In 1868 Joseph Van Cloostere made a trip to Anna and was received there by the Bishop who agreed to come to Murphysboro on the eve of the Ascension. On May 21, 1868, the feast of the Ascension, Rt. Rev. Damian Junker, the first bishop of the Diocese of Alton, offered the first holy mass in Murphysboro in the Meddar Lucier home. Thirteen infants and children were baptized that day. The bishop was so impressed by the number of Catholics who had settled in Murphysboro promised that Father Fockele, the pastor at Anna, would offer Mass for them once a month.
Father Fockele offered mass at the Ozburn school in the Summer and in the Jackson County Courthouse at other times for more than a year. A deed dated June 15, 1868, conveyed the present site of St. Andrew to trustees of the Catholic Church. In the Spring of 1869 a frame church 24 x 50 feet with s mall turret topped by a cross was planned and building began. Father Fockele organized an altar society for the church in 1869.
In October, 1872 Rev. Herman Jungmann became pastor of St. Andrew Church. It was Father Jungmann who dreamed of a school and made Catholic education in St. Andrew's almost synonymous with its history. Shortly after he became pastor in 1872 Father Jungmann organized the first school with classes conducted in his dwelling.
Fire destroyed this church May 4, 1888 and the foundation of the current church was laid in the Fall of 1888.
The Rt. Rev John Janssen dedicated the present St. Andrew on Oct. 16, 1889. A special train brought visitors for the dedication including twenty priests. The Catholic Knights of Illinois marched to the M&O station to meet the visitors and escort them to the dedication. The dedication mass was offered by Father Jungmann.
Between 1890 and 1892 extensive work was completed on the interior of the church. This included a new pulpit, frescoes, a new baptismal font and statuary. Once the interior beautification was completed an extensive building program began which included a new school building in 1893; a hospital in 1897; the rectory in 1901; and, an addition to the school in 1909. In 1910 a new convent was built which is the current rectory.
In 1891 St. Andrew Church had missions at Grand Tower, Raddleville, Ava and Carterville. The mission in Grand Tower built St. Gregory Church in Grand Tower which was dedicated in 1874. St. Gregory Church remained until 1905 when the declining population of Grand Tower made the operation of the church impossible. In 1892 the mission in Ava dedicated its church, St. Elizabeth. St. Elizabeth offered services until 2015 when services ceased to be offered as a result of parish consolidation within the Belleville diocese.
On Oct. 8, 1967, the church, its great Gothic beauty enhanced by extensive interior restoration to conform to the new liturgy and exterior renovation including tower clock, automatic bell ringers, and lighted spire, was re-dedicated.
* Taken from "History of St. Andrew's Parish 1868 -1968" written by Marie Palmer and Mary Slechticky