400 S. Lane / PO Box 606

Palmyra, MO 63461

(573) 769­-3270 office and fax


Sunday Mass Times:  Saturday 5:30pm, Sunday 7:30am and 10:30am

Daily Mass Times: 6:30pm Mon, 8:00am Tues, Wed AND 10:00am Friday at Maple Lawn Nursing Home

Holy Day Mass Times: Contact the office

Confessions Heard: Saturday 5pm, Sunday 7am and 10am or by appointment

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Meet the Parish Staff

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Rev. Fr. Basil Okwudili Nwachukwu Eruo

            I was raised as a Catholic young man in the South Eastern part of Nigeria, but not without some sprinkling of my cultural heritage. I am of the Igbo tribe and there is so much of my culture that was transferred into the Catholic religion-Respect for life, respect for elders, deifying of the “man of God as well as a sprinkling of God in every aspect of our lives. Sometimes there is an “over-dependence on God” in everything we do. My grandparents practiced African traditional religion.

            My parents had this great relationship with God that when my mom was pregnant, both of my parents simply agreed that whoever comes along must be dedicated to God. This could be readily seen in the native names they gave me. My Dad called me Nwachukwu-God’s son, and my mom called me Okwudilichukwu-God has the final say. It was so easy for my people fully communicate their intentions, or their situations in life or their prayer to God through the names they give to their kids.

            I entered minor seminary just before my 12th birthday and spent 17 years being trained as a seminarian before I was ordained in August 1999. The faith of my parents and the support of my siblings all through the seminary were of immense help throughout my journey to the priesthood. I have also been inspired by the life of many priests that I encountered in the course of my life and training for the priesthood. What I am today is a mélange of the many fine qualities I appreciated in each of them. I have also enjoyed the love and support of very many friends.

            I love my life as a priest of God, though priestly life in America is a bit different from what it is in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the priest is the one person you can entrust your most valued treasure to and be sure that it will be safe, as such you are innocent until proven guilty; but in America, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Sometimes, I am constrained by this “skewed” perception of the priest in America, and at other times my exuberant nature takes me over completely. If I had grown up in America, I doubt if I would have opted for the priesthood. The nature of family life and the perception of the priesthood is the greatest enemy to priestly vocation here in America.

            I love to reflect on the word of God to find the deeper meaning buried in them. I am always intrigued by the new meaning that is given to me each time I reflect on the word of God. There is always a new insight each time I approach the Word, even if I had to go back to the same lines over and over again. My favorite line is “Your grace is enough for me”.

Deacon Robert Leake


Deacon Robert A. Leake is the deacon assigned to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  He and his wife, Lisa, lived in St. Louis MO and Perry MO with their 3 children before coming to Palmyra in 1990.  In May of 2007 Bob was ordained a deacon and assigned to St. Joseph's.  Deacon Bob believes one of the best parts of the parish in Palmyra is that "everyone is like family here".  His favorite biblical verse is Joshua 24:15 "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". St. Robert Bellarmine is his confirmation saint. Saturday mornings finds Deacon Bob fishing or wondering why he is not fishing. Deacon Bob's email is deacon@stjoepalmyra.org.


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Cheryl Hirner


Cheryl Hirner is the Secretary and Bookkeeper for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. She was born in Quincy, IL, grew up in Scottsbluff, NE, and went to high school in Estes Park, CO.  A parishioner since 1976, Ms. Hirner started working for the parish in September of 1992.  According to her, the best part of the parish family is “the wonderful fellowship we have here.”  Ms. Hirner’s favorite Bible verse is “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13),” and her Confirmation Saint is St. Agnes of Rome.  On Saturday mornings she likes to sleep late (8am) and then in good weather garden or do yard work, and in bad weather, watch old movies or read a book. Her email is office@stjoepalmyra.org.

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Dale Gervais   


Dale Gervais is the Maintenance man at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  He has lived in Plattsburgh, NY, Colony, NY, Des Moines, IA, Ames, IA, Elk City, KS, and Mendon, IL before coming to work in the Parish in Palmyra in 1995. His favorite aspect of being a part of St. Joseph’s is the Parish Family and his favorite Bible verse is “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).” Mr. Gervais’ Confirmation Saint is St. Peter.  He works on Saturdays, but on Sunday mornings he likes to read the Sunday newspaper.