Rev. Heier: Friend of our Community

The Rev. Vincent A. Heier has left his positions as director of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and as pastor of All Saints Catholic Church in University City. During his 25 years of interfaith work, Heier has always been a close, consistent and reliable friend to all faith communities in St. Louis, including, very much, the Jewish community.

Heier recently took strong exception and was highly critical of the decision by Central Reform Congregation to provide space for the ordination ceremony of two women as priests, a practice which is strictly prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church, and which was recently reiterated as Church doctrine by the late Pope John Paul II, also a great friend of the Jews.


Heier’s disagreement, based on religious doctrine, with the actions of a single Jewish congregation, should not be seen as typical of his approach to sensitive interfaith issues between the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities of St. Louis. On issue after issue, Heier worked with the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Interfaith Partnership and Faith Beyond Walls, and many other organizations and individuals to foster understanding, cooperation and mutual respect.

When Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to the City of St. Louis in 1999, Heier, along with then-Archbishop Justin Rigali, reached out to the Jewish community, and as a result, invited the late Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs to offer a blessing at an official Papal service at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. When the highly controversial film, The Passion of the Christ, directed by Mel Gibson was locally released, Heier offered comments to the St. Louis Jewish Light that reflected a full understanding of Jewish concerns that elements of the film depicted Jews at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus in a negative light, and in violation of the spirit and letter of the Second Vatican Council. Heier also expressed understanding of Jewish concerns over aspects of the restoration of the Latin Mass and accompanying language that is insulting and disrespectful toward Jews.

In recognition of his many years of positive and constructive interfaith work, the JCRC in 1999 presented Heier with the Norman A. Stack Community Service Award.

The Jewish community deeply appreciates Heier’s many years of friendship and wise counsel. We wish him well in the years ahead, and in any endeavor he chooses.