Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fire at "the rock" church

The photo above is a striking shot from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, taken at the height of a 5 alarm fire at St. Alphonsus "Rock" Catholic Church last Thursday night. The 135-year-old church is a fixture on North Grand. I've attended mass here a couple of times, and I really feel for the congregation.

Given that the church is located in a sketchy part of north St. Louis, you wouldn't think that they would attract people from all over the metropolitan area, but their faith and dedication to their church really is inspiring. It is one of the largest African American churches in the area - but you don't notice that walking in, you notice their excitement and welcoming attitudes
towards everyone - white, black, visitor or not.

Mass at the rock is generally 2 hours long with a strong gospel choir, and passionate homilies. The kiss of peace lasts 20-30 minutes because everyone wants to shake hands (and/or hug) with everyone else.

They are going to rebuild, but say it may it may take awhile for it to be complete.

Please remember the St. Alphonsus "Rock" congregation in your thoughts and prayers.

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