St. Mary of Victories, a historic Catholic church in St. Louis, will remain open after securing a new priest | faith and values

A historic church just south of downtown St. Louis will be able to stay open after parishioners worried about its fate after the current priest announced his retirement.

Reverend Charles Samson will be the new chaplain of St. Mary of Victories, 744 South Third Street. Founded in 1843, it is the second oldest church in the city.

The church’s current chaplain, the Reverend Brian Harrison, 77, last year announced his intention to retire and return to his native Australia.

“We are delighted to be blessed with this dynamic and faithful priest to succeed Father Harrison when he retires on June 30,” said a social media post released by the parish on Monday evening.

Sainte Marie des Victoires will have a mass at 11 a.m. starting July 3. The Mass is an English Novus Ordo.

The church offered a Saturday Mass at 7 p.m. in English, a Latin Mass on Sunday at 9 a.m. and a Sunday Mass at 11:30 a.m. in English with “a touch of Hungarian,” according to its announcements.

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Samson was ordained in 2013.

“We are absolutely thrilled and excited to be able to continue,” said chapel board chairman Jim Hooper, who met with Samson this week. He said Samson is a linguist and hopes to use some Latin at the traditional Mass, and maybe learn the Hungarian national anthem which they traditionally sing at the end of the Mass.

Samson lives near the old cathedral and is an associate professor at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury.

After St. Mary of Victories was built, it served the city’s growing German immigrant population. A group of sisters, later known as the Sisters of St. Mary, the founders of SSM Health, took the name of the church after coming there to live and care for the sick with smallpox and cholera.

The construction of the Gateway Arch lands and Interstate 55 at its doorstep also threatened its population. After World War II and the Hungarian uprising of 1956, the church welcomed Hungarian immigrants.

The church was the subject of a Post-Dispatch profile in July.

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