Saturday, February 22, 2014

St. Joseph Catholic Church, Boyd

Here are pictures of St. Joseph Church, in Boyd, Wisconsin.  This church is part of the All Saints Catholic Community of Boyd, Cadott, and Stanley.  St. Joseph’s is 189 road miles northwest of Madison's Cathedral Parish and the State Capitol.

For a small-town church, St. Joseph's has an impressive group of statues.  Most visible among these are on the high altar on either side of the Crucifix.  Click on any of these photos to view a larger version.

Left: St. Patrick, Bishop and Patron of Ireland  
Right: St. Boniface, Bishop, Martyr, and Patron of Germany

It is common practice in Catholic churches to have a pair of angels positioned on opposite sides of the tabernacle.  Equipped with modern day torches, they make a striking presence with the Christmas trees. These photos were taken on the third day of Christmas.

From the front altar.

A great effort to revive the beauty in these statues is taking place.  A parishoner has taken several of the fading statues and repainted them back to life.  Above are pictures of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, found in the church basement, from March 2012 (left) and December 2013 (right).  One can only hope this effort continues for all the statues in this church.  A look at the statue's base indicates that it was made by Daprato Statuary Company based in Chicago, which is still in business as Daprato Rigali Studios.

From what I have found, St. Joseph's is not known for having a dominant single ethnicity among its churchgoers.  Perhaps as a result, we see statues of French, German, Hungarian, Irish, and other saints spread throughout the church.

Though it is hard to tell, I believe this is St. Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian who aspired to the priesthood though he died before ordination.  Poland's St. Stanislaus Kostka has a similar history, but most artwork of St. Aloysius displays him carrying the Cross in addition to lilies, alluding to his practiced chastity.[1]  I chose to display this photo in grey scale as the sacristy window made conditions too bright to photograph in full color.

Infant of Prague

Easily the most curious statue display in the church.  In one of the steeples, a room stores the hidden statues of Saints Michael the Archangel, Vincent de Paul, Mary with her Immaculate Heart, and Catherine of Alexandria.  All of these statues are in various states of disrepair, but even with chipped paint and parts broken off, fine artistry is still evident.

Detail of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Queen of Egypt and Martyr.

St. Joseph and Child.

XII  Jesus dies on the cross 

Also impressive at St. Joseph's are the stained glass windows.  Again, the parish community picked an out-of-state company to bring these to life, now Emil Frei & Associates of St. Louis.  

Donated by Catholic Order of Foresters Sisters Court No. 1433

An unusual window in Midwestern churches perhaps; St. Margaret Mary Alacoque with Jesus, revealing His Sacred Heart.  This and other visions came to St. Margaret Mary in the 1670s, helping set the foundation for Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart to this day.[2]

View from the choir loft.

St. Joseph is also the home base for the All Saints parish school, seen to the left of the church.  After having schools open in Boyd, Cadott, and Stanley at various points, the Boyd school location (also named for St. Joseph) was selected to reopen to students at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.  In the church basement, which also doubles as the school cafeteria, old St. Joseph's School memorabilia make a colorful appearance.

St. Joseph Church, All Saints Catholic Parish

Many thanks to the parish Priest and Head of Maintenance who guided my visit and allowed me to photograph St. Joseph's.

Additional Sources

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

St. Agatha Catholic Church, St. Louis, Missouri

With today being St.Agatha's feast day, here is a trio of photos from St. Agatha Catholic Church in St. Louis, Missouri.  This Gothic Revival church building is one of many noteworthy churches in The Gateway City. 

The initials of St. Agatha sit above the main doors into the church.  As with many Gothic churches, buttresses are prevalent.  These ones are projecting somewhat unusually from the steeple in a diagonal fashion.

St. Agatha sits just a few blocks south of the Anheuser-Busch (that's Budweiser folks) brewery in the historic Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis.  Largely cut off from the more vibrant areas of the neighborhood's bar and restaurant scene, nineteenth century homes are still prevalent around the parish, making for a pleasant walking environment.  St. Agatha serves as the parish for Polish-language masses in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

St. Louis' historic wealth of impressive neighborhood catholic churches earned the city a noteworthy moniker as "Rome of the West."  Today, a lovely blog, Rome of the Westhas a lovely photo set and description of St. Agatha's which you can visit here.  The author of Rome of the West has done a fine job of photographing churches in and around the St. Louis metro area and his site is definitely worth a visit!

St. Agatha Church