Brick By Brick: A church gets a make over

Some parish churches are victims of awful post-Conciliar, faithless wreckovation. Some are awful because of budget problems when they were being constructed. Some are just plain awful.

There’s hope.

A priest friend of mine has given a make over to his church, St. Mary’s in Independence, MO. I was in that church a couple years ago. It needed work.

17_02_21_makeover_01And now…


It can be done!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pigeon says:

    The top pic is by now means awful (meaning, I’ve seen a lot worse), but it is dull, dreary, and drab. It is what liberals claim the bottom picture to be. The renovated church is more full of hope and life, which is what liberals claim to top picture to be.

  2. Pigeon says:

    “The top pic is by now means awful (meaning, I’ve seen a lot worse)”

    I mean to say “by no means awful…”

  3. HighMass says:

    I will go to the Altar of God!

  4. Our Pastor did the very same thing at our parish. It is like walking into Heaven.

  5. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    Fiat lux…

  6. Kerry says:

    One hopes most of the project was funded by the sale of the rare Klingon chandelier.

  7. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Items from the era of Klingon Imperial Empire are so hot right now.

  8. rtjl says:

    A beautiful makeover. The renovated church is still simple, but also elegant, and so much more aesthetically satisfying.

    Why can’t we have beautiful churches? Beauty doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. But it does require some thought and some care.

  9. mike cliffson says:

    Like. ++
    I very much like the SIZE of the stations of the cross.and they look like a favourite , lightly coloured basrelief. I may be a minority having had pebble glass glasses reaching double figure diopters in puberty , later ops, etc dainty decorative plate size , even without minimalist figures ,doesn’t do it for me .
    Quibble : Actual stations as a devotion, lents acoming , it looks as if they are too low on the wall to what I ´ve been accustomed to all my life, ABOVE the heads of circulating clergy, servers, stray faithful, etc.

  10. L. says:

    I often think about what I will do when we get a pastor who want to raise money to beautify our parish church, which was ugly when it was built, then was remodeled expensively to be hideous. It will be hard to donate even to improvement efforts since, as we see all to often, the improvements will last only until the next new yahoo starts the wrecking again.

  11. JimGB says:

    To rtjl’s point, sometimes the beauty is already there, but has been covered up, paneled, or painted over and is just waiting to be exposed again.. My own church (100+ years old), which thankfully escaped a massive wreckovation for the most part, uncovered some gorgeous original decorative stenciling work , including latin inscriptions, that had been covered with drab beige paint in an effort toward “simplicity” after Vatican II.

  12. hwriggles4 says:

    In quite a few larger southern cities today, the approach is to build a “worship center” that will contain the sanctuary. Over time, the Church will grow and a permanent sanctuary will be constructed, with funding from mostly parishioners. The “worship center” will more than likely become the Parish hall, along with office space, Meeting rooms, and classrooms after the permanent sanctuary is finished.

    Does this approach work? Well, it saves money in the beginning, but IMHO and from experience, it makes the parishioners responsible for funding the construction. While some of these “worship centers” have a sanctuary that looks like a Church, others are empty spaces and look like Our Lady of the Atrium.

    I will say in my diocese over the past 15 years, many of the permanent sanctuaries are designed and constructed like Churches and not like Bank buildings, which is a positive, particularly when compared to a Parish not far from me that was built in 1990 and looks atrocious in the round, no kneeled so, tabernacle outside, looks like a cave inside.

    Last month, I visited the Austin Diocese, and attended Mass with a few college friends at a beautiful newer parish with a domestic, statues, tabernacle visible up front, kneelers, etc. It looks like building committees and diocesan officials are trying to bring back the basics – and the importance of a Sacred Space.

  13. Maynardus says:

    A little money can go a long way… the new (or restored) sacred art is a YUUGE improvement, but the painting and stenciling alone make a great difference. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

    With regard to the comment by “L”, viz. “the improvements will last only until the next new yahoo starts the wrecking again”, we Catholics need to get a little savvy. When you donate funds for a project near and dear to your heart, make the gift with two stipulations: first, that the money is being given specifically and solely for… whatever: “the 14k gilding of the thirty-three large metric acorn nuts used to install the antique communion rail in the parish church of St. Ipsydipsy”, clearly specifying that it is to be used for no other purpose, and returned otherwise. Second, that the parish accepts the gift with the intention that the project being accomplished/built/installed/restored is to be a permanent part of the church in perpetuity, and if for any reason it is in fact reversed/modified/removed the donated funds will revert to you or your heirs.

    The first part is fairly easy, but the second part may need to go “downtown” to be approved by the chancery or even the bishop, depending upon a number of factors (including the pastor’s testicular fortitude!) . Consult an attorney, and keep the pastor in the loop so that he is not blindsided – he needs to know that it’s not him you’re worried about, it’s his successor or e.g. the diocesan liturgical commission!

    Sad that we’ve gotten to this point, but it’s one way to protect against getting fooled again!

  14. tskrobola says:


  15. Absit invidia says:

    This gives me a little bit of hope.

  16. PA mom says:


    That is the kind of beauty that lifts up our hearts to the Lord!

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