St. Augustine of Hippo Catholic Church/St. Benedict the Black Friary
St. Augustine of Hippo Catholic Church was officially established on March 6, 2006 when four remaining Catholic Churches were merged into one new Parish. In the late 1950's there had been fourteen Catholic Churches in East St. Louis with a population of almost 90,000. In the 1960's business began to move out and the population followed resulting in a population that is now estimated at 20,000. Catholic Churches and schools were closed as the population declined. In 1989 the remaining Catholic Schools were closed and merged into one school named in honor of Sister Thea Bowman. Today St. Augustine of Hippo Church, Sister Thea Bowman School and the small Lithuanian community at Immaculate Conception Chapel continue the ministry and presence of the Catholic Church in this economically challenged area.
St. Augustine Catholic Church currently has a membership of about 200 households. Over half of these households live outside of East St. Louis but continue their membership at the Church because of the vibrant spirit and fellowship they find in the Church community. Even though we are not a large Church we offer and encourage members to take an active part in our Church and the community. We provide religious education for our children and youth and adult Faith Formation through Bible Classes and presentations on our Catholic Faith. We hold an annual Revival, choir concerts and other activities to make the presence of the Catholic Church more visible and recognized in the community. Parishioners are encouraged to volunteer in helping with St. Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Urban Programs and Health Visions East, all offering assistance to those in need in our community through a wide range of services. The Church provides special opportunities for our children and youth to be involved in the Church and constructive activities with our Praise Dancers, Altar Servers, Youth Group and Team-J classes.
We are grateful for the support of the Black and Indian Mission collection in making possible many of the faith formation and evangelization efforts of the Church. May God bless you for your generous support.