Greetings from St. Columban Catholic Church
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Saint Columban, Patron Saint >>
Parish Connection to Hedrick Medical Center >>
General Catholic Church History (Father Ryan Koster) >>

In June of 1857, Father John Hogan founded St. Columban Parish in Chillicothe, Missouri, with 12 families. The first permanent church building was dedicated on May 17, 1860; and, the current St. Columban Catholic Church was blessed on November 23, 1879. Today, we have 1,091 parishioners in 464 families and invite you to join us for our celebration of Mass.

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The original St. Columban's Church, a small, frame structure located in the southern part of Chillicothe, Missouri, was built in 1858 and served the Catholics of Chillicothe for many years. When Fr. Francis Moenning, the first Franciscan Father to serve Chillicothe, arrived in 1878 to assume his parish duties, he quickly decided that the location of the little church was undesirable and that the building itself was too small to accommodate the growing number of Catholics. So, on December 23, 1878, he purchased all of Block 2 of Hammond's Addition from S. Fisher Johnson and his wife, Sara, for the sum of $550. This block lay just across Trenton Street from the Convent-Academy of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The architecture of St. Columban's was to be a combination of both old and new Gothic forms. Pointed arches, which lead the eyes upward to heaven, and high, vaulted ceilings were two characteristics of Gothic form used throughout the church. When the church was originally built in 1879, it was intended only to serve the needs of the 150 families in the congregation at the time and was built for only $12,000. The reddish-colored bricks were purchased from a local brick plant, and native stone for the foundation was hauled by horses and wagons from Utica, Missouri, by the Bonderer family. The cornerstone was laid May 25, 1879, by the Most Rev. John Joseph Hogan, the Bishop of St. Joseph's Diocese. The new church was dedicated on November 23, 1879.

Click on image to enlarge.
Church Interior to enlarge (11914 bytes)
Interior of St. Columban's in 1893
before the sanctuary and transept were added.

Shortly after St. Columban's was completed, a wooden frame rectory was built directly behind the church. In 1892, the present rectory was built, and the old rectory was torn down to make way for the needed addition to the church. By 1894, the parish had increased to 250 families, and the need for more space was evident. The transept, sanctuary, and sacristy were added. St. Columban's Church was now considered one of the largest and most beautiful churches in northern Missouri.

St. Columban's Church and congregation in 1896

Church and congregation in 1896. (27068 bytes)

St. Columban's Church received continuous improvements during the next 29 years. The streets in the vicinity of the church were in poor condition; and, to improve them, in 1927, the parish had many streets in the area paved. These street improvements were completed in time for the Golden Jubilee Celebration of St. Columban's Church in 1929. A new floor for the sanctuary and new lights in the church in 1932 continued to add beauty to the church. The tall steeple on top of the bell tower received a damaging blow by lightning and had to be repaired. In 1937, lightning struck again, and the steeple had to be removed.

Here is an image of a painting of the church
as it appeared with the steeple in 1896.

A Historic Morning
Constitution-Tribune, Friday, June 12, 2009
Many members of St. Columban's Catholic Church, as well as interested local citizens, spent about two hours on Trenton Road this (Friday) morning to watch employees from Hausman Metal Works and Roofing, of St. Joseph, Mo., install a 25-foot tall copper clad steeple and spire on the St. Columban Catholic Church. The work began with the arrival of the steeple in town at around 10 a.m. and the steeple and spire was attached to the church by the noon ringing of the bells. The $200,000 project has been in the making for the last several years and was made possible, church officials say, through the generous donations of church members in a capital projects campaign, as well as two $50,000 gifts to the church from the estates of two parish families.

C-T Photo/Laura Schuler

Read the complete press release with many more photos here >>

While looking at the existing $41 million medical center complex in north Chillicothe, it may be difficult to imagine that Chillicothe's first hospital began in a small house a few blocks northeast of St. Columban's Catholic Church. St. Mary's Hospital, believed to be Chillicothe's first hospital, was completed in the late 1800s and was started by the Sisters of St. Mary. Livingston County History, published by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program in 1981, stated that Sisters of St. Mary had visited Chillicothe previously requesting donations for a hospital in St. Louis and Father Hugo, pastor of St. Columban's Catholic Church, had convinced them there was a need for a hospital in this city. They purchased a lot at Eleventh and Broadway for $2,334. The first patient was admitted on May 17, 1889. Read more of the interesting history of our Hedrick Medical Center. > > Here

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St. Columban Catholic Church 1111 Trenton Street, Chillicothe, MO  64601
Phone: 660-646-0190

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