St. Mathias Catholic Church
Sunday: 8:00 am
Friday: 8:30 am
Sunday: 7:30 am (first Sunday of each month)
…or by appointment…
4529 County Road 121
Fort Ripley, MN 56479
St. Mathias is one of the older parishes in the Duluth Diocese. Monsignor J.F. Buh began to visit the area in 1887 and Mass was said in the homes of the people. Originally, St. Mathias was a French settlement, and although the parish was a mission of St. Francis Church in Brainerd, it was looked after by Father Arthur Lamothe from Belle Prairie in the St. Could Diocese. Fr. Lamothe was pastor from 1890 till 1905. A frame church was constructed under his direction on land donated by the Gideon Matte family and this also included the cemetery.
The first full time pastor of St. Mathias was Fr. E. Bosus from 1905 till 1909. During his pastorate, the rectory was built in 1906. When he left there were 57 families in the parish. He was succeeded by Fr. Lamy; he stayed until 1918. He added a sacristy, two galleries, built the steeple and installed a 400 pound bell. In July 1920, Father Tertoogan, a native of Holland, started the Crosier connection with the parish that lasted until 1996.
While on vacation in Holland in 1930, Fr. Tertoogan was offered the Stations of the Cross from a Jesuit Church in Rotterdam at no cost. He shipped them to St. Mathias, paying $50 for the freight. These are the Stations that now grace our church. Because of the increasing size of the parish it became necessary to think seriously of building a new and larger church. Local farmers began digging the basement in Dec. 1923, and on Sept. 24th, 1924 Mass was offered for the first time in the basement. On Aug. 26th, 1928 the first Mass was offered in the newly completed Church.
Since 1996, St. Mathias was a mission parish of St. Andrew’s and in 2001 it was clustered with St. Francis and St. Andrew’s Churches with Fr. Seamus Walsh as pastor of all three churches. In 2010 St. Mathias became a cluster of 5 churches: St. Francis, St. Andrew’s, All Saints, St. Mathias, and the summer chapel of St. Thomas of the Pines.
Finally, in June of 2014 it was announced that there would be two clusters in the Brainerd Area. St. Andrew & St. Mathias would be clustered together and St. Francis, All Saints and St. Thomas of the Pines in the other. We currently have two separate offices, one located at St. Andrews and the other just behind St. Francis Church.