It was a sunny day on Saturday and there was work being done on the continual restoration of the former German Roman Catholic parish of St. Liborius. I know many readers and former parishioners are upset about its current use as a skate park and arts center, but my continued opinion is that it is better to maintain and celebrate the architecture and beauty of the church than to let it crumble and collapse, as has happened to so many other beautiful beautiful buildings in St. Louis. I personally know the owners and they respect this.
And from a theological standpoint, it is not a church anymore. Remember, this building is now being protected for posterity.
Above is the beautiful stencil work in the north transept. The apse is below, as well as the still-preserved oil paintings attached to the walls above the arches.
And the south transept in also in good condition as well.
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Maybe the former parishioners who are upset about the current use of the church building should not have abandoned her in the first place.
The parishioners didn’t abandon the church, the Catholic Bishop of St. Louis did to save money. The Bishop at that time would have closed almost all of the cities old church’s to save a dime.
I’m afraid there may be another round coming up soon, as well.
I attended St. Liborius school for a few years in the mid-1960s and the classrooms were full. While I didn’t graduate from it, I was surprised when the school was closed in 1969 (that building is now the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center). The church closed in 1992, and there was a controversy before then when a pastor had installed an elevator in the three-story rectory, the parishioners thinking the money could have been better spent on keeping the church in tip-top shape. I believe the fix was in to close St. Liborius well before then, however, because way back in 1975 when a nearby church (St. Michael) was closed, the Archdiocese mentioned other surviving churches people could go to WITHOUT mentioning St. Liborius. And as Chris said, I believe the city will lose more Catholic churches in the next few years as the Archdiocese has begun to study how it can staff them with a declining number of priests.
Thank you for all your interesting insight from living in the neighborhood back in the 1960s. A lot of this knowledge has not been documented.
The four bells which were formerly in this tower were moved in 1994 to Assumption Catholic Church in Mattese, (south county), where they can be seen.