A Return to Reverence in Missouri

A Return to Reverence in Missouri

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One Priest's Story

Q. Father Jeffery Jambon, tell us a bit about your background.

A. I was born in 1971 in New Orleans, and graduated from Archbishop Shaw High School, an all-boys high school run by the Salesians of St Don Bosco.

Two weeks after graduation in 1989, I joined the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, Connecticut. After many years of study, I was ordained a priest on December 22, 2001 in St Mary Major, Rome by Cardinal Severino Polletto, the Archbishop of Turin, Italy. Up until 2010, I studied and had assignments around the world — in Dublin, Ireland; Salamanca, Spain; Gdansk, Poland; Germany; Santiago, Chile; Sacramento, California; Edgerton, Wisconsin and Quitana Roo, Mexico. When Pope Benedict XVI asked that the Order be refounded, I decided to discern an exclaustration period and served for a time in my home diocese of New Orleans.

In 2012, I became the full time chaplain of the Benedictines of Mary in Gower, Missouri, in the diocese of Kansas City / St Joseph run by Bishop Finn. The Benedictines of Mary are a Latin Mass community of nuns faithful to the spirit of St Benedict. In late June 2013 — while remaining full time chaplain—I became pastor of St Patrick's Catholic Church in St Joseph, Mo. St Patrick’s is a trilingual parish, with Mass in Latin, English and Spanish. 

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The Benedictines of Mary are a Latin Mass community of nuns faithful to the spirit of St Benedict. In late June 2013 — while remaining full time chaplain—I became pastor of St Patrick's Catholic Church in St Joseph, Mo.

Q. Tell us about the history of  St Patrick’s Parish in St Joseph, Mo.

A. St Patrick’s parish was founded by Irish settlers in 1869. It was the 3rd Parish built in St Joseph, Mo at the time. The growth of St Patrick’s is the story of the prosperity of the Golden age of the Catholic Church. Nuns were present (from St Mary’s of Lockport, New York). They staffed a school and a vibrant parish. This was the reality of St Patrick’s back in the 1950s.

The fifth pastor of St Patrick’s was an Irishman, Msgr. John O’Neil, who served from 1935 until 1956. He installed the present high altar and the side altars of the sanctuary, made of three different marbles from Italy: Carrera marble, Trani marble and Algerian onyx. These altars were ordered before World War II but the war interrupted service. However, immediately following the war they were finally shipped to St Patrick’s.

The Faith was strong, and many children attended the parochial school. Education was free in those days, thanks to Msgr O’Neil and the strong local Catholic Culture.

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The Faith was strong, and many children attended the parochial school. Education was free in those days, thanks to Monsignor O’Neil and the strong local Catholic Culture.

Q. Sounds great! What about the recent history of the parish?

After the Second Vatican Council many changes occurred in St Patrick’s. The communion rail was ripped out, the nuns disappeared and many other disturbing things of this nature. I cannot here indicate which changes were for the worse or the best; I will just use the phrase from our Lord, “Judge a tree by its fruits.”

After much struggle, the school has been closed down for eight years now and Catholic marriages in the church are at an all-time low in St Patrick’s. We only have about six or seven kids in CCD class for First Communion. That is it — no other grades and no children for Confirmation.

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The school has been closed down for eight years now and Catholic marriages in the church are at an all-time low in St Patrick’s. We only have about six or seven kids in CCD class for First Communion.

Q. This is very sad, Father. What are you doing there today?

A. We have about 320 families registered, though not all attend Mass every week. We have three communities: Latin Mass Community, American Novus Ordo and the Hispanic Novus Ordo and we serve them in multiple ways:

  • Confessions 30 minutes before each Mass and 3pm-3:50pm on Saturdays
  • 7am Monday English Mass on the High Altar
  • 7am Tuesday Latin Mass on the High Altar
  • 8am Wednesday English Mass on the Novus Ordo Table facing the people
  • 8am Thursday Mass on the Novus Ordo Table facing the people
  • 8am Friday Mass on the Novus Ordo Table facing the people followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the high altar and Benediction after 20 minutes of silence.
  • 4pm Saturday Vigil English Mass facing the people on Altar Table
  • 8am Sunday Latin Sung High Mass on high altar
  • 10:30am Sunday English Mass facing the people on altar table
  • 12:30pm Sunday Spanish Mass facing the people on altar table
  • 8pm Sunday English Deanery Mass facing the people on altar table

On First Saturdays, we offer 9:30 am Confessions followed by 10am English Mass on the high altar. Then, 10:40 Exposition of the blessed sacrament on the high altar after which the priest directs 15 minute meditation on a mystery or mysteries of the Rosary. At 10:55, there is a Recitation of the Rosary while priest confesses more and at 11:15 Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Q. Do you have any young people or young families?

A. These are very few. Most are very small families. I am surprised that since I am the only parish in St Joseph, MO with the Latin Mass offered twice a week, I get very few people attending. I can see if I had competition for the Latin Mass, I would get less but even as I have a total monopoly over it in St Joseph I only get about 10 to 15 people at best.

Q. Do you have active participation of parishioners?

A. Annual events like the parish fair are very well attended; it’s called the Mexican Fiesta. It is classified as the 5th biggest event in St Joseph, Mo. It consists in folklore dances, food and family atmosphere whose income for the parish is enhanced largely due to the yearly success.

Q. What are your goals for the parish?

A. My goal is to lead the flock to Christ through reverence for the Sacred Liturgy. I am working to convince everyone of the need to go to Confession once a month or more, to protect Catholic identity, to protect Catholic education and to rediscover the beauty of the Latin Mass.

  • I also would like to help people see the importance of keeping silence in the church building and to visit the Blessed Sacrament with love and devotion frequently outside of Mass.
  • I would also like to have people love the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I am working to promote vocations little by little; using altar boys exclusively.
  • I am working to arrange the sanctuary as much as possible so that it reminds us of the Sacred. So it is paramount to remove pianos, drums (which I have already done) and to restore statues and so forth.

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My goal is to lead the flock to Christ through reverence for the Sacred Liturgy. I am working to convince everyone of the need to go to Confession once a month or more, to protect Catholic identity, to protect Catholic education and to rediscover the beauty of the Latin Mass.

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