I was able to peek inside this one (there was a wedding rehearsal going on), but I wished I hadn't. As you may be able to tell from the picture above, the windows are covered in steel grating. The inside is a cheaply sheetrocked and carpeted box, with no fixed seating, no sanctuary, no natural light (from the peek in from the front door that I made) and no indication that this is a church of any kind, much less a pre-conciliar Catholic church. Behind the church is the old parish school, which, judging from the architecture, was thrown up for bottom dollar in the late 1950s or 1960s.
Other than the fact that this parish was merged into Queen of Peace (a fact that is unconfirmed) I know nothing of this church. So I ask again, When did it close? Any special reason why (or just the combination of shifting demographics and failed leadership in maintaining vocations and evangelizing the newcomers)? It seems to me that the neighborhood is mostly Hispanic. What does that say than a Catholic church can't be kept open in an Hispanic neighborhood? So much for a big-budget "Hispanic ministry." Any special history here?
This is yet another church I've posted that was built in the 1920s. What do people know about that era in Kansas City? Why were so many churches built in that time? Why are they all closed now? Please chime in!
UPDATE FEBRUARY 16, 2006
Armed with This Far by Faith, I wade back into the subject of Holy Trinity. Enclosed is a fine photograph, taken by Dorothy Marra, of one of the better bits of the interior as it was shortly before it closed. You can see the fine stencilling by Dante Cosentino, the stained glass, and stations of the Cross in this shot (I make no comment on the pews, which are not original). Mrs. Marra spent a lot of time photographing this church, and there are details of windows and other features in the color plates of volume 1.
Holy Trinity parish was founded in 1889, and the original church at 7th and Cyrpress burned down twice. In August 1925 ground was broken for the present church, and in August 1926, the church was completed, at a cost of over $90,000.
The balance and harmony of the interior was, in the words of Bishop Lillis, "heaven." Two Carrara marble statues stood in the facade alcoves (now obscured by "The Rock's" sign), and the high altar was "frescoed in ivory and gold with numerous spires, was set in a canctuary apse which was painted and decorated in purple, green and gold. The rest of the description sounds, well, like something that couldn't afford to be built by the wealthier congregations these days, much less a parish with no more than 175 families at the time of construction, none of which were wealthy. Those 175 families managed to pay off the construction debt within seven years of completion. A great tribute should be paid to pastor Monsignor James Joseph Keegan, pastor from 1918 through 1958 for seeing a humble parish in an unremarkable part of town grow and prosper. Msgr. Keegan died in 1964. God is merciful for calling him home before he could see what was about to happen . . . . . . .
......What was about to happen? I can't paraphrase what happened without doing an injustice to the official historian; I shall have to quote the book directly, on page 170 of Volume II:
In the 1960s, after the liturgical reforms of Vatican Council II had taken effect, the high altar was removed from the church. A simple altar, in the shape of a table and made of Missouri marble, was placed to the front of the sanctuary. The communion rail and the oak pulpit were removed. Where the former altar had stood, two steps led up to a small marble altar, on which the tabernacle was placed.
Before the renovation the walls of the nave had sections of ornately patterned wallpaper which extended from floor to ceiling. There were two side planels which framed the doorways leading to the sacristy and the room where church furnishings were kept. There was one large papered panel in the middle, mostly behind the altar. The two side panels were replaced with a goldish-brown flocked wallpaper and the middle panel was replaced with a large curtain. A wooden crucifix was hung from the top of the curtain and brass candleholders were placed on the small table on each side of the tabernacle.
The two side altars of the Blessed Virgin and Sacred Heart were also changed. The altars were removed and the ornate wallpaper was replaced with the same wallpaper as was used in the nave. The statues were placed on simple platforms which extended out from the wall. The statue of St. Anthony was moved from the nave to the fall wall in the area of the Sacred Heart. The statue of St. Therese was moved to the rear of the church near the baptismal font.
Due to serious deterioration the walls of the nave had to be changed. Cosentino's stenciling which had framed the windows, along with an eye-level trim around the body of the church were painted over with harmonious hues of pink and mauve. These were the only things removed from the church which had been painted by the artist. The old darkened pews were replaced by light colored ones and a carpet was laid.
I guess Bishop Lillis's idea of "heaven" was substantially different that Bishop Helmsing's, for it was during his watch that the above took place.
And the point of renovations, let's guess how the parish history went, shall we?
- In 1970, the school closed and the kiddos were shipped off to Northeast Catholic Consolidated School. The school was sold off to the KCMO parks department in 1973.
- Beginning in 1972, Bishop Helmsing subject the parish to "an experimental approach to parish ministry" which included sharing priests with three parishes and putting an RSM sister in charge of Religious Education (shudder).
- In 1976, the first Parish Council was elected and an evangelization effort was begun in 1979. In 1982, a "strong religious education program was developed." These initiatives apparently worked. People must have stopped sinning, taken heed of Humanae Vitae, and started breeding because "in the 1980s, the confessional on the south side of the church was removed and a new space was created for the new baptismal font..."
- Unfortunately, there was a sudden, unexplained downturn, and despite a two-decade-long New Springtime at Holy Trinity, and despite the great successes of the new RSM-led religious education program and the priestly and religious vocations the Mercy Sisters undoubtedly fostered, the parish was suppressed in February 1991. The crowds were shipped off to the new Queen of Peace parish at the old St. Stephen's plant, and the church eventually found its way into the hands of the folks now bringing you The Rock of Kansas City.