St. Leo was founded in June of 1978. Eight hundred families came together from four different parishes – the majority from St. Pius X. The wall hanging of the St. Leo Family Tree was made from pieces of cloth donated by these founding families and put together by the sewing committee. Each leaf of the tree symbolizes a St. Leo parishioner or family.
Before the building was completed, Masses and parish activities were held in the Music Hall at Boys Town. The groundbreaking took place in August of 1979 – a Mass was held on the site and hundreds of parishioners brought their shovels to help with the event.
St. Leo Church was designed around a central axis from the tabernacle in the chapel to the cross on the hill outside the building. The church proper is focused on the action of hearing the Word of God and celebrating the Eucharist at God’s Table. Earth tones were chosen to highlight that the people bring the life and color to the building. The red bricks were made locally and the artwork was also designed and crafted by local artists. The large Commons area was meant to enhance socialization of the community. The building was dedicated on September 5, 1980 and the celebration began with a procession from Boys Town Music Hall to the building site.
Our community has been led by Pastors Fr. Vincent Mainelli, Fr. Patrick McCaslin, Fr. Dick Swolek, and Fr. Harry Buse. Fr. Dennis Hanneman, Fr. James Scholz, Fr. Theodore Richling, Fr. Richard Whiteing, Fr. Keith Rezac, Fr. Richard Reiser, Fr. Thomas Bauwens, Fr. David Korth, Fr. Jeff Zyla, Fr. Luke Steffes, Fr. William Bond, Fr. David Fulton, Fr. Tim Podraza, Fr. Tim Forgét, Fr. Gerald Melchior and Fr. Andy Phan have served the parish as associate pastors and Fr. Frank Baumert was in residence. Since the beginning of the parish, over 4000 people have been baptized and over 1250 couples have been married. The rich sacramental life of the parish has been continually supported and united our community.
St. Leo presently has about 1800 families. There are over 380 of our parish children attending St. Pius/St. Leo School and 280 in our religious education program. Each year around 10 people join the church through our RCIA program.
With the growth of west Omaha, there was a need for a new parish, so many of our parishioners helped found a new church, St. Vincent de Paul, in 1991. Because of the growth of our own parish, plans for the expansion of St. Leo had already begun in the spring of 1990. The new Religious Education Building was completed in August of 1992. This addition has provided great possibilities for the growth of our educational, social and ministry programs.