Parish History

Father James Ryan celebrated the first Mass of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish on April 2, 1956, on the gym stage at Grant School.  Father Ryan’s first rectory was a residence on Rayburn from which he offered weekday Masses.  By August 12, 1956, groundbreaking ceremonies for a parish complex were held.


The first Mass was offered in the new church on August 11, 1957.  Archbishop Joseph Ritter formally dedicated the parish on November 17th, the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.  Father Ryan remained pastor until his death on July 25, 1973.  During Father Ryan’s illness, Monsignor Joseph Kennedy was appointed Administrator.  He then served until 1981 as an Associate Pastor.  Father William Ahrens served as pastor from October 1973 to 1985.

From June 1985 to June 1987, Father Ronald R. Tiefenbrunn served as Pastor. In these years, Fr. Robert Babka, Fr. Dennis Schmidt, and Fr. Donald Hoffman served as Associate Pastors.  Fr. Donald Buhr succeeded Fr. Tiefenbrunn and served as Pastor until June 1996.  In 1996, Fr. Thomas Haley was appointed as Pastor and served until June 2002.  Fr. John Comer served as Associate Pastor.

In 2002, Fr. James Edwards was appointed as Pastor.  Due to changing demographics and a declining school enrollment, discussions with St. Justin Martyr Parish began about combining the parish elementary schools.  At the end of the 2003‑2004 school year, St. Elizabeth Parish closed its school and merged it with St. Justin.  An agreement was made whereby parishioners from St. Elizabeth of Hungary who desire to enroll their children in a Catholic elementary school are welcome to enroll in St. Justin School while remaining parishioners at St. Elizabeth.

In 2008-2009, Fr. Joseph Weber, pastor of St. Justin Martyr, served as temporary administrator of the parish during the illness of Fr. Edwards, who ministered until 2009.  Fr. Gregory Lockwood was appointed parochial administrator in October 2009, until his assignment to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in 2011.

On July 1, 2011, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Msgr. Timothy Cronin was appointed Pastor until his assignment to St. Joseph Parish in Imperial, Missouri, in August 2012.  On August 28, 2012, Msgr. Richard Hanneke was appointed parochial administrator.

The history of St. Elizabeth of Hungary is a history of the Catholic community in Crestwood:  a people with a diversity of interests united in one Faith and one Lord, Jesus Christ.  Throughout this history, the faithful of St. Elizabeth Parish have been generous in their willingness to volunteer, to lend a hand to those in need, and to share the blessings of God with others.  The gifts of faith, commitment, time and love exemplify dedication to the Lord, the Church, and one another.