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Bicentennial Mass

Saint Louis University kicked off its celebration of its 200-year anniversary with a Mass under the St. Louis’ Gateway Arch on Sept. 23.


For more event details, below are answers to frequently asked questions.

What is the timeline of events?
  • 4 p.m.: Event grounds open
  • 5:30 p.m.: Bicentennial Mass
  • Following Mass: Musical entertainment, family activities and food trucks on Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd.
  • 8:45 p.m.: Fireworks finale under the Arch
Where do I enter the Arch grounds?

During the Arch grounds construction, the primary entrance to the National Park Service grounds is through the gate just off the Old Cathedral Parking Lot at 209 Walnut St.  From there it is a short walk to the top of the grand staircase under the Arch.

When does the Mass start? 

Mass begins at 5:30 p.m. 

Where exactly will the Mass be held? 

The altar will be on the Riverfront Overlook Stage on Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard.

Who are the ministers of the liturgy?

The presider is the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, and the homilist is the Very Rev. Ronald A. Mercier, S.J., Provincial, USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus.

Where is seating for the Mass?

Primary seating for the Mass will be on the Grand Staircase steps under the Gateway Arch.  More than 5,000 people can be accommodated in this space, and souvenir seat cushions will be in place.  For those who want to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs to the event, due to continued construction, there will be limited grass seating to the left and the right at the top of the steps.  For those with mobility challenges, please see that section in the FAQ for seating options.

Is there a shuttle I can take?

Yes. In fact, the simplest way to join the celebration is to take one of the event shuttles from the Saint Louis University campus. Shuttles depart from outside the Compton/Olive Garage starting at 3:30 p.m., and will run continuously until 45 minutes after the fireworks conclusion. Complimentary parking is available in the Compton Olive Garage. At the event, the shuttles will both drop off and pick up from the Old Cathedral Parking Lot, adjacent to the main Arch grounds entry, and a short walk to the seating for the Mass.

Where should I park? 

There are almost 5,000 available parking spots within two blocks west of the Arch grounds. Some recommended parking spaces include the Mansion House Garage (330 N. 4th Street), Ballpark Village Lot (601 Clark Street) and Stadium Garage East (200 South Broadway). Please note: Parking spaces will not be available in the Old Cathedral Lot.

Can I take Metrolink? 

The Metrolink Laclede’s Landing station is just steps from the North Entrance to the Arch Grounds.

What happens after the Mass?

After the Mass, the special celebration continues on Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard with events, activities and fun for the whole family. Grab delicious food and drinks from more than 10 food trucks. Party to the sounds of The LustreLights, with music for everyone. Enjoy street entertainers, strolling magicians and other children’s activities. And cap off the celebration in the perfect SLU way – a spectacular fireworks display at 8:45 p.m

Will you be able to accommodate guests with mobility issues?

Yes. Saint Louis University is committed to this being a celebration for everyone.  Golf cart shuttles will be available from the Old Cathedral Lot drop-off to the Arch steps.  For those with more serious physical challenges, contact to discuss other options.

Is there a charge to attend? 

No. This remarkable event is free, but registration is requested at

What else is happening at SLU that weekend?

It’s SLU’s Homecoming and Family Weekend so there are more than 30 other events on campus the weekend of Sept. 21-24.  To learn about all there is to see and do, visit

Will bicentennial merchandise be available at the event?

Yes. SLU’s Barnes and Noble bookstore will be on site with a full selection of bicentennial merchandise.

I live out of town. How can I view the Mass?

A live-stream of the Mass will be available online and on Facebook. A link to the stream will be shared as we near the event date.