Church members joined in the fervor to get the job done. Ron Kirby, LaFern Striver, Grace Sullivan and Mark Evans have been the main contributors to writing the book. After almost 10 years the book, "Old St. Vincent's Church: A Historical and Pictorial Sketch of Catholicism in Cape Girardeau," is almost ready to be published.
But some of the pieces needed to complete the story are missing.
The writers have acquired two pictures they want included in the book that show some unidentified altar boys. One portrait was taken in 1953 at the centennial celebration of Old St. Vincent. Despite much research, the altar boys flanking the priests remain anonymous. The writers also can't identify two altar boys in another picture taken in 1956 at the groundbreaking ceremony for St. Vincent's Grade School on Ritter Drive.
The book isn't being published to commemorate any special occasion, Kirby said.
The book shows the love and dedication the people of Old St. Vincent Church had and continue to have toward their parish. It details the fight to save the historical church in the 1970s, when many parishioners believed it had outlived its time. A new church -- St. Vincent de Paul Church -- had been built to accommodate the growing parish and the diocese had plans to tear down Old St. Vincent's.
The writers include historical background like the coming of Catholicism to Southeast Missouri. The book talks about St. Vincent's educational institutions and about St. Vincent's during the Civil War, World War I and World War II.
The creation of the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau is discussed, mentioning the priests who played a part. The book includes historical timelines, beginning with Old St. Vincent's Church from 1975 to 2008. Timelines detail the restoration of Old St Vincent's, the Knights of Columbus, Saint Francis Medical Center, Catholic Campus Ministry and Notre Dame Regional High School.
The contents of "Old St. Vincent's Church: A Historical and Pictorial Sketch of Catholicism in Cape Girardeau" tell not only about Old St. Vincent's Church, but about what the early leaders of Catholicism in the Mississippi Valley had to overcome and what they accomplished.
The book chronicles the church and parish journey and touches on history and emotions of joy and sadness, fortitude and despair. Kirby said they hope to publish it this fall.