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By Rhonda Boyer
On Sunday, April 30, 2023, St. Catherine’s of Sienna Catholic Church celebrated its 150 Anniversary along with confirmation of four youngsters. We were blessed to have Bishop Edward Rice, Fr. J Friedel, Fr. Mark Binder and Fr. Shoby Mathew join us in our celebration followed by a delicious potluck.
Piedmont Mass was first celebrated in 1873 in a private home by Fr. John Hennesey who traveled south on horseback from Iron Mountain, a distance of about 50 miles. The Catholic Community consisted mostly of Irish and Welsh immigrants who worked in the granite quarries.
In 1900, the pastor from Poplar Bluff celebrated mass in private homes until 1911. By 1938, Vincentian Priests traveled by horseback from Perryville, MO to hold services in a private home. Vincentian priests with the Motor Missions arrived in Piedmont in June 1940 and provided regular mass.
The first church, which was named St. Catherine’s was built by the railroad tracks near the Ruegg funeral home. In 1953, a lot on Hwy 34 was acquired and after being denied a moving permit by the city of Piedmont,
Msgr. Joe Huels rounded up a number of men to move it to the new location in the middle of the night with one of the men riding on the peak of the roof to lift up wires. That particular structure now serves as the rectory.
Fr. Daniel Hirtz served as our pastor from 1977 until 1990 and was assigned to serve our area again in 2016 till the present.