This year marks the centennial for Saint Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lewistown. The tall, Romanesque structure stands prominently along the city’s skyline, like a beacon calling to Lewistown’s sizable Catholic community. “Saint Leo’s is a local establishment of the Catholic Church at large,” says Father Samuel Spiering, the parish priest at Saint Leo’s. “Catholicism can offer the fullness of Christ’s teachings along with the seven sacraments which can help us on our way to heaven.”
Saint Leo’s reaches out not only to the Catholic community but to the Lewistown community as a whole. Throughout the year, the church helps provide those in need with food, clothing, and shelter. “We have a very active Social Concerns Committee to provide for the needy in the area,” says Father Spiering.
As one of the area’s oldest churches, Saint Leo’s has a large stake in the Lewistown community. Construction began on this noble building in 1915 and it was consecrated by Bishop Mathias Lenihan on November 12, 1916. It was named Saint Leo the Great Catholic Church after a fifth century pope who turned back Attila the Hun from Rome.
The construction of Saint Leo’s filled a need in the newly founded city, as the Catholic faith already had a large presence in the area. Homesteaders, gold miners, merchants, and Native Americans joined together to hear the preaching of the “black robe” priests who had come to share the message of God’s love.
According to Father Spiering, Catholic Mass at Saint Leo’s continues to be celebrated today as it has for the past 100 years. Weekend Masses begin at 5pm on Saturday and 8:30am on Sunday, with confessions from 3:30-4:30pm every Saturday, and various gatherings and activities throughout the year.
Saint Leo’s will be hosting a centennial celebration on November 12, 2016 and is holding a number of events throughout the year to commemorate the year-long construction of the church.
Saint Leo the Great Catholic Church is located at 102 West Broadway Street in Lewistown. For more information, visit Saint Leo’s Facebook page.