St. Barnabas Church

St. Barnabas’ first church opened in 1869 near Ninth and Douglas. It has been across from Joslyn Castle since 1915.

The 150th anniversary of St. Barnabas Church includes something special for the larger Omaha community:

Free tours of both the timber-clad, English Herefordshire church and of the Renaissance Revival mansion down the street.

St. Barnabas has had a congregation in Omaha since the city’s early days, and the first church opened near Ninth and Douglas Streets in 1869. At that time, steamboats still plied the Missouri River, Nebraska had been a state for two years and memories of the Civil War were still raw.

The congregation has moved “west” twice since then, and their current building, across the street from Joslyn Castle, was constructed in 1915. The building was recently renovated and an elevator added. The renovation was led by parishioner Sean Reed.

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“We are grateful to be reaching this milestone,” the Rev. Jason Catania said.

On Sunday, the small but growing congregation will throw open the doors to their church at 129 N. 40th St. and the recently acquired Offutt-Yost mansion down the street. The mansion was the home of Lt. Jarvis Offutt, the first Nebraska pilot to die in World War I, and for whom Offutt Air Force Base is named.

St. Barnabas is one of Omaha’s “newest” Catholic churches in the sense that the congregation joined the Catholic faith in 2013, Catania said. It had originally been an Episcopal church.

“It was a matter of conviction,” Catania said. “Our beliefs were more in line with the Catholic Church.”

Among those beliefs, he cited the actual presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, the intercession of Mary and the teaching authority of the church and papacy.

Churches such as St. Barnabas belong to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter rather than a Catholic diocese. As part of the celebration, the Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes, bishop of the Ordinariate, will preside over Mass on Sunday.

Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, followed by a reception. Tours will be given in the early afternoon after the reception.