St. Louis, MO. On January 15, 2006 he was officially installed as the Pastor, a position he held until August 2012. In September 2012, he returned to Poland and was a resident in the Gołkowice parish. During his yearly visit to St. Louis in 2014, Fr. Litak passed away in St. Agatha Rectory on December 15, 2014. His pastoral life and work was celebrated during a special funeral Mass at St. Agatha Church on December 23, 2014; his body was shipped to his native Poland for burial.
Fr. Adam Hurbanczuk 2005-2005
Fr. Adam Hurbańczuk was born in Poland and was ordained to the priesthood in his diocese in southern Poland in 1991. For 11 years he taught religion in both elementary and high schools in Poland. But, always interested in "mission" work, Father Hurbańczuk had the opportunity to come to America to minister to the people who’d left Poland. Father Hurbańczuk spent a year at Orchard Lake Seminary in Michigan learning English. In 2003 he came to St. Stanislaus Kostka. Effective Jan. 25, 2005, with the permission of the Most Rev. Antoni Pacyfik Dydycz, OFM Cap., bishop of Drohiczyn, Poland, Fr. Adam Hurbańczuk, associate pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, St. Louis, was named parochial administrator of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, St. Louis, with residence at St. John Apostle and Evangelist Parish rectory. The archdiocesan-recognized Polish apostolate was moved to St. John Apostle and Evangelist Parish from St. Stanislaus Kostka. In July 2005, Fr. Adam Hurbańczuk moved with the Polish Apostolate from St. John Apostle and Evangelist to St. Agatha Church. Shortly after, he moved to serve at St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hartford, St. Hedwig in Naugatuck, and St. Stanislaus in Bristol. Since November 2011, he has work as the pastor at St. Cyril and Methodius Church in Hartford, CT.
Fr. Michael Schmitz 2005-2005
Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz, vicar general of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and provincial superior in the United States conducted the traditional Latin Mass at St. Agatha Church. When in mid 2005 Cardinal Burke, then the Archbishop of St. Louis ,designated St. Francis de Sales Oratory as the home of the Extraordinary Mass in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Msgr. Schmitz left St. Agatha to reside at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.
Fr. James Rodis 1990-2005
Fr. James Rodis was born in St. Louis on October 2, 1933. He attended St. Engelbert School and the diocesan seminaries in St. Louis. Fr. Rodis was ordained a priest by Joseph Cardinal Ritter in the St. Louis Cathedral on April 2, 1960, and was the pastor of St. Agatha Parish from 1990 to 2005. As pastor, he continued what Msgr. Granich started. Under his 15 years of leadership, St. Agatha flourished as the faithful had a choice to attend the English Mass or the Tridentine. Fr. Rodis is now retired and resides in St. Louis.
Fr. Bernard Granich 1983-1990
Baptized at St. Joseph Croatian Church in South St. Louis, Msgr. Granich studied at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and Kenrick Seminary in Shrewsbury. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Joseph E. Ritter on May 30, 1953. Later that year, Msgr. Granich began his first assignment as assistant pastor at Holy Angels Parish in Kinloch. In 1956 he took post-graduate studies at St. Louis University while serving as assistant pastor at Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights. In 1966, Msgr. Granich began serving as chaplain for the Academy of the Sacred Heart and as assistant chancellor of the archdiocese. He also served on the archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal, as archdiocesan archivist and as staff secretary to the archdiocesan Commission for Religious Education. Receiving the title of monsignor in 1971, he then was appointed as vice chancellor, as well as pastor of Annunciation Parish in Webster Groves the following year. Msgr. Granich was named pastor of St. Agatha Parish in 1983. There, he was granted special permission by Archbishop John May to conduct the Tridentine Mass. He was named pastor of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Parish in Downtown St. Louis in 1990. Before retiring to Regina Cleri Home in Shrewsbury in 2005, Msgr. Granich worked as a chaplain at St. Agnes Home in Kirkwood. Msgr. Granich passed away on January 19, 2010 and was buried at Resurrection Cemetary.
Fr. Edward J. Clohesy 1963-1983
Fr. Edward J. Clohesy succeeded Fr. Schuler as the ninth pastor of St. Agatha. Native of St. Louis, he was born on March 3, 1910 and was a member of St. Teresa of Avila Parish. He began his studies at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary in 1924, and after finishing Kenrick Seminary, was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1935 by Archbishop J. J. Glennon. He served as an associate pastor at the following parishes in St. Louis: Blessed Sacrament, St. Phillip Neri, St. Mary Magdalen, and the Most Holy Rosary. In 1951, he served as Pastor in Bonnot Mill, MO. Three appointments as associate pastor at St. Henry’s, Epiphany, and St. John the Apostle church preceded his appointment as Pastor of St. Agatha. Fr. Clohesy served as Pastor of St. Agatha from May 14, 1963 until his retirement on June 8, 1983. He remained at St. Agatha for a year as a Senior Priest in Residence, and then moved to Regina Cleri. Fr. Clohesy passed away on July 24, 1989 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery.
Fr. Vincent Schuler 1951-1963
A native St. Louisan, born on November 7, 1907, Fr. Schuler attended St. Louis Prep and Kenrick Seminaries, and was ordained by Archbishop John J. Glennon on June 5, 1932. He served as associate pastor at St. John the Baptist and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parishes, and became pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, West Alton, in 1944. In 1951, he was named pastor of St. Agatha Parish. He remained at the parish for twelve years. In 1963, he was named pastor of St. Adalbert and there he remained until his retirement in June of 1975. Fr. Schuler passed away November 30, 1975 and was buried in Resurrection Cemetery.
Fr. James Ehlenz 1941-1951
Father James Ehlenz was appointed the seventh pastor of St. Agatha on June 10th, 1941. He was born in Trier, Germany, on December 12th, 1891. After preparatory studies for the priesthood in Europe, he came to the United States in 1912. He studied Philosophy and Theology at Kenrick Seminary, and was ordained by Archbishop Glennon on June 13th, 1918. He celebrated his first Mass at St. Francis de Sales Church on June 16th, 1918. His first assignment was as assistant priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in St. Louis. Here he served for nearly seventeen years under Monsignor Wentker. In January, 1935, Father Ehlenz was promoted to the pastorate of Holy Family Parish in Freeburg, Missouri, where he remained for six years. In June, 1941, Archbishop Glennon appointed him pastor of St. Agatha Parish. As has been stated in the history of the parish, Father Ehlenz has found that much improvement was needed on the various buildings. An improvement program has just recently been completed covering all the buildings on the premises and putting them all into first-class condition. And now, through the combined efforts of clergy and parishioners, St. Agatha Parish is ready and prepared to carry on to the century mark.
Fr. Otto T. Siesener 1918-1941
After a short interval, during which Father William Fischer was administrator, Father Otto T. Siesener was appointed pastor of St. Agatha. He was born in St. Louis and attended St. Joseph's Parochial School. From 1890 to 1894, he studied at St. Francis College, Quincy, Illinois. He received his theological training at Kenrick Seminary. Here he was ordained to the priesthood on June 9th, 1899, and two days later celebrated his first solemn Mass at St. Liborius Church. The same day he was appointed assistant of St. Liborius Parish, where he remained for twelve years. Upon the demise of Father G. Reiss, he was appointed administrator of St. Liborius. Seven months later, Father Siesener was transferred to Maria in Ripa as spiritual director of the Notre Dame Sisters. His work there in the teaching of languages and the promotion of music will long be rememebered by the good sisters. In the beginning of July, 1918, His Excellency Archbishop John J. Glennon appointed him rector of St. Agatha Parish. On Sunday, August 4th, Father Siesener was solemnly inducted as rector during a High Mass celebrated by himself. In the evening a reception was given the new pastor in the parish hall. It would be impossible to estimate adequately the influence this good man exerted upon the people of this parish in the twenty-two years he served as pastor. His zeal for the House of God and the things of God, his love for the children in school, his concern for their higher education, and his desire for the cultural improvement of his parishioners will never be forgotten. His death, on February 25th, 1941, was a severe blow to the parish and the archdiocese, both of which he had served so well.
Fr. George Geers 1911-1918
Father Henry B. Geers, as successor of Father Schrage, was the fifth pastor of St. Agatha. He was born in St. Louis on October 19th, 1861, and attended Ss. Peter and Paul School. His studies were continued at Teutopolis, Illinois; St. Francis, Wisconsin, and later at Louvain, Belgium, where he was ordained June 28th, 1885. After short periods as assistant at St. Mary's Parish and as pastor at Glasgow, Missouri, he was appointed assistant at Ss. Peter and Paul and he remained there for twenty years. His work among the boys and young men of that parish was remarkable. In 1911, he became pastor of St. Agatha, which position he held until his death in 1918. He will always be remembered for his kindly disposition, his solicitude for the children, his work for the young men of the parish, his organization of the Boys' and Men's Choir, his charity and his pulpit eloquence. He was stricken with sudden illness in April, 1918, and died on April 26th. His funeral took place on April 30th, Father Henry Groll celebrating the Mass, and Father Charles Van Tourenhout, his boyhood friend, delivering the sermon in the presence of Archbishop Glennon. Interment took place in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery.
Fr. Henry Schrage 1883-1911
Father Henry Schrage now assumed the pastorate of St. Agatha. Born in St. Louis on November 27th, 1851, he attended St. Joseph's Parochial School. He received his classical education at St. Louis University and his theological course at St. Francis, Wisconsin, and Muenster, Westphalia. He was ordained in 1874 by Bishop P. J. Ryan. His first appointment was in Jefferson City, from where he also served the parishes at Stringtown and Taos. From 1875 to 1879 and from 1880 to 1883, he was assistant at St. Liborius Parish, the intervening year being spent as pastor at Jackson, Missouri. In 1883, he was appointed pastor of St. Agatha and he occupied this position until his death in 1911. Much has been said about Father Schrage and his work in the historical section of this book. Suffice it to say here that his energetic zeal was in large measure responsible for the rapid growth and development of St. Agatha Parish.
Fr. William Hinssen 1874-1883
The next rector of St. Agatha was Father William Hinssen. Born in Wesphalia, Germany, he emigrated to this country and studied for the priesthood at the Salesianum. He was ordained on January 29th, 1868, by Archbishop Henni of Milwaukee. After some years spent at St. Mary's Church, Cape Girardeau, he was appointed to St. Agatha in 1874. After an administration of nine years, Father Hinssen left St. Agatha and joined the Covington, Kentucky, diocese, where he labored successfully until his death.
Fr. Herman Leygraeff 1871-1874
Father H. Leygraaff, the second rector of St. Agatha, was born on February 3rd, 1845, at Emmerich, Germany. After preparatory studies at Goesdonk and Muenster, he emigrated to America, where he was soon elevated to the holy priesthood. His tenure at St. Agatha lasted only three years, when he was called to fill a teaching post on the staff of the Salesianum Seminary at Milwaukee. His last years were spent as chaplain of the Precious Blood Convent at O'Fallon.
Fr. J. A. Strombergen 1871
The first rector of St. Agatha Parish was Father J. A. Stroombergen. He was born in Amsterdam, Holland, where he received his early education. Immigrating to America, he studied for the priesthood at the Carondelet Seminary. On February 16th, 1861, he was elevated to the priesthood by Archbishop Kenrick. After serving at the parishes of St. John, Franklin County, Missouri, and next at New Hamburg, Missouri, he was entrusted with the task of organizing St. Agatha Parish. Failing health forced him to give up this task after a short time. After his recovery, he was active in Perpetual Help Parish and for many years at St. Michael's, Shrewsbury.
St. Agatha Church - Polish Roman Catholic Parish
Archdiocese of St. Louis