Much of the early history of what is now Missouri is dominated by the Catholic Church. This is logical since some of the earliest explorers up the Mississippi River were Catholic priests. The first settlers were French Catholics. As we recount in other stories, the Roman Catholic Church in St. Louis was considered so strong that some Protestant sects were almost afraid to try establishing their faith there. The first mass was said in St. Louis in the year of its founding, 1764. A church was built at a location which has since been the site of a Catholic Church for more than two centuries. Despite the strong Catholic heritage, only one man is known for making St. Louis into the ” Rome of America.”His name is Joseph Rosati.