Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Photos of Most Sacred Heart Church in Eureka, Missouri

Here are photos of Most Sacred Heart church, in Eureka, Missouri, located about 27 highway miles southwest of downtown Saint Louis, Missouri. It is located in Saint Louis County.

This church was dedicated in 2001 and was, as far as I know, the first contemporary Catholic church in the area to be built, at least partially, according to tradition, although the interior arrangement is more post-Conciliar.

The church prominently sits on a hill adjacent to Interstate 44 to the north, and overlooks the rolling Ozark hills of the Meramec River valley to the south.

The nave is in the form of a Tau cross, with the sanctuary located within the transept. Flanking the sanctuary is the baptistery to the left, and the Blessed Sacrament tabernacle to the right.

The bulk of the pews directly face the crucifix and altar, although there are limited number of pews that face the altar from the sides.

The contemporary style of sanctuary.

This church was built during the era of Art and Environment in Catholic Worship, the non-binding guidelines put forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on church design, which was influential in promoting Modernism in church design.

The most common features of this style include a walk-around altar, pews on more than one side of the altar, and no communion rail.

The trend of bringing the altar closer to the worshipers had started as far back as the Counter-Reformation. But early churches were more modeled after the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, with a hierarchy of the sacred, and with the Holy of Holies reserved to the High Priest.

However, in former practice, daily communicants would often attend weekday Mass around a side-altar, exceeding even progressive norms for closeness.

Sculptural crucifixion scene, behind the altar.

I've heard that statuary came from the now-closed Saint Liborius church, "the cathedral of the north side" of Saint Louis.

Tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament.

Stained glass windows of Christ with the little children and the washing of the feet.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Behind the statue is the large narthex, which is a common feature in contemporary churches; many newer churches do not have halls, which in older churches in the Saint Louis area are often located in the basement under the nave.

This particular church is built on top of a hill of solid limestone, where there is insufficient depth of soil to dig a basement. This is a common problem in the Ozark hills: the soils are very thin. In the eastern part of Saint Louis County, and in the City, the soil is thick and basements are nearly universally found in buildings.

The baptismal font is in the foreground, of octagonal form with the Trinitarian formula in Latin. In the background is the repository of the holy oils.

Saint Joseph and the Christ child.

A line of angels guard the entrance from the large narthex.

Between the church and school is a courtyard, beautifully planted with flowers and featuring two fountains.


350 East Fourth Street
Eureka, MO 63025


  1. It's modern but really beautiful (needs only some modifications)

  2. Nice Church, AKA West County Cathedral

  3. As a member of this parish I can Honestly say, " what a beautiful church." Really to bad that beauty is sometime taken for granted as the case with this church.