The Little Portion in Republic, Missouri
This Former Franciscan Retreat Centre now serves as St. George Catholic Church
Nestled deep in the forests of the Ozark Mountains is a small city called Republic. It sits about 15 miles southwest of Springfield, Missouri, otherwise known as the Queen City of the Ozarks. Republic is a small suburban town originally built along the railroad tracks leading into Springfield. Today Republic straddles Highway 60, a major artery going into the Queen City. In comparison to Springfield, Republic is a quiet town. High school sports preoccupy most of the city’s excitement. A farmers’ market meets regularly on Main Street, and the annual celebration of “Pumpkin Days” takes place in the same location every autumn. Like Springfield, Republic is home to many churches of various types. Whatever you’re looking for, you can pretty much find it in Republic. There are at least two contemporary-style Evangelical churches in town, along with some traditional Baptist and Assemblies of God (Pentecostal) churches. There is a beautiful and historic Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as well as a local Lutheran and Methodist church. However, a new church has come to town, and it’s a little overdue. While Republic is home to hundreds of Roman Catholic residents, it has never had a Catholic Church. Many local Catholics have been commuting to Springfield for weekly mass. That may soon change for some of them, because you see, Republic just got its own Catholic Church.
Saint George Catholic Church meets at the old Franciscan Retreat Centre at the end of Assisi Way on the south side of Republic, near Miller Park. The chapel is hidden from sight from the main road, because it was a Franciscan retreat originally. The idea behind a retreat is seclusion. Since Saint George operates on this property, it is currently tucked away from plain view, but it is very active. Two masses are currently celebrated every week, along with weekly evening prayer, scheduled confession times, and a prayer chapel set aside for visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Though only established in June of this year (2016), the community is alive, well, thriving and growing.
I had the opportunity to speak with Fr. Chori Seraiah, the Catholic priest who lives on the premises of Saint George. Fr. Seraiah is an Anglican convert to Catholicism. He is married and has five children. He was ordained a Catholic priest by special permission from Pope Benedict XVI in 2012… Continue reading