The people at St. Mary of Victories are warm, reverent and welcoming. You'll find that character at both the 9 am and the 11 am Masses. Visitors often commment at how welcoming the people here are. One couple visiting from Texas, after having visited other parishes in the city commented in a letter back to us that they found St. Mary of Victories to be "the heart of Catholic St. Louis." We hope you can visit too, and enjoy some coffee and donuts, or on third Sundays a hearty Hungarian lunch in the Hall with us, while we get to know you better!
St. Mary of Victories is the personal Hungarian parish for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. It was founded by Bishop Kenrick for German immigrants who were flooding into St. Louis in the 1840s, but in 1957 the Archdiocese designated it a spiritual home for Hungarian-Americans. Some of these Hungarian-Americans came from the old St. Stephen of Hungary Parish at 12th and Chouteau, now a part of the Purina complex. Some of them were coming from Hungary after the failed revolution against the occupying forces of the Soviet Union. Thus you will sometimes see the description "St. Stephen of Hungary Parish Community at St. Mary of Victories." A few of the parishioners who came here in their youth are still attending the 11 am Mass. We hope you can meet them.
Find out more about the Hungarian Revolution and our parishioners who participated, in this article written by St. Louis National Public Radio.
The Hungarian flavor of the parish is unmistakable, and part of that is the 11 am Mass. The Mass is celebrated in the "ordinary form," that is versus populum (facing the people) and is mostly in English. The second reading is in Hungarian (an English translation is in our hymnal), as are the last two hymns sung by the Hungarian choir.
There is a special devotional prayer that the choir will recite in Hungarian at the elevation of the Host and Chalice. The translation is as follows:
I praise You and I bless You, dearest holy Body [Blood] Who for our salvation died on the Cross and gloriously resurrected. O sweet Jesus, O gracious Jesus, O merciful Jesus, I bless You from the bottom of my soul; I love You with all my heart, I live for You, I die for You, I am Yours In my life as well as in my death. Amen.
On the Third Sunday of the Month, before the final hymn, the choir (and many of the congregation) sing the Hungarian National Anthem. This song is a rousing but touching prayer for the Hungarian people in the classical style:
Isten, áldd meg a magyart,
Jó kedvvel, bőséggel,
Nyújts feléje védő kart,
Ha küzd ellenséggel;
Bal sors akit régen tép,
Hozz rá víg esztendőt,
Megbűnhődte már e nép
A múltat s jövendőt!
O Lord, bless the nation of Hungary
With your grace and bounty
Extend over it your guarding arm
During strife with its enemies
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a time of relief
This nation has suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!
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