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St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church (St. Louis) facts for kids

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St. Alphonsus Liguori "Rock"
Catholic Church
Saint Alphonsus Liguori Church (St. Louis, MO) - exterior.jpg
Affiliation Roman Catholic Church
Leadership Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
Location 1118 N. Grand Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri
United States
Architect(s) Rev. Louis Dold, C.Ss.R.
Thomas Waryng Walsh (associate)
James Smith (associate)
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Completed 1872, 1893 (spire)
Direction of façade West
Spire height 237 feet (72 m)
Materials Stone

St. Alphonsus Liguori "Rock" Catholic Church is an historic, Black Catholic church in St. Louis, Missouri. The church is a Gothic Revival structure and has a towering steeple, flanking spires, and an assortment of stained glass.


In 1861 St. Louis Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick invited the Redemptorists, a missionary congregation that was founded by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri in 1732, to establish a permanent presence in the city of St. Louis. The community accepted the invitation and lived in temporary housing until 1866 when they bought 3.5 acres (1 ha) at Grand and Cook Avenues. Ground for the church was broken on May 1, 1867, and the cornerstone was laid on November 3 of the same year by the Rev. Joseph Melchers, the vicar general of the archdiocese. The church's Gothic Revival design is attributed to the Rev. Louis Dold, C.Ss.R., working with St. Louis architects Thomas Waryng Walsh and James Smith. Construction on the church continued until 1872 and Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan dedicated the church that year. The church's spire, which reaches 237 feet (72 m), was completed in 1893.

The first Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine in the church was blessed on December 7, 1873, during the first public triduum under her name. The church ceased being a mission church in 1881 when it became a parish of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, although it remained under the pastoral care of the Redemptorists. The Redemptorists' St. Louis Province was headquartered in the residence from its founding until the mid 20th-century.

There were two noteworthy visitors to the community in the 19th century. The year the property was bought in 1866 Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos visited while on a missionary preaching trip a year before his death. The Rev. Augustus Tolton, the first African-American Catholic priest, said Mass for the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the convent’s chapel in 1887.

The parish has grown over the years to become a predominantly African-American church in St. Louis.

The church was struck by lightning on August 16, 2007, sparking a fire that damaged the roof and leading to water damage when the fire was put out. Repairs commenced in fall 2007, and the church reopened in Spring 2009.

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