Monday, November 21, 2005

Annunciation Church, Kansas City, Missouri

The reader who tipped me off to St. Francis Seraph also suggested I drive by Annunciation Church at 31st and Benton. This church, dedicatd in October 1903, isn't a large one by height (as with Holy Name) or length (as with St. Vincents) but it appears to have a large, wide nave and very big transcrepts.
Obviously, towers were planned (or at least allowed for). The stained glass is gone, but I couldn't see inside. I had to jump a small chain link fence and pull away the weeks to get a shot of the cornerstone, which reads as follows:

(Alpha Chi-Rho Omega)
DEO
TRINC ET UNO
Ut BVM de ANNUNCIATIONE
Culiel Sacero
FECIT
Operis Faciendi Laridem Aussilialem
Rite Ditatum Manu
IN JESU
Pontifex Joanus
10 Octob AD MCMIII


(My Latin is so limited, that I'm not going to embarrass myself by attempting a translation).

I'm told that this church was (in the first round of closings) the surviving church for the merged parishes of Annunciation, Holy Name and St. Vincent's, and that it was subsequently closed itself in the mid-1990s. I don't know whether the merged parish was "Annunciation" or if it was rededicated as something else.

Obviously, though currently vacant, the building has been in recent use (i.e., in the last decade, given that there is air conditioning equipment jutting out here and there (and marring the lines of the building). Does anyone have any information that's more specific than this? I've also attached the cornerstone of the parish school, which is of much more recent construction--1960s or 1970s. It appears the school me still be in use for some purpose.
Please share details if you have them!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 17, 2006.

Well, nobody shared any details, so I had to do my own research again. Annunciation was created out of St. John Francis Regis parish on May 25, 1872. At its founding, it was the third parish in Kansas City. After meeting in an empty store at 12th and Wyoming for a few months, a frame church was built (in 7 days!) at 14th and Wyoming. In 1880 they built a brick church adjacent to it at a cost of $40,000. In 1898, the facilities at 14th and Wyoming were bought by the railroad, and the parish was reestablished in what was then the countryside. The boundaries were 27th Street to the north and Brooklyn to the West, with no southern or eastern boundaries. Ground was broken on the new church in November 1902, and construction on what was to be a $75,000 church began in earnest in 1903, but work was intermittent due to money shortages. It it wasn't dedicated until in 1924, and the debt wasn't paid until 1946. The original plan for the church did, in fact, include towers that were never built, as I surmised back in November. Below you can see a rendering of what the church might have looked like if fully executed.

The stained glass windows (now removed) were made in Austria and installed in 1924. A magnificent altar (donated by Jim Pendergast) and baldachino (designed by Deprato Service and Rigalicograced the church, which was still open at the time This Far by Faith, vol II was published. Here's the description of the baldachino, at pages 111-12:
An extraordinary feature of the church was the baldacchino. It was basically a dome ofver the altar supported on four pillars. It is described as follows: "The baldachono propert is 34 feet in height to the top of its high-flung Cross; the width over all is 21 feet. There are four massive columns of Paonazza Scagliola mounted upon bases of Italian marble made resplendent with panels in Breccia Rossa. These handsome Scagliola monoliths support a richly ornamental cornice upon which rests the canopy artistically executed in conformity with the architectural style of the church. A beautiful ceiling of gold and colored mosaic, pure oriental in type, is seen from below.
My sources tell me that the altar and baldachino are still in place and intact, which is delightful news, considering the awful things that happened to the interiors of other churches nearby (i.e., Holy Trinity). I have to guess that the liturgical vandals from the Helmsing/Sullivan era couldn't raise enough money in the poor parish to wreck it and haul off all that marble.

In 1975, Annunciation, Holy Name, and St. Vincent merged. The Annunciation parish plant was the site of the new Church of the Risen Christ. The Church of the Risen Christ featured such events as "'Stations," [] a liturgica drama characterized by dance, dialogue and music as the congregation moves in reflection on the traditional 14 movements of the Station of the Cross," a theatre company, and an anniversary celebration in 1979 featuring preaching by Rev Emmanuel Cleaver (yes, that's the heretical minister who's now, unfortunately, our Congressman, not a Catholic priest). The Spirit of Vatican II couldn't sustain the parish, however, and sometime in the 1990s, the parish was supressed and the remnant in the pew was packed off to yet another church.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe this is the church and school I attended in the mid 50's as a young boy. Additionally I was also an altar boy and served the priest during mass. There should be stations' of the cross all around the interior of the church. And an area to the right of the altar where the priest and altar boys would dress in the ritual clothing.

Executive Assistant said...

The church is now owned by The Hope Center. www.hopecenterkc.org. It is currently not in use except for the occasional wedding (it is so beautiful inside still.) The stations of the cross are gone and all of the stained glass windows were sold when the Catholic church left in the 90's. It is a very old building and needs a lot of work, but we are in the process of applying for grants to restore this beautiful building to what it once was. The school that is next to the church is The Hope Center's main camups. Please visit our website for more information on our vision and our mission in the community. Thank you for this information on our church.

executiveassistant@hopecenterkc.org

Anonymous said...

I attended Annunciation Grade School during the late 40s. It was a converted 6 or 8 flat apt. building in which each of the grades were taught. At that time
7th and 8th grades were combined, so when you entered 7th grade, you were graduated into 9th grade at the end of the school year. I then attended Central Jr. High School as a Freshman. Many fond memories at Annunciation and part of the best education I ever received. I also attended Benton Grade School on and off from 4th grade on. When I went to Benton from Annunciation, I was put up a grade. When I went back to Annunciation, they assigned me a tutor to catch up to the grade I had been in Benton. I was graduated from High School at 15, thanks to both schools.

Linda Sue said...

Hello, I also attended this church in 1957, the stations of the cross were there, like annonymous said, I was in 3rd grade at the school. I loved midnite mass.I learned latin and sang in the choir. My time there was a mix of fun and woe. Life was hard for me and my Mom. But God is good and full of Love and Grace.Amen

Linda Sue said...

God Bless you annonymous, I may know you. Im 66 yrs, but know longer live in K.C. I finally live on a farm farther south in Mo. O thank God! I was only there a yr 1/2.

Linda Sue said...

people I knew, Mary Mendenhall, Phyllis Cason, Susan Bustemente(sp) the nuns werent nice, only one was good to me(I was a messed-up kid)a Linda Stroebel(sp),we had fun, we(I)got into trouble because I had the hick-ups at church service one time, it echoed in the church,we giggled, oops cant do that, I was abusively yanked out of the row.

Linda Sue said...

Hi I thought of another person, child, I remember, John Perez, I thinks thats his name. anybody else remembers personal things. just wondering. I guess no one is on this site any more. O well, I had fun giving info on past. take care, Jesus is Lord.

cc said...

I attended Annunciation in the early 50s. I remember being shipped to a different school for one year due to construction maybe??

mawellsheard said...

I attended Annunciation Church and School in from 1958 through 1965. Learned Latin and sang in the Choir. Attended school through the 8th grade. Wish I could find my childhood friend Rebecca. She used to play the organ and I would sit with her in the choir loft when she practiced. Went to Central for high school.
.

mawellsheard said...

@Linda Sue We may know each other. I remember the mean nuns too.