About Us

 

Our History

The town of Branson began to develop in the early 1950s. People came from Springfield for the weekend and wanted the possibility of attending Mass. The Paulist Fathers serving in Monett would come on weekends, particularly during the Spring and Summer.

At the same time, Rockaway Beach’s location as a place for swimming, boating, and general recreation attracted many people. For these people to attend Mass, Sammy Lane’s boat rentals instituted the “Mass Boat.” The boat would leave Rockaway Beach for Branson. Passengers could walk up the hill from the lake to the church, which was housed in the old bank building. After Mass, the boat would take them back to Rockaway Beach.

Gradually the crowds grew too large for this arrangement and Mass was offered in the dance pavilion at Rockaway Beach. The priest would travel from Springfield (about 40 miles) to celebrate. Attendance at both Branson and Rockaway grew, serving more than 200 people during the summer. Redecoration of the dance hall by the owner rendered the hall unusable for worship. The only building suitable for the celebration of Eucharist was an empty store in Forsyth, which was prepared appropriately during the summer of 1963. In 1964 an abandoned feed store and sometimes “church” was purchased by the diocese and made into a church.

In 1976 the building was remodeled and enlarged with a kitchen and hall. Area growth caused the search for a new site. A church and hall were built in 2002. The present church was built at 951 Swan Valley Drive, with seating for 300 and a large hall.

Forsyth was a mission cared for by the pastor of Branson until 1981, when Forsyth was designated a parish. In 2004 through a shortage of clergy, Forsyth returned to the care of the pastor of Our Lady of the Lake in Branson.