HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Paul Church, in Highland, Illinois. This modernist church, built in 1951, is in the Diocese of Springfield. It is located in Madison County, about 32 highway miles east of downtown Saint Louis. I took these photos in April of this year, during Lent.
According to the church's website:
The Catholic Parish of Highland, IL is but a few years younger than Highland itself. In December 1843, the Catholics in and around Highland (a village of 60 families) decided to build a frame church. The cornerstone was laid on May 1, 1844 and was ready for occupancy in 1846. In 1854, a new brick church was built and on Easter Sunday, 1856, the first services were held. In 1951, the second church was raised to make room for a much needed larger church with a seating capacity of 800. On October, 12, 1952, the dedication of the present church was held. Through the years, St. Paul’s has grown to meet the needs of its congregation. Today, the parish serves more than 5,000 area Catholics.Until 1843, this area was in the Diocese of Saint Louis, under Bishop Joseph Rosati, C.M. When the original church was completed, it was a part of the new Diocese of Chicago. The parish's fifth priest, Fr. Joseph Meckel, wrote an early history of the church, in German.
St. Paul School System provides Catholic education of children from pre-school through eight grade. The current grade school was constructed in 1956, with a major renovation in 1993. In 2009 a restoration project relocated the tabernacle and crucifix to behind the altar.
In 1995, the former St. Paul High School was renovated to better serve St. Paul Parish. The building is now used for the Religious Education Program, meetings, parish gatherings, gymnasium, and cafeteria.
Saint Paul's is one of the largest parishes in the Diocese, with four Sunday Masses and about 5300 members in 1800 families.
According to the Highland Historical Society:
Highland, Illinois is one of the oldest Swiss settlements in the United States. It was founded in 1831 by Swiss pioneers from Sursee, Switzerland. Led by Dr. Kasper Koepfli, the party formed the settlement of New Switzerland on October 14, 1831. Our city has shared the title of "Sister City" with the town of Sursee, Switzerland, since 1976. The name Highland was chosen in 1836 when General Joseph Semple convinced the settlers the area resembled his native homeland of Scotland.
The sanctuary decorated for Lent.
The tabernacle, which shows the Holy Spirit as a dove descending, along with the Eucharistic symbols of wheat and grapes; on the base is the pious pelican, which feeds its starving young by piercing its breast with its beak, as a symbol of Christ's self-sacrifice.
The church's patron is Saint Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles. This window shows Saint Paul's occupation as a tentmaker. He is also shown holding the sword of his martyrdom. Note the quill and book, representing Paul's many epistles.
The conversion of Saint Paul. Christ asked Paul, “why are you persecuting me?” The windows here show a sailboat, symbolizing Paul's extensive missionary voyages.
Christological symbols in the windows: the Greek Ichthys or fish on the left, an early symbol of Christ; and the ball and crosses and crown representing Christ the King. On the far right is a station of the cross: Christ in the tomb.
The church's cornerstone.
AMDG is an abbreviation of the Latin ad majorem Dei gloriam, “for the greater glory of God”.
The parish hall.
The church is well-known for its annual Kirchenfest, or church festival, to be held on August 27 and 28, 2011.
1412 Ninth Street
Highland, Illinois 62249