St. John’s is one of the most diverse and sizable parishes is the state. It stretches from the plains of the Powder River to the peaks of the Big Horn Mountains, encompassing an area larger than the state of Connecticut. St John’s is known for the loving dedication and support of its congregation and for the important role it has played in the spiritual history of the region.

On August 10, 1851, Father Pierre Jean DeSmet celebrated the Powder River region’s first Mass near the lake, which now bears his name. In 1889, Reverend Michael Cassidy was the first priest to visit the young frontier community of Buffalo, returning twice a year to say Mass at Fort McKinney. Reverend Henry Bex became Buffalo’s first resident priest, celebrating Mass in the log schoolhouse on North Main. A succession of Churches was built before the present Tudor-style Church was begun in 1949. This beautiful structure is a monument to the living faith and support of a dedicated congregation — swelled by newly arrived members of the Basque community — and the generous donation of Count and Countess Thorne-Rider.


St. John the Baptist Catholic Church boasts a rich and vital history rooted in Wyoming’s frontier past. For more than a hundred years, we the people of St. John’s have tended one another’s spiritual and physical needs. We have labored long and hard in our state’s honored tradition of looking after our own.

Now the Church is at a crossroads. Parish charitable programs, religious education activities, property maintenance needs and facilities construction plans demand a strong local financial base for the future. Securing the ability of the parish to support its own is critical as we approach our future.

In 1989, a number of concerned parishioners explored ways to support St. John’s current and future needs. The consensus of the group was that the parish should create a foundation. In August, 1990, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Foundation, Inc., was officially established.

The St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Foundation is dedicated exclusively to creating a reliable, LOCALLY CONTROLLED and LOCALLY MANAGED FUND. The Fund will be used to finance parish Charitable, Educational and Capital Projects.