Photos: Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc.
St. Columban Catholic Church is one of the oldest and most historic
parishes in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Founded in 1857
by Fr. John Hogan, it soon became the hub from which many of the other surrounding parishes in north and north-central
Missouri were later
The current church was consecrated on November 23rd, 1879. By 1900,
the church was expanded to contain its transepts and apse. By 1913 side altars and murals were added.
Once completed St.
Columban's was considered one of the largest and most beautiful churches in northern Missouri.
The parish will celebrate its 160th anniversary in 2017.
Over the decades the parish interior has undergone many changes in design. While still overall beautiful by comparison, the
design of the church did not live up to the potential the building was originally meant to have. The state of the interior
had further been confounded by
years' worth of water damage to the ceiling and walls. In 2014,
the parish completed a replacement of the roof which had been a primary contributor to the problems inside. Though this important step was taken, the effects of the damage already done
were still evident in the cracked paint and damaged plaster walls which
were prevalent throughout the church.
I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her
husband... It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. (Rev. 1:2,11)
This vision recorded by St. John the Apostle is symbolic of the Church on earth, which is the new Jerusalem. This passage from scripture raises our minds to consider that just as the earthly Jerusalem held the Temple and
God's presence within, so our churches also contain God's Eucharistic presence in the tabernacle. They are meant to be a little piece of heaven come down to earth.
church's architect, Br. Adrian Wewer, incorporated both new and old elements of gothic architecture into its interior. Its pointed arches and high ceilings intentionally are meant to draw the eyes upward to contemplate heavenly
realities. The many images of the saints present in the church remind us to follow the example of these holy ones and ask their prayers for us so that we too may one day be in heaven with God and them.
With an appreciation in mind for the lofty ideal the church interior is meant to inspire, efforts have been made to restore some of the beauty and sacredness that has been lost over the decades. The new design scheme proposed
and adopted was heavily informed by the church's interior design at its height in 1913 while still incorporating some new elements. As such, it
paid fitting tribute to the vision of Br. Adrian and our ancestors whose hands piously raised this parish church to be a radiant testimony on earth to the splendor of God above.
included: Plaster Restoration, Painting, and Decorative
Numerous repairs to the current state of the walls and ceiling
were among the first steps taken. In an effort to help prevent any future damage from the exterior, present an ideal surface to work on, and add longevity to the decorative work fiberglass polymer
was added to the interior surface of the walls and ceiling after repairs
were made and before paint was applied. The design scheme used a pallet of neutral colors on the walls and ceiling in order to let the natural lines and architecture of the building become prominent to the eye. Historically-informed stencils of gold, green and red highlighted many of the arches and corners culminating in floral motifs. Two murals painted in 1913 by Theodore Brash
were cleaned and restored to their former beauty. The many tall columns of the church typical of Gothic architecture
were painted to resemble marble. Once again the historic altar rail
was re-positioned to a place of use at the opening of the sanctuary demarcating this Holy of Holies and accommodating those who wish to receive Holy Communion while kneeling in reverence.
To see the progress in detail, visit our Restoration
Progress page here...
(You may click to see a larger view.)
Donations may be
mailed or brought
to the church at St. Columban Catholic Church, 1111 Trenton
Street, Chillicothe, MO 64601. Please make
check payable to "St. Columban Campaign."
may be made here!
donation amounts: $25 $50 $100 $250
$500 $1,000 $2,500 $5,000 $10,000
If you would
like to make a donation using automatic withdrawal, please contact the parish office
at 660-646-0190. All donations are tax deductible by law and
will be acknowledged in writing.
If you have signed up for online giving, the merchant listed on your bank or credit card statement will be Vanco, not St. Columban Church. Vanco Payment Solutions securely manages our electronic payment transactions.
Oh St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal
Church, we place in you all our interests and desires. Assist us by your powerful
intercession and obtain for us from your Divine Son all the blessings necessary to successfully complete the restoration of this church.
St. Columban our patron, obtain for us the same wisdom, faith and love of God by which you overcame the obstacles that beset your path. Help us to live lives which glorify God that when our pilgrimage is over, we may share with you and all the saints in the joy of our heavenly home.
Download our brochure here as a PDF file (approximate 7.0MB file).
Brochure by: Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc.