STEINAUER – When you walk in the doors of the beautiful St. Anthony’s Church in Steinauer, your jaw will drop. Fran Herrick, lifetime member of St. Anthony’s Parrish, who has been an organist at the church for almost 50 years, gave me a tour of St. Anthony’s and also told me a little bit about the history and renovation of the church.
The church building is Romanesque style architecture, evidence of that is all the arches that you see in the church. The stain glass windows are the church’s proud and joy. They are German styled and they were designed in the 1920s by a German artist in Illinois. A lot of the windows are very symbolic. A couple examples of that are the 12 windows up above, toward the ceiling of the church, and they are the windows of the 12 apostles. The seven windows at the front part of the church represent the seven sacraments in the Catholic faith.
The structure and the windows of the church are exactly the same as they were in 1926, but the church was having a lot of leaking and plaster problems about three years ago, and so they decided to do a total restoration! The pews were removed and sent to the prison in Tecumseh, where the inmates worked on them. Eileen Ratigan, an artist in Nebraska, re-painted all of the statues and all of the stations of the cross. Jean Criz, was the carpenter who restored a lot of the wood work.
The total cost of the restoration was $610,000. By the time the restoration was over, it was completely paid for!
The sanctuary of the church is the most beautiful part. The Last Supper on the main altar, was originally in the old high altar, which had been taken out in the 1960s and stored in the Catholic Church Museum in Table Rock. Up above the sanctuary is a very important Latin saying, “This is the house of God, and the gate to Heaven”.
St. Anthony’s Church wanted to restore some of the beauty that had been lost over the years. They did a wonderful job and definitely accomplished that. There are tours of the church available and you can call 402-869-2256 to schedule one.