Greetings from St. Columban Catholic Church

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Feature C-T Article by Laura Schuler

Photos: Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc.

St. Columban Catholic Church is one of the oldest and most historic parishes in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Founded in 1857 by Fr. John Hogan, it soon became the hub from which many of the other surrounding parishes in north and north-central Missouri were later established.

The current church was consecrated on November 23rd, 1879. By 1900, the church was expanded to contain its transepts and apse. By 1913 side altars and murals were added.

Once completed St. Columban's was considered one of the largest and most beautiful churches in northern Missouri.

The parish will celebrate its 160th anniversary in 2017.


Over the decades the parish interior has undergone many changes in design. While still overall beautiful by comparison, the current design of the church does not live up to the potential the building was originally meant to have. The state of the interior has further been confounded by years' worth of water damage to the ceiling and walls. In 2014, the parish completed a replacement of the roof which had been a primary contributor to the problems inside. Though this important step was taken, the effects of the damage already done are still evident in the cracked paint and damaged plaster walls which are prevalent throughout the church.

New Roof in 2014 Water Damage 2016

I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband... It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. (Rev. 1:2,11)

This vision recorded by St. John the Apostle is symbolic of the Church on earth, which is the new Jerusalem. This passage from scripture raises our minds to consider that just as the earthly Jerusalem held the Temple and God's presence within, so our churches also contain God's Eucharistic presence in the tabernacle. They are meant to be a little piece of heaven come down to earth.

Thus our church's architect, Br. Adrian Wewer, incorporated both new and old elements of gothic architecture into its interior. Its pointed arches and high ceilings intentionally are meant to draw the eyes upward to contemplate heavenly  realities. The many images of the saints present in the church remind us to follow the example of these holy ones and ask their prayers for us so that we too may one day be in heaven with God and them.

With an appreciation in mind for the lofty ideal the church interior is meant to inspire, efforts have been made to restore some of the beauty and sacredness that has been lost over the decades. The new design scheme proposed is heavily informed by the churchs interior design at its height in 1913 while still incorporating some new elements. As such it pays fitting tribute to the vision of Br. Adrian and our ancestors whose hands piously raised this parish church to be a radiant testimony on earth to the splendor of God above.

The planned restoration includes: Plaster Restoration, Painting, and Decorative Painting.


Numerous repairs to the current state of the walls and ceiling will be among the first steps taken. In an effort to help prevent any future damage from the exterior, present an ideal surface to work on, and add longevity to the decorative work fiberglass polymer will be added to the interior surface of the walls and ceiling after repairs have been made and before paint is applied. The proposed design scheme uses a pallet of neutral colors on the walls and ceiling in order to let the natural lines and architecture of the building become prominent to the eye. Historically-informed stencils of gold, green and red will highlight many of the arches and corners culminating in floral motifs. Two murals painted in 1913 by Theodore Brash will be cleaned and restored to their former beauty. The many tall columns of the church typical of Gothic architecture will be painted to resemble marble. Once again the historic altar rail will be re-positioned to a place of use at the opening of the sanctuary demarcating this Holy of Holies and accommodating those who wish to receive Holy Communion while kneeling in reverence.

With your prayers and financial support, the restoration and maintenance of our beautiful church will further beautify and preserve our sacred space for generations to come. Donations may be mailed or brought to the church at St. Columban Catholic Church, 1111 Trenton Street, Chillicothe, MO  64601. Please make check payable to "St. Columban Campaign."

Online donations may be made here!
All contributions in the form of pledges should be paid by February, 2019.

Suggested donation amounts: $25  $50  $100  $250  $500  $1,000  $2,500  $5,000  $10,000  $Your Choosing

If you would like to make a donation using automatic withdrawal or have questions regarding the campaign, please contact the parish office at 660-646-0190. All donations are tax deductible by law and will be acknowledged in writing.

If you have signed up for online giving, the merchant listed on your bank or credit card statement will be Vanco, not St. Columban Church. Vanco Payment Solutions securely manages our electronic payment transactions.

Oh St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, we place in you all our interests and desires. Assist us by your powerful intercession and obtain for us from your Divine Son all the blessings necessary to successfully complete the restoration of this church. St. Columban our patron, obtain for us the same wisdom, faith and love of God by which you overcame the obstacles that beset your path. Help us to live lives which glorify God that when our pilgrimage is over, we may share with you and all the saints in the joy of our heavenly home.

>> Download our brochure here as a PDF file (approximate 7.0MB file).
Brochure by: Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc.

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St. Columban Catholic Church 1111 Trenton Street, Chillicothe, MO  64601
Phone: 660-646-0190

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