St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church (St. Louis)
|St. Alphonsus Ligouri "Rock"
|Location||1118 N. Grand Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri
|Affiliation||Roman Catholic Church|
|Leadership||Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer|
|Architect(s)||Rev. Louis Dold, C.Ss.R.
Thomas Waryng Walsh (associate)
James Smith (associate)
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival|
|Direction of façade||West|
|Completed||1872, 1893 (spire)|
|Spire height||237 feet (72 m)|
St. Alphonsus Ligouri "Rock" Catholic Church is an historic, African-American, Roman Catholic church in St. Louis, Missouri. The church is a Gothic Revival structure and has a towering steeple, flanking spires, and an assortment of stained glass.
In 1861 St. Louis Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick invited the Redemptorists, a missionary congregation that was founded by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri in 1732, to establish a permanent presence in the city of St. Louis. The community accepted the invitation and lived in temporary housing until 1866 when they bought 3.5-acre (1.4 ha) at Grand and Cook Avenues. Ground for the church was broken on May 1, 1867 and the cornerstone was laid on November 3 of the same year by the Rev. Joseph Melchers, who was the vicar general of the archdiocese. The church's Gothic Revival design is attributed to the Rev. Louis Dold, C.Ss.R. working with St. Louis architects Thomas Waryng Walsh and James Smith. Construction on the church continued until 1872 and Philadelphia Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan dedicated the church that year. The church's spire, which reaches 237 feet (72 m), was completed in 1893.
The first Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine in the church was blessed on December 7, 1873 during the first public triduum under her name. The church ceased being a mission church in 1881 when it became a parish of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, although it remained under the pastoral care of the Redemptorists. The Redemptorists' St. Louis Province was headquartered in the residence from its founding until the mid 20th-century.
There were two noteworthy visitors to the community in the 19th-century. The year the property was bought in 1866 Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos visited while on a missionary preaching trip a year before his death. The Rev. Augustus Tolton, the first African-American Catholic priest, said mass for the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the convent’s chapel in 1887. The parish has grown over the years to become a predominant African-American church in St. Louis.
The church was struck by lightning on August 16, 2007, sparking a fire that damaged the roof and leading to water damage when the fire was put out. Repairs commenced in fall 2007, and the church reopened in Spring 2009.
- "Saint Alphonsus Liguori Church". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "Historical Mileposts". St. Alphonsus Ligouri "Rock" Catholic Church. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- Hewes Toft, Carolyn. "Thomas Waryng Walsh (1826-1890)". Landmarks-St. Louis. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- Jeremy Kohler. "Fire guts 'Rock' Church." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 17, 2007. Page C1.
- Tom Weber. "Repairs to begin on St. Alphonsus." KWMU. October 15, 2007.
- St. Alphonsus "Rock" Catholic Church homepage
- Photos of Saint Alphonsus Liguori Church
- Faherty, William Barnaby; Abeln, Mark Scott (2009). Catholic St. Louis: A Pictorial History. St. Louis, Mo: Reedy Press. p. 176. ISBN 1-933370-83-1.