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Rev Martin B Hellriegel

Rev Martin B Hellriegel

Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Death 10 Apr 1981 (aged 90)
Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
Burial O'Fallon, St. Charles County, Missouri, USA
Plot Priests Lot, Precious Blood Sisters Cemetery
Memorial ID 9012358 · View Source
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MSGR. MARTIN B. HELLRIEGEL, P.A., was a pioneering German-American Roman Catholic Priest who immigrated to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO from Heppenheim, Germany and became one of the catalysts for the Catholic Liturgical Movement in the United States and the world, which significantly impacted the Second Vatican Council held from 1963-65 in Rome.

Born at Heppenheim on Nov. 9, 1890, Hellriegel was brought to Missouri by Father George Hoehn along with four other immigrant seminarians to work with German-American Parishes in the Middle West, primarily in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

Ordained at the St. Louis Cathedral by Archbishop John J. Glennon on Dec. 20, 1914, Father Hellriegel served as Chaplain for the Motherhouse Convent for the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood (a German immigrant group of nuns who taught at parochial schools), where he initiated his liturgical career as a liturgist and scholar.

For nearly 35 years, Msgr. Hellriegel was pastor of the landmark Gothic HOLY CROSS CATHOLIC CHURCH in the historic German-American Baden neighborhood of North St. Louis, where he directed liturgies and developed unique liturgical artworks, prayer schedules and pastoral activities combining "traditional" and "renewed" Catholic interests, along with integrating unique prayer and musical forms which also combined these approaches.(The Holy Cross Parish District is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its artistic,architectural and cultural significance--much of which was developed by Msgr. Hellriegel and his predecessors, Fathers Peter and Anton Wigger). He was also a spritual advisor to the Central Verein, the noted German-American umbrella organization to a wide array of German church and cultural related societies in the U.S.

Msgr. Hellriegel's unique liturgical, musical, artistic and pastoral talents and charisma created a distinctive cultural atmosphere in the Holy Cross parish neighborhood which creatively sustained the parish long-after most of the neighboring Catholic parishes had closed. He also initiated neighborhood ecumenical initatives on a cautious basis long before the Second Vatican Council recommended this. Many of these personal gifts of Msgr. Hellriegel were manifested in his liturgical writings, artworks (many that he conceived and had executed by noted German-American liturgical artists and craftsmen, such as Gottfried Schiller, Max, Sr. and Francis X. Sr. Kaiser, Henry Otto Dreisoerner, Marvin Linenbroeker, Emil Ullrich and others), and hymnody, as well as other liturgical-related activities.

This dynamic commmunity-building momentum, influenced by Msgr. Hellriegel's personal views on the daily and community liturgical life of his parish, continue to positively influence the continuity and operation of Holy Cross Parish today, as well as the historic Baden neighborhood of North St. Louis City, long after his death.

A noted writer of hymns and Catholic liturgical prayers, he is one of the few American clergy to be afforded THREE Funeral Masses (the first at Holy Cross Church, second at the New Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, and the third at the Most Precious Blood Motherhouse Chapel in O'Fallon, MO, in whose cemetery he is interred).

He authored the popular Catholic hymn, "To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King" in the late 1940's. He also trained influential Catholic clergy who today are bishops, religious order administrators, and senior pastors throughout the USA. Msgr. Hellriegel served as PROTONOTARY APOSTOLIC for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, a unique honor granted by the Vatican secondary to being a Bishop--and for many years, was the only Archdiocesan clergyman to hold this honor.

After his death, MSGR. HELLRIEGEL was buried with fellow German immigrant priests at the CONVENT CEMETERY of the MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD SISTERS at O'Fallon, MO. His epitaph, "HE LOVED THE CHURCH" is on his gravestone.

An annual MSGR. HELLRIEGEL MEMORIAL MASS is held each year at HOLY CROSS CATHOLIC CHURCH in Baden, MO.,where admirers, proteges and former colleagues recall his worldwide contributions to the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. (He also has a nephew who is a priest in Germany).

Some of his admirers are starting an organization to promote his cause for sainthood.

RECENTLY, his original upright monument with cross was relocated to the grounds of Our Lady of the Holy Cross Parish in Baden, MO, as a parish memorial to his remarkable life.


Msgr. Hellriegel's original upright pedestal/obelisk cross monument has been relocated to the garden of Holy Cross Parish,
Baden, MO (2010).

Gravesite Details Pioneering Roman Catholic Liturgist, Hymn Writer, German-American Pastor and Protonotary Apostolic, St. Louis, MO





  • Created by: Max S. Kaiser, Jr.
  • Added: 29 Jun 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9012358
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Martin B Hellriegel (9 Nov 1890–10 Apr 1981), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9012358, citing Sisters of the Most Precious Blood Cemetery, O'Fallon, St. Charles County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Max S. Kaiser, Jr. (contributor 46505928) Unknown, .