Parish Profile – St. Mary Help of Christians, St. Augusta

Interior photo of St. Mary Help of Christians in St. Augusta.

Father Francis Xavier Pierz founded this parish in 1856. The story has it that Father Pierz was walking through a field and he happened to see a small prayer card in German dedicated to St. Augustine. It was most unusual. And he called the town St. Augustine. No one knows why the town is known as St. Augusta instead of St. Augustine. The parish currently has about 555 households. The following questions were answered by Vincentian Father Jose Edayadiyil, pastor.

Q: What is the most interesting facet of your church building?

A: The present church was built of granite in 1873 and is a historical marker. A new addition was built 16 years ago with office space, large gathering area and parish center, which is used frequently for parish and diocesan gatherings and dinners. The old and the new here blend together. It expresses a spirit of gathering and is a place to belong.

Q: What is the most popular program or tradition at your parish?

A: One of our popular programs is the dinner theater, “A Christmas Carol.” We do three shows and the tickets are sold out in three weeks. We also have a Lenten program with Mass, Stations of the Cross, a bread and soup dinner and a question-and-answer hour, titled “Ask Father Jose.” Another tradition of this parish is the eucharistic procession to the chapels on the church grounds on the feast of Corpus Christi.

Meet the pastor

Father Jose Edayadiyil

Vincentian Father Edayadiyil grew up in the state of Kerala, in the southern part of India, with a climate similar to that of Florida. So Minnesota winters are new to him. He was ordained in 1973. He worked in a technical college — serving 15 years as principal and teacher of engineering drawing and trigonometry.
He served as pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Isanti for 14 years and has been the pastor at St. Mary, Help of Christians Parish for three years.

Q: What inspired you to become a priest?
A: At a young age I started serving at Mass, even during weekdays, and I loved the Mass. That may have prompted me to think about the priesthood.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your daily life as a priest?
A: What I enjoy most is my time offering the Holy Eucharist and being with people.

Q: What was the theme of a favorite homily that you preached?
A: My favorite homily theme is on the Eucharist.


Author: The Visitor

The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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