Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Painted Churches of Texas I: St. Mary of the Assumption

Ecce quam et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum!

This past weekend a group of friends, His All Traddiness included, ventured down to something called Austin, TX, a town famous for drunk escapades on 6th street, Whole Foods, and for fifteen years the home of Rick Perry. Its rural surroundings—possibly the only hills in the barren state of Texas—quietly hold a treasure of delectable barbecues and painted churches.

Readers will recall J's post on St. Peter's, the "painted" church of Lindsay, TX. Painted churches are not an historical anomaly in central Texas, which saw a remarkable settlement of Slavic and German migrants from central and Eastern Europe. They built modestly sized parishes and furnished them in baroque fashion to the best of their ability. Statues and ornate reredros graze the sanctuaries, but when of the ceilings, walls, cornices, and other crevices that would be gilt and covered in 18th century masterpieces in the old world? These immigrants took brushes to the plain Texan wood and created something quite extraordinary in these little low Mass chapels.

The first church in this series is St. Mary of the Assumption in Flatonia, TX. The community dates to 1865, but the current edifice is a few decades newer. As with all the painted churches we saw, there is an adjacent cemetery; one would be baptized, married, communicated, and buried in the same tradition and among the same people, a contrast to our mobile society not lost on my cadre.

A side altar. St. Joseph has some grey streaks. The Infant of Prague reflect the Czech origin of the parish.

The high altar. The periodic statues of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart have aged very well
compared to others. Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Greek missionaries to Latin lands, are visible on
the Epistle side. The Paul VI forward altar matches the existing design of the church. We did
not notice it until getting closer.

The Baptismal font, capped by the Forerunner baptizing Our Lord in the Jordan, is preserved in
it original place and has withstood the Pacellian and Pauline novelties. The Bapistry is still
a gated, fenced area of this modestly sized church, which could hold perhaps 70 souls.

The parish doors look to be candidates for "renewal."

A perspective on just how modest the parish is. For an immigrant built built by a few dozen poor,
farming families they certainly accomplished something more attractive and lasting than
modern church architects or traditionalists have managed in recent times.

The pulpit has a sounding board to carry the echo.


  1. Beautiful. Wonderful. Such a contrast to the "Modern" ghastly creations.

    God Bless all the Parishioners, past and present.

  2. A rood screen (or at least a rood beam) would really make it sing.

    But otherwise, not bad at all. They did a lot with very limited resources here. Pleased to see there was no real wreckovation. I would be honored and pleased to worship in such a church.

  3. Fantastic, RT. And ABS loves using Epistle Side, Gospel Side, when telling others where ABS will be seated in a church.

    Such word usage doe not so much indicate men of a certain age but, rather, men of Tradition no matter what age.

    A real Tell is if the man you are speaking with knows why the Gospel was read on that side; if he knows why, he is a real Trad