Holy Family , the parish church at 274 Orchard Street in Kansas City, Kansas, is a beautiful building, inside and out. I was in it a couple of years ago. It's not "grand" like so many churches built (and now closed) on the Missouri side during the same decade, but it's a great parish church. The doors were locked on St. Martin Luther King's day, when I took this picture.
The sanctuary is rather small, but intact (the altar steps were, I recall, altered by a newfangled altar and a handrail (presumably an understandable necessity for an elderly priest, and easily removed), but the high altar and the communion rail remain. I remember going up to the communion rail before the Blessed Sacrament during my brief visit, and noticing that a groove was worn in the stone step [update July 14: actually, it's wooden. Faulty memory] where I knelt. (How many Holy Communions would that take? Talk about patina! I noticed the same thing at Old St. Mary's (almost a century older) when Mrs. Curmudgeon and I went to low Mass in Washington DC, but didn't expect it here). Anyways, the nave is also narrow and lower, in proportion to its length, that one usually sees. The sacred fixtures and furnishings were nice, and the carpets, pews, and other non-essentials were just a touch shabby, as I recall [Update July 14: actually, they aren't shabby. The place is in great shape. Faulty memory again]. The overwhelming feeling I remember from being I was in this church was one of coziness. Every small parish should have a church like this.
I can't remember which ethnic group built this church, and I can't find that information online. Was this the Czech church? Anyways, hopefully someday I'll find a history, get some inside shots, and show you what I mean. [Update July 14: Slovenian]
UPDATE JANUARY 31:
Our friend Jovan fills in some of the gaps with some very interesting historical information. Apparently, this church was built during a little schism of sorts. Do click on the comments below.
UPDATE JULY 14:
Here are a few new photos. I took them some time ago, but as you know, I was too technically inept to get them posted until now. I'm still having trouble with maintaining aspect ratios. Forgive me if they're slightly distorted.
The light wasn't great, and I didn't have the skill or the tripod to do a really long exposure, so they're a tad grainy.
When I went inside, I was surprised. I'd forgotten how simple the sanctuary was (relative to, say, St. Anthony's.St. Mary's or St. Joseph/St. Benedict or Blessed Sacrament). Nonetheless, this is still, in my mind, the perfect little parish church.
Of course, Holy Family is presently subject to the "Pastoral Planning" church closing process. There's a good chance that the Meitler consultants and the chancery folks might convince the Archbishop to abolish the parish and sell the building to a protestant sect or turn it into a junkyard (as, you can see, the predecessor to the Missouri side bishop did to some of his parishes fifteen years ago). Do get in and see the church for yourself before they convince him to wipe them out.
If you haven't done so already, you should click on the comments below and read Jovan's input on this church. Below are bad shots of the portraits of the only two pastors this great little church has ever had. Saintly men, I gather. The first must have had, as his initial task, the healing of a little schism, and the second has continued to serve the parish and care for souls into his 90s.
I think the color--the contrast of the stone and brickwork, is really beautiful on this church, so I'm posting a color shot of the facade as well.
If I had Bill Gates' money, I'd spend it all by going through small towns and suburbs across America, looking for ugly spaceship churches, burning them down (with due care for the safety of the parishioners and the preservation of the Blessed Sacrament and (truly) sacred objects, of course), and rebuilding each one with a church on this plan.