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St. Louis Archdiocese’s first Parish Life Coordinator

By Sister Janice Munier, Parish Life Coordinator,
Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Sister Janice Munier is the first Parish Life Coordinator for the St. Louis Archdiocese. A parishioner and Sister Janice decorate the church.

In 2005, I left my ministry on the Tohono O’odham reservation, which is near Tucson, Arizona, and the Mexico border, where I spent 12 of the most wonderful years of my life. During this time, I learned how to live within another culture. Unknown to me then, was that this experience prepared me for what was to unfold in my life.

On returning to St. Louis to take care of my aging mother, I struggled to adjust from a Native American culture to an urban setting. Encouraging me were other School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND): Sister Joyelle Proot, whose position I was to fill; Sister Gail Guelker, a parishioner of Most Holy Trinity; and Sister Gen Cassani, my community member.

When I received an invitation to consider the position of pastoral assistant at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church (Trinity) in North St. Louis, I began to look into the possibility. Trinity, from my first visit to the church, was the faith experience I wanted. It was August in St. Louis and walking into this non-air conditioned church, I immediately felt at home. As I entered, a teenage girl who was opening the windows greeted me with such friendliness that I wanted to hug her. At the conclusion of Mass, the pastor introduced me and extended the microphone in my direction. I shared that I was looking for a new parish home. The assembly applauded me in welcome. That was it; my new welcoming and warm church community!

In 2017, our beloved pastor, Father Richard Creason, retired due to illness. The Archdiocese had no priest available to replace him. The former Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis had established the position of Parish Life Coordinator (PLC) in his former diocese and now initiated it in St. Louis. Trinity studied this model and chose it as their desired form of leadership.

I was confident from my past experience on the reservation and as pastoral assistant that I could apply for this position. It would feel like the most natural transition. I was interviewed by former Archbishop Carlson and Father Michael Boehm, Vicar for priests, and subsequently accepted. Later in 2018, our neighboring parish also installed a lay woman as PLC. Currently, we are the only two women serving in this capacity in St. Louis.

Sister Janice Munier is the first Parish Life Coordinator for the St. Louis Archdiocese. She can be seen wearing a mask on the church front steps.

Trinity does not have a priest assigned to it. My position as PLC is basically being the pastor of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church. A priest comes every Sunday to say Mass and for sacraments. Essential to this model is the support of a church community. As the pastor of Trinity, the faith community gifts me with 100 percent collaboration.

After serving almost three years as PLC, I see clearly that the focus of this ministry combines pastoral and administrative duties. It is always a challenge to balance those duties. In reality, the administrative work seems to take most of my time; however, my goal is to set time aside daily for phone calls or visiting.

Sister Gail Guelker has been a blessing to Trinity, in her position of Mission Advancement. Her skills at organization, a background in school administration and her awareness of social justice issues have been an enormous help to me. Our mission as SSND is to work for oneness. Sister Gail and I strive to carry out that mission together at Trinity.

Being a racially diverse congregation, my goal as PLC of Trinity, as well as the mission of our church, is that we become a place for many to call home. In this time of great racial unrest, Most Holy Trinity stands as a beacon of hope in the North City neighborhood. With 172 years of history and the magnificent 122 year-old church, our dream is to grow as a parish where all are welcome.

Learn more about Sister Janice’s role in the St. Louis Archdiocese.


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