Friday, June 24, 2005

Catholic Map of Missouri

The American Religion Data Archive web site has religion demographics down to the county level for the United States.

Here is a map of Missouri generated from that web site:


This map shows, by county, the percent of adherents to Catholicism for the year 2000, based on Census data.

Brown: 13% - 52%
Red: 6% - 13%
Orange: 4% - 6 %
Tan: 2% - 4%
Yellow: 0% - 2%

This map shows a remarkable reflection of centuries-old settlement trends. The counties adjacent to the Mississippi and lower Missouri Rivers were explored and settled by Catholic French and Spanish colonials in the 17th and 18th centuries and remain very Catholic to this day. These counties also make up the current Archdiocese of Saint Louis, and is well known for having a Catholic culture, unlike outstate Missouri.

When the United States purchased Louisiana in 1803, the westernmost permanent European settlement in Missouri was La Charrette, located in what is now southeastern Warren County. The Lewis and Clark Expedition journals describe this as a French villiage of five families. Warren County today marks the westernmost part of the Saint Louis area Catholicism north of the Missouri.

Later waves of immigrant Catholics tended to settle in existing Catholic areas, such as Saint Louis. But the first wave of German immigrants were drawn to the lower Missouri River valley, downstream from what is now Jefferson City, a region that resembles the Rhineland, and is very good for growing wine grapes. This region today has the beauty and manner of life that is reminiscent of good Catholic rural living.

Anglo-American settlers of the early 19th century, following the lead of Daniel Boone and his sons, tended to settle on the Missouri River more upstream from Jefferson City. This area was called the "Blue Country", and was one of the centers of large-scale slavery in Missouri (the other being the Southern-culture bootheel). Some Catholic missionary work was done in this area in the early 19th century, but it definitely does not have a Catholic culture today: this and the other outstate dioceses tend to keep a very low profile.

Even though the Ozarks, geographically speaking, extend all the way into Catholic Saint Louis County, the "cultural" Ozarks has very few Catholics and they do not make up a significant percentage of the already small population. Religion here is considered "conservative", but should rather be called "individualistic"; Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal groups are popular, but there are many far-from-the-mainstream groups. The main Catholic populations in the Ozarks were wiped out during the Civil War, which was exceptionally bloody in Missouri; many Catholics fled to Springfield and Saint Louis, but large numbers were lost, such as the settlers of the Irish Wilderness in Oregon County.

Northeastern Missouri had many Catholic settlers from Kentucky, these had good support from the missions.

Missouri outside of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis is still officially mission territory.

Photos of Saints Mary and Joseph Church

Saints Mary and Joseph Church will no longer have regular masses starting July 1st, due to the reorganization of the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This church, located in the historic Carondolet district of the City, will be available for weddings, funerals, and special occasions.

Facade and bell tower


School, side of church, and cornerstone


View of Carondolet and the Mississippi River from behind the church

Photos of Saint Mary of Victories Church

Saint Mary of Victories Church is the second oldest in Saint Louis, built in 1843, and is located just south of the Gateway Arch. This church will be available for weddings, funerals, and special occasions, having been a Hungarian language personal parish. It is surrounded by a gritty industrial area. For history of this church see this.


Facade and view of the Arch


Front door, side, and bell tower in back


Courtyard and side

Photos of Saint John Nepomuk

Saint John Nepomuk Church will close on July 1st as part of the reorganization of the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This historic Czech church will no longer hold weekly masses, but will be available for weddings, funerals, and other special occasions. This church is cut off from the rest of Soulard by Interstate 55, and many empty lots are nearby; however, much redevelopment and new construction is occuring within a few blocks of it. This church may be needed again in a few years.


Facade, front door, and spire


Side view and streetscape


School and detail above door



Bas relief of pastors and cornerstone

Photos of Saint Hedwig Church

Saint Hedwig Church will close on July 1st due to the reorganization of the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.


Facade and cornerstone


Rectory and school

Photos of Saint Aloysius Church

Saint Aloysius Church will be closing on July 1st as part of the reorganization of the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This church has a long history in the Italian 'Hill' neighborhood, one of the most stable areas of the City of Saint Louis. The good living found in this area of very modest homes is a reminder that material possessions are not the definition of 'wealth'.


Facade, front door, and side view



Hall


Rectory

Update: This church and all other buildings shown here have been destroyed.

Photos of Resurrection of Our Lord Church

Resurection of Our Lord Church is one of the churches to close on July 1st due to reorganization of the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This is an example of a Modernist church that predates the Second Vatican Council, having been built in 1952.

NOTE: At the last minute, this church became the home of the Vietnamese Catholic ministry, which was formerly at the nearby Saint Thomas of Aquin church. That latter church instead closed and is now a nondenominational congregation.


The bell tower


Main entrance to church; note the bapistry in front


Cornerstone and older school

Photos of Immaculate Conception / Saint Henry Church

Immaculate Conception / Saint Henry Church will be closing on July 1st, as part of the reorganization of the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This church has a magnificent limestone exterior, and was built in 1904, the year of the World's Fair.



Thursday, June 23, 2005

Photos of Holy Innocents Church

This is one of the churches closing July 1st in the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This church is situated on Kingshighway Boulevard, a major thoroughfare and is facing historic Tower Grove Park. It is a unique squared-off classical design of the kind that was popular until the advent of iconoclastic modernism.


Side and facade


Detail and steeple


Front doors and rectory

Photos of the Church of the Holy Family

Here are photos of one of the churches to be closed July 1st in the southside deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. The Church of the Holy Family is a beautiful, well-maintained granite building. Click on any photo for a larger version.



The facade and side


Front and side doors


School and rectory


Sides of the church