Holy Rosary Catholic Church

(Remember, for best viewing, click on the Blue Headline)

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

911 E. Missouri Ave

Kansas City, MO 64106

Parish Established: October 1890

Current Church: Dedicated December 20, 1903


I have included “slide shows” like the following one throughout this post. They include details from the fuller views of the large church windows. Take a few seconds to enjoy them as you read along.

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When Italian immigrants seeking work on the railroads came to Kansas City in the late 19th century, many settled on the “North Side,” between Front Street and Independence Avenue. At first they attended St. Patrick Church, which was predominantly Irish. However, the Italian speaking immigrants needed an Italian speaking priest who could hear confession in Italian, whose sermons could be understood when given in Italian, and who could minister to the spiritual and social needs of the Italian speaking community. In 1890, because so many of these Italian immigrants did not have a place where they could attend church services in their native language, Father Ferdinando Santipolo was sent as a missionary by the Scalabrini Fathers to start a church that would serve these Italian immigrants.  The parish was founded in 1891 in what would be, for many years, a solidly Italian neighborhood .


The building wasn’t standing for long before a fire broke out in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday, April 12, 1903. A new brick church was built and opened that same year, but fire would plague the church two more times during its history, again in 1947 and a third time in 1955. The rebuilt interior included murals by Dante Cosintino, whose beautiful artwork has graced many of Kansas City’s Catholic churches.  However, as these church interiors were remodeled over the years, many of his works have been lost.

During World War II, Italian prisoners of war were brought in by truck from Riverside to attend Sunday Mass in Holy Rosary.


The Holy Rosary credit union was created in 1943 to help immigrants and their families get the financial support they needed. According to Father Charles Coleman in This Far by Faith: A popular history of the Catholic people of west and northwest Missouri, the credit union “loaned literally millions of dollars to individuals who had no credit ratings and who could get no loans from other lending institutions.”

DSC_9738Although the Missionary goal of the Scalabrini Community originally was for the Italian migrants and their descendants, their mission was later extended to include migrants of all nationalities. Between 1950 and 1960, most of the Italian parishes staffed by the Scalabrini missionaries across the United States became multi–cultural and multi–national.

Over time the population around Holy Rosary changed and the church became the spiritual home for members of the Cuban, Mexican and Vietnamese communities. Holy Rosary is now a mix of ethnicities, backgrounds, and ages.  A Vietnamese priest lived at the parish rectory from 1981 to 1991. He provided all religious and pastoral services to the Vietnamese community. In June 1991, the diocese established a Vietnamese parish and the Vietnamese priest became the pastor of that new parish. And  religious services in Vietnamese were discontinued at Holy Rosary. But the Vietnamese people living in the neighborhood and surrounding areas who had been attending Holy Rosary continued to participate in the church’s services and social activities. They still continue to do so and since 2004, in Advent season, the gospel is read in Vietnamese on weekend and weekday masses. The parish weekly bulletin has a section in Vietnamese.  And the Feast of Our Lady of La Vang is celebrated in August.

The Holy Rosary parish may have changed over the past 125 years, but the church continues to serve  families  with long histories at Holy Rosary.   New families from many ethnic heritages continue to worship and participate in the church’s spiritual and social activities.

A bit about the Scalabrinian Fathers and Brothers:

Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini (John Baptist Scalabrini) (8 July 1839 – 1 June 1905) was ordained priest on 30 May 1863. He was made Bishop of Piacenza in Italy on 28 November 1887. He founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles now known as the Scalabrinian Fathers and Brothers. Its initial mission was to “maintain Catholic faith and practice among Italian emigrants in the New World.” Today, they and their sister organizations, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (founded by Scalabrini on 25 October 1895) and Secular Institute of the Scalabrinian Missionary Women (founded 25 July 1961) minister to migrants, seafarers, refugees and displaced persons. Holy Rosary Parish has been staffed by the Scalabrinians since being founded in 1891.

I have not been able to determine the history of these windows, but I assume they were installed at the time the church was constructed or shortly thereafter. Nor have I been able to identify the designers or craftsmen who created them. Perhaps a bit more research with the help of the church historian or archivist may prove fruitful here. I hope so.

Here are the individual windows with some closer looks and their dedications.

The Nativity

Dedicated in honor/ memory of:

Jasper & Zaira Brancato  (Right panel) Stephan & Elda Lipari (Left panel)


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Young Jesus Preaching in the Temple

Dedicated in the honor/memory of:

Alberta Stephani (Left panel)  Marian-Joan Brancato (Right panel)


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Agony in the Garden

Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Anthony & Angeline



Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Donated by The Altar Society (Left panel)  Sgt. Vito F. Barbieri (Right panel)


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Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Joseph A. Cherrito (Left panel)   Pasquale & Faustina George (Right panel)


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Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Caroline-Gustie Gargotta (Left panel)   Rose Mazzuca (Right panel)


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Other Small Windows

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This entry was posted in 20th Century, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament, United States. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Holy Rosary Catholic Church

  1. Alison Appel says:

    Once again, very informative writing and gorgeous photos!


  2. blosslyn says:

    Beautiful glass, thank you for sharing 🙂


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