The new priest at Holy Rosary in Warrenton has been on 'quite a journey'

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 8/24/23

Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Warrenton, Missouri, has a new priest. Father Eddie Godefroid is also serving as the priest at St. Mary's Church in Hawk Point after being assinged by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

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The new priest at Holy Rosary in Warrenton has been on 'quite a journey'


Meet The Rev. Edward Godefroid, or Father Eddie as he’s better known, the new parochial administrator at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

He took over at the Warrenton church earlier this month from The Rev. Tom Vordtriede, who had served as the church’s pastor since 2021. 

It’s an assignment that Father Eddie is looking forward to, but one that might not have happened without divine intervention because he didn’t start his adult life thinking about becoming a man of the cloth.

“God called me. I firmly believe that,” he said. “I was working as a golf professional down in Atlanta Georgia. I was there about four-and-a-half, five years.”

Father Eddie said he loved sports and wanted to become the head pro at a top course.

“And I was doing that,” he said. “I was on my way.”

But while serving as an assistant pro, “I just felt like there was this tug in my heart that God was inviting me to a priest, to be an instrument of grace,” he said.

So Father Eddie traded in his golf shirts for a cassock and began studying to become a priest.

His studies took him to Rome, Italy, where he studied at the Pontifical North American College and at the Angelicum, and then returned to the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis where he was ordained a deacon by then-Archbishop Robert Carlson and then became one of the first priests to be ordained by current Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski.

He’s been an ordained priest for two-and-a-half years now, he said.

“It’s quite a journey,” Father Eddie said.

Father Eddie prepares the Eucharist during the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 22 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
Father Eddie prepares the Eucharist during the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 22 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

Starting his journey as a priest

His journey through the archdiocese took him from the Cathedral Basilica to St. Charles Borromeo before being assigned to serve both Holy Rosary and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hawk Point. 

The Archdiocese chose to name one priest for the two churches that are separated by fewer than 12 miles.

Vortriede, the former priest at Holy Rosary, was transferred to serve as the pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in St. Charles. And the previous priest at St. Mary’s, the Rev. John Kenney retired.

The archdiocese chose to have Father Eddie serve both those churches as the parochial administrator. 

He said the church often makes a priest a parochial administrator the first time they are put in charge of a parish. He also said that it’s typical to see the priest become a pastor after about a year.

The big difference between the two roles, Father Eddie said, is that a pastor has a few more rights.

“A parochial administrator can’t make any big changes on his own,” he said. “You’d have to get approval from that archdiocese. So that first year, it’s kind of like a mentorship. You always have to be in dialogue with the diocese.”

Father Eddie also said the driving force for why the archdiocese chose to have one priest serve the two churches was because of the priest shortage.

“We just didn’t have the priests,” he said. “That was one of the reasons for our restructuring. We need more priests. It’s that simple.”

Father Eddie is receiving help, he said, as a couple of retired priests have volunteered their services. 

Father Eddie serves a parishioner communion during the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 22 at Holy Rosary.
Father Eddie serves a parishioner communion during the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 22 at Holy Rosary.

On the road between Warrenton and Hawk Point

But he also set up the Mass schedules to help ensure he has enough time to travel between each church.

“I greet people as they’re leaving and people might have questions or want to talk, so I have time for that,” he said. “And I have time to travel and prepare for Mass up there.”

For instance, Aug. 15 was a holy day of obligation as the church celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. Father Eddie did three Masses that day, one at 6 a.m. at Holy Rosary, a second at 7 a.m. at St. Mary’s, and then an 8:30 a.m. back at Holy Rosary.

The two Sunday Masses at two different churches could cause things to get “logistically challenging,” but he doesn’t foresee it becoming an issue.

“It’s a straight shot up 47,” he said. “If traffic’s bad, I might be a few minutes late, but I will be there.”

And he said if there’s a major problem, he will ask for patience.

“We always pray nothing like that happens,” he said. “But we find a way.”

He did say winter time could pose some issues, but the Church is prepared. In the case of severe weather or dangerous ice, no one is required to attend Mass.

“The Church doesn’t ask us to do the impossible,” Father Eddie said. “So if we cannot make it to Mass because of weather we can’t control, the church allows that. We get a dispensation for that. And so the obligation is no longer there because the church will never obligate you to do something you can’t do.”

But he said he’ll do everything he can to make sure he can be at both churches.

How much time he’ll spend at each church depends on the week, he said.

“If there’s a big thing happening here at Holy Rosary, I will probably be here a little bit more at Holy Rosary,” he said. “But as I told them at St. Mary’s, I’m also there for them.”

Father Eddie speaks during the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 22 at Holy Rosary.
Father Eddie speaks during the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 22 at Holy Rosary.

Churches make the transition

Being there for both churches, he said, has also helped with the transition as both churches adjust to a new priest.

“So far it’s been good,” Father Eddie said about the transition. “So far everybody has been very accepting and welcoming.”

He also said he understands the first thing he has to do with parishioners at both Holy Rosary and St. Mary’s is to build relationships.

“People here love their priest, and they loved the priest before me,” he said. “They have been very patient and have a real sense of gratitude.”

It’s that patience and gratitude that Father Eddie says will allow him to fulfill his ultimate role in his two communities, which is to bring Jesus Christ to the people.

“Our role is to be Christ to the people so that they get to heaven,” he said. “That’s our goal.”

He sees it as a crucial role especially as Warren County continues to grow at a rapid pace.

“It’s an exciting time,” Father Eddie said. “”One of the things of this whole change was evangelization.”

And that will get even more important as the community grows that it remains a “welcoming community,” he said.

“We are a community that prays and is here together and gives worship to God. We can go out and be witnesses of God’s goodness to others, especially as we continue to grow.”

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at jason@warrencountyrecord.com

priest, holy rosary, catholic, church, warrenton