Thursday, March 08, 2007

Photos of Immaculate Conception Church, in Columbia, Illinois

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Immaculate Conception Church, in Columbia, Illinois, of the Diocese of Belleville. The church is in Monroe County, and is about 15 highway miles south of downtown Saint Louis, Missouri.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - exterior

Columbia gets its name from the poetical name for the United States, which comes from Christopher Columbus.

The church is on Columbia's Main Street, which is lined with attractive 19th century architecture. The area to the west has new, extensive tract housing and a number of large strip malls. Columbia is located just above the flood plain of the Mississippi River, and so is near large, open farms which gives the area a rural feel. However, it is just three miles from the Jefferson Barracks Bridge to the densely populated Saint Louis County.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - golden cross on spire

Golden cross atop the spire.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - nave

This church is named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception. Father Jacques Marquette, S.J., who explored this area with Louis Joliet in the 17th century, dedicated his missionary work among the Indians to the Virgin under that title. He named the nearby river, now called the Mississippi, the Immaculate Conception River.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - sanctuary

The sanctuary decorated for Lent.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - lectionary and tabernacle

Lectionary and tabernacle, where we find the Word of God.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - crucifix

Crucifix over the tabernacle.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA -  Blessed Virgin Mary with the Christ Child

Blessed Virgin Mary with the Christ Child.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - view of side of nave

View to the side of the church.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - 6th Station of the Cross, Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil

VIth Station of the Cross. "Consider the compassion of the holy woman, Veronica. Seeing Jesus in such distress, His face bathed in sweat and blood, she presented Him with her veil. Jesus wiped His face, and left upon the cloth the image of his sacred countenance."

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - pipe organ

The pipe organ.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - Window with Christ and the Eucharist

Window with Christ and the Eucharist.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - Stained glass in the front door into the nave

Stained glass in the front door into the nave.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - new church drawings

Columbia, Illinois is quickly become a suburb of Saint Louis, with tremendous growth in business and new housing, making this current church too small for the local flock. Here are drawings of the new proposed church. The current church seats about 375, the proposed church about 1000.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Columbia, Illinois, USA - sign with Mass times
Immaculate Conception
Catholic Church

Weekend Masses:
Saturday 5:00 PM
Sunday 7,9, & 11 AM
From the church's website is the parish history:
The history of Immaculate Conception Parish begins with the arrival of German immigrants into Monroe County. The first pioneers arrived here in 1783 and by June of 1816 they established Monroe County. The number of Catholics in this first German immigration was relatively small, but their numbers were to increase significantly from 1840 to 1860. Imagine that in 1852 there were only eight priests in Southern Illinois.

Around 1835-1840 Catholics in Columbia worshiped at St. Thomas church in the area now called Millstadt. This was a seven-mile trip for Mass without the benefit of the automobile. Soon enough a priest was sent to conduct services in various locations in this area including homes. But this eventually proved to be inadequate and a more permanent solution was sought to deal with the growing number of worshipers.

In 1846 Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, was designated “Patroness of the United States” and so it seemed fitting that the new parish to be established in Columbia, founded in 1846, be dedicated to Mary Immaculate, and so it was. In 1850 land was acquired on the edge of town for use as a parish cemetery, and Fr. Arnold Pinkers of Belgium became the first resident pastor. The parish continued to grow so that by 1863 new land was purchased for the construction of a new, larger church, which was completed in 1867. The first church building was converted into a school and the Ursuline Sisters of Kentucky were given charge of it in 1874. In 1888, 42 years after its founding, Immaculate Conception Parish, which previously was part of the Diocese of Alton, came under the jurisdiction of the newly-formed Diocese of Belleville.

As time went on the parish found the resources necessary to perform various improvements to the church interior, build a separate residence for the sisters who taught in the school as well as construct a new rectory. In 1921 a new modern brick school building was constructed as the old church, which had been remodeled and enlarged several times to serve as a school, became entirely inadequate. By 1927 a new addition to the church began to take shape, which nearly doubled the length of the building. The re-dedication took place on labor Day of 1928. By 1944, in preparation for the centennial celebration of the parish, work began on the redecoration of the church interior. At the close of one hundred years there were 240 households in the parish and 130 children in the parish school.
Address:
117 East Madison Street
Columbia, Illinois 62236

5 comments:

  1. Horror! Yet another very pretty church slated for jettisoning. That new one looks appropriately sterile and generic for the typical n.o.

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  2. When the current Immaculate Conception was built, it was always brick. When they put the additions onto the church, the brick did not match the original. So they stuccoed the church, to make it look like a limestone church, and added some decorative work to the facade. To view a photo of stuccoed exterior go to : http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilmonroe/churches/centennial.html then you can click on the picture to make it bigger. I live about nine miles south in Waterloo, member of Ss.Peter and Paul Parish, and have been to ICC for several weddings and is beautiful when the lights are on. These photos make the church look dingy and dirty.

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  3. "These photos make the church look dingy and dirty."

    Ouch. The church is not at all dirty and dingy. I try to make the color rendition accurate to real life, but if you look at the various photos you can see that the color is not consistently shown in the photos.

    I'm now using different software for processing the photos: the older pictures (including these) look better on a Mac, while the newer ones should look better on a Windows PC.

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  4. Picture of ICC interior 1903-1904

    http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilmonroe/churches/1903_04_parish.html

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  5. There are nice details in this church, but the altar looks "wrong". The two, highly placed windows indicate that the original altar that was against the wall (likely Gothic) had a high back that reached to the sky. All visual elements on the wall, including the windows, were interconnected. Design elements were added to fill in the space left when the original altar was removed, but the overall effect is odd. The new altar seems less a focal point than the old one would have. Better to have left the old altar intact, and placed the new one before it, as was done in many churches. That old altar was the focal point of this church, and the church was essentially designed around it.

    ReplyDelete