St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church is located in the historic Ville neighborhood, in the heart of North St. Louis City, and serves a predominantly African-American congregation. The parish was founded in 1893, and the cornerstone of the current church was laid in 1906. Priests of the Society of Jesus have been in residence at St. Matthew since 1959.
In 1998, St. Matthew initiated a program called “Revitalization 2000.” Inspired by the graces of its Sunday morning celebration with lively Gospel music, the parish community worked to rebuild the church and neighborhood.
The community pooled its strength and resources to renovate the church and gymnasium, to build a new parish hall and to host the De La Salle Middle School, which the Christian Brothers founded in 2001. The parish is now beginning an evangelization in its neighborhood, as well as new initiatives for its youth and young families.
In 2013, St. Matthew erected and dedicated a new shrine to St. Peter Claver, a 16th- and 17th-century Jesuit missionary from Spain who was known for his years of ministry to Africans enslaved in the Americas. It is believed to be the only shrine of its kind in North America.