Wherein the reader is directed to click a link and be edified.

A reader forwarded me something which was forwarded to him which was reposted by NLM which was from the St. Louis Dispatch, about a church renovation Memphis… Tennessee, not Egypt.

Apart from obvious merits of my sender, or the esteemed talents of his sender, or the praiseworthy characteristics of NLM or the professional achievements of the paper, the curiosity this startling news should arouse in you will be rewarded, should you determine that the aforementioned article is not to be bypassed in favour of any other pressing though ephemeral distraction, with the reading of a succinct paragraph which includes an unlikely triplet of words that could only have been penned by one such as that bicentenarian wordsmith Charles Dickens, perhaps as the introductory title of a chapter:

The pastor, Msgr. John McArthur was very instrumental in the redesign. Victor Buchholz, of the firm of Looney Ricks Kiss in Memphis, was the principal architect.

Believe me when I say that I remain, dear readers, your most humble, devoted, etc.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. asophist says:

    The new renovations make the church look infinitely more Catholic! I can think of many modern churches that would benefit from a similar treatment. Kudos to the pastor and parishioners!

  2. michele says:

    Looney Ricks and Kiss design traditional style homes and are proponents of Neo-Urbanism. I’ve always been a fan of theirs.

  3. Frank H says:

    Curious to further investigate and, expectantly, to admire the work of this Dickensian-named firm, I availed myself of a momentary glance upon their website. Disappointment arose within as, with a certain dismay, I learnt they have not seen fit to display their recent work on this fine house of worship!

  4. AnAmericanMother says:

    Excellent renovation, and proportional within the space.

    For more on firm names, such as the banking house of Cheatham and Steele, see the following compendium: Remarkable Names of Real People.

    I have the honour to be your high worthiness’s very humble servant,

  5. Fr PF says:

    On remarkable names, one of the best is the old Sligo (Ireland) legal firm Argue and Phibbs.

  6. NoTambourines says:

    Frank H– I think those are pictures of it at the NLM link (scroll down through the article). And wow!

    I know there are always bigger fish to fry (not just on Lenten Fridays) in a parish budget, but just to see that such retrofitting can be done is very, very cool.

  7. mamajen says:

    I have to admit that I have a difficult time concentrating during mass at times because I have an architecture degree, and this is the kind of thing I daydream about when I’m in a particularly ugly church. Wonderful to see that someone has actually done it. And maybe this would be a good niche for me someday when I’m done raising kiddos.

  8. Jason says:

    Wonderfully done. As asophist said, “infinitely more Catholic.” An altar rail would have been perfect. Perhaps in “phase II?” Tip of the hat to Msgr. McArthur and the folks at St. Louis Catholic Church.

  9. pfreddys says:

    Very nice! But by the way you wrote the introduction I thought you were setting us up for some modernist chamber of horrors!

  10. Not bad before the renovation. Afterwards, WOW!

  11. Gail F says:

    They seem to go by LRK. I would!
    When I worked in Harrisburg, PA, for a summer I used to pass a law firm called Hayes, Large, Suckling, Fruth & Wedge. Is that a great name or what? That was about 28 years ago but I just Googled them — they’re still around!

  12. Eric says:

    Is Mr. Thomas Pinch the organist?

  13. ChronicSinner says:

    I am a member of Blessed Sacrament parish here in Memphis, which is a 100 year old parish in Midtown Memphis that celebrates the TLM every Sunday at 8:30. At the risk of horning in on St. Louis’ acclaim…I would encourage anyone in Memphis or the surrounding area, to come check out Blessed Sacrament if they are interested in a very holy TLM experience, as it becomes Mantilla Nation on Sunday mornings (the NO Mass is well done as well).

    But concerning St. Louis, I do go to St. Louis parish at least weekly for Adoration, as they have a 24 hour Perpetual Adoration Chapel (which unfortunately, was closed New Year’s Eve), and had the opportunity to see the transformation unfold over the past 6 months. Quite a change and very impressive! Another good thing about St. Louis is, that they keep the Sanctuary open almost 24/7 just as they do the Adoration Chapel, and it’s nice to be able to have access to the Sanctuary to do Stations of the Cross whenever you want. They also renovated each of the 14 Stations and they are also well done. If only they could jettison the awful pop music they play at their 6 pm Sunday Mass…simply awful…and instruct some of their parishioneers on proper Mass attire (once saw a guy wear a golf hat during Mass there) to go along with their renovations….an altar rail and TLM would also be nice, but gotta start somewhere….brick by brick!

  14. tealady24 says:

    They have definitely made the altars works of art! They are sublimely Catholic now. Much improved over the Protestant “look” so many churches opt for.

  15. Cordovajim says:

    Fr. Z –
    I went to mass at St. Louis Monday at noon. The change / improvement is stunning. This is what a Catholic church should look like!
    Cordova, Tn.

  16. irishgirl says:

    I saw the pictures over at NLM-wow, what a difference!
    ‘Looney Ricks and Kiss’-oh, my goodness, what a funny name!
    AnAmericanMother-have you heard of the radio talk show, ‘Car Talk’? It’s on [sorry to say] NPR. These guys are a riot, though; when they do their closing credits, they use hilarious names. One is ‘Dewey, Cheetum & How’.
    But I’ll have to look at the link you provided-I need a laugh this gloomy rainy morning!

  17. Dubya Ay-See says:

    In Savannah, there is a Welsh Pawn Shop and a Hassell Realty Co. Also, there is a third-generation locksmith who is named Houdini Bradley (after the greatest lock-breaker of all time.)

  18. Centristian says:

    In my neck of the woods we have the Amigone Funeral Home. And yes, it is pronounced that way.

    I’m always fascinated by the magnificent renovations of these unfortunate structures; it’s really just amazing what they can do sometimes. The California missions provide a good lesson for what to do with church interiors that are rather less than remarkable: if you glorify the sanctuary adequately enough the rest of the church can look like a barn, yet the whole building will seem magnificent.

  19. thefeds says:

    Fr. Z,

    Unless I am very much mistaken, this Architectural Firm is represented by the legal firm of Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe.


  20. RichardT says:

    I always liked the retirement home with the address St Peter’s Close.

    A timely warning for the inabitants, I suppose.

    In case people don’t believe me:

  21. Winfield says:

    Though I am sadly late in coming to this excellent post, I would call your attention to the fact that, upon first reading your words, Fr. Z., I thought–though I am sure this was a mistaken impulse on my part–that you might be satirizing the style of a certain blogger, who shall of course remain unnamed, who is, in turn, perhaps at times known for composing rather long (though we would not say uninformed) sentences on matters of interest to this reading community, and whose style does indeed at times cause me, as an editor, to work rather hard in stifling a primordial scream.

  22. In our neck of the woods, we had Butt & Head. But now it’s just Butt Construction Co.

  23. TNCath says:

    I made a visit to St. Louis Church on Christmas evening just to see the renovation, and it is definitely amazing. Incidentally, this was the parish where now-Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle was pastor when he was named Bishop of Little Rock. Kudos to Msgr. John B. McArthur for this stunning improvement!

  24. mc mike says:

    Winfield: well done sir. I commend that paragraph, and all of its facetiousness(which may or may not be a word). I also find it hard, given my state in life and proximity to a computer(not an excuse, but merely an explanation), to not be painfully aware of the blog of which you speak.

  25. Tony Layne says:

    @ Winfield:

    One of the perils of blogging: editors don’t make house calls.

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