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)
Culiel Sacero
Operis Faciendi Laridem Aussilialem
Rite Ditatum Manu
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!


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.


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.

Anonymous said...

The church is now owned by The Hope Center. 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.

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.

Unknown said...

Our company Ecclesiastical Studios and Sons of Greenwood, Mo restored Risen Christ in 94 shortly before the bishop closed the parish in 95. It was a sad day in Kansas City when this church closed. Alex Wendt ESS

Unknown said...

Hello again, I'm anonymous from 2013, Maureen Thompson. I lived over on Montgall. Our Nuns wee BVM's (Blessed Virgin Mary Order)and I don't remember any unkind or mean ones, maybe because my father was stricter than they were. I do remember I won the drawing to crown the Virgin in May and the nuns pinned down the dress sleeves because my full (skinny) arms were showing. Still, a part of the best education I received and fond memories. It was a 6 flat -

mbee said...

I have a beautiful black and white photo of kids (and my mother) standing in front of the church on May 17, 1936. Msgr. Tierney is standing with the kids, as is Father Healy and Fr. McGrene. How do I post a photo on this site?

Anonymous said...

Hello, in 1967 or 1968 I was a summer volunteer at Annunciation. We ran a Bible school and generally helped around the parish. I remember the pastor, kind and gentle Monsignor Moser and his dynamic assistant pastor Father Dan Howe, who later left the priesthood and married the Vista volunteer with a French name I don't recall. Wonderful people, all of them, dedicated and devoted. Susan

Sharon said...

I attended Annuciation school and church from 1955 to 1963
Altbough I didn't know it ten, I was fortunate enough to re ieve a great exucatipn from the BVM's. I remember Monsgr. Moser, the Strobel's, Bustamante's, and Mendenhall's. I then went to Bishop Lillis on KCMo. As with others I learned latin and sa ng in the chior and loved it. Evev as a child I recall thinking it was a beautiful church. Fond memories

Sharon said...

I attended Annuciation school and church from 1955 to 1963
Altbough I didn't know it ten, I was fortunate enough to exucatipn from te BVM's. I remember Monsgr. Moser, the Strobel's, Bustamante's, and Mendenhall's. I then went to Bishop Lillis on KCMo. As with others I learned latin and sa ng in the chior and loved it. Evev as a child I recall thinking it was a beautiful church. Fond memories

Sorry about mistakes, can't get keyboatd to work.

Ronald Gregory Raithel said...

Family moved to 3410 Chestnut in July 1950 and I started 2nd grade at Annunciation School housed in an apartment building that was probably built around the same era as our home (1902). I 1955 our building was probably condemned and we attended St. Vincent's at Lindwood (31st st) & Paseo for months while new school was constructed. When we returned the enviroment was totally different and there were many adjustments: no creaking flooring for example. Also,there was no 8th grade to be offered the following year and some of us went directly into H.S. via the recommendation of the Hierarchy. Basically, I was cast adrift and soon encountered the "real world": No 8th grade: no H.S. math, only General Science etc. My memories of Annunciation and the neighborhood until late 1956, are precious to me. My last class numbered 12 : Leroy Hines and Jim Hillen were my best friends. Julia Franzan was also but my girlfriends were Carol Stanley and Charlotte Cleveland. Marva Johnson, Robert Olson, the Boyd Brothers and Dan Dohlehery and others. Hope someone from that class or others contact me. R.G. Raithel

Bernie said...

I attended Annunciation school in the apartment building next or near to the church. I was in the first grade. I liked my religious sister who taught us how to read and I can still remember a whole lot about that year. THE DATE OF MY FIRST HOLY COMMUNION WAS WRITTEN BY MY TEACHER ON OUR LONG RECTANGULAR CLASS FIRST COMMUNION PHOTO.THE DATE WAS MAY 13,1951. GOD WAS SO GOOD TO ME THEN, AS HE IS NOW,JUNE 10,2018 SUNDAY. THAT DATE WAS MY BROTHERS BIRTHDAY,MOTHERS DAY,OUR LADY OF FATIMA'S FEAST DAY,AND WE SHOULD ALL KNOW WHAT THAT DAY MEANT TO ST. POPE JOHN PAUL ll.

Unknown said...

Any photos,illustrations or sketches of the 14th and Wyoming Church exist? Did the neighborhood have a name prior to 1898?

Unknown said...

My family started attending Annunciation Catholic church late 1964. The pastors were Msgr Victor Moser, father Roter,and father Howe. I remember the head nunn sister Mary Margaret. My older sister was married there in June 1967. My brother and I were alter boys there and I attended Summer Bible school. I have many good memories there.

D Gill said...

A friend sent me a clearer picture of the stone inscription than what is shown on this post. The transcription contained in the post is a bit off. Also, the Latin has several spelling errors. I can't say how the errors got there.

The stone reads (letters hard to make out are in brackets):
Deo / trino et uno / tit BVM De Annunciatione / Culiel Sacerd / Fecit / Operis Faciendi Laridem Ausdicialem / Rite Di[s]atum Manu / Inje[s]it / Pontifex Joanis / VID Octob AD MCMIII

The Latin should be (abbreviations/omissions indicated with brackets):
Deo / trino et uni / [sub] tit[ulo] BVM de Annuntiatione / Guliel[mus] Sacerd[os] / Fecit / Operis Faciendi Lapidem Auspicialem / Rite Dicatum Manu / Injecit / Pontifex Joannes / VI D[ie] Octob[ris] AD MCMIII

To [the honor of] God [who is] three and one, [under] the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Annunciation, the priest William made this work, and having been properly dedicated, the Bishop John laid the first stone by his own hand on 6 October AD 1903.