History of St. Albert the Great School and Parish
The original church and school was located at 5325 N Illinois St (Illinois 159). The first floor originally held all 8 grades. The church was held upstairs in the loft. The altar was from Bishop Zuroweste.
The Precious Blood nuns from Ruma provided the nuns. The first/second grade with Sr. Mary Constance was immediately to the right as you walked in. Sr. Lorene held classes for 5-8th grades to the left. The third and fourth grade with Sr. Luke was toward the back. In 1953 an addition was added on to the back where the second and third grades held classes. The second grade teacher at that time was Sr. Beatrice. In the third grade we had Mrs. Fisher. In the fourth grade we had Sr. Mary Arthur, but that was the year we moved to our new school. Excerpt from 20th year directory:
But now it is a VFW Hall 8677. Here is a page from Eric Marxer:
ST. ALBERT THE GREAT CHURCH
Erected in 1967
From old Internet pages Pictures courtesy of Amy Kinsella
Emphasis throughout is on the new life conferred on us by the resurrection of Christ. The baptismal font is a rough 7500 pound chunk of Grecian marble. The majority of it is purposely left unpolished to show nature in the raw - the fallen nature of unbaptized man. A portion of the top has been polished to show the new creature which emerges after baptism in the font of living water promised by Christ. A living vine growing behind the font reminds the people of their incorporation into Christ ("I am the vine").
The holy water fonts are placed at each entrance to remind us of the cleansing of our baptism. We bless ourselves with the holy water as a reminder that we are to live in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The symbol of a fish is on the door of each entrance because of its ancient symbol for Christ as savior. The Greek word for fish (ichthus) or the symbol of a fish was used at the time of the persecution of Christians to mark an entrance where Christians could gather safely.
The baldachino (light fixture above the altar) is the glorious crown of Christ the King as he reigns in heaven today. The small lights above make a complete circle when all overhead lights are on. The three circles beneath the crown is a symbol of the Triune God.
Suffering humanity is represented by 100 crosses of all shapes and sizes. These are interlaced with barbed wire to represent the suffering in ghettos and concentration camps.
Behind the altar is a twelve foot figure of Christ, our brother. He is not someone who lived and died 2000 years ago. He is living today - therefore, the crew cut and beard. His extended arms tell us to be patient. He continues to come to us in His word, thus the open Bible to the right of the figure. The Eucharist is symbolized by the burning bush surrounded by six candles representing the other sacraments.
The stained glass window was designed by Sr. M. Theresa A.S.C. In it is shown St. Albert, the Bishop, preaching to the people of God. He was a learned theologian hence the dove representing the Holy Spirit his divine inspiration. Beneath this is the open Bible. He is the patron of the natural sciences; therefore, a space satellite is included as well as a study of the rocks, hills, and mountains. The knowledge gained from natural science is shown as it applies in industry - the gears, cogs, and flames of the blast furnace. Nuclear fission is shown by the atom and molecule. St. Albert's was the first new parish created by Bishop Albert Zuroweste, hence the coat of arms.
Demolition of St. Albert's Church: Article in Belleville News Democrat:
Throwback Thursday: When the round church went flat (2005)
By Brad Weisenstein - News-Democrat
February 04, 2015 07:37 PM
UPDATED February 04, 2015 07:39 PM
There’s just something about a demolition.
We’re fascinated by the sights. We’re envious of the folks swinging the headache ball or pushing the detonator switch. This week we twice got to watch pieces of the old bridge over the Chain of Rocks Canal explode and drop into the water. Last week we saw the old Belleville Swimming Pool turn to rubble.
Who doesn’t love nostalgia mixed with crunching and booming?
The newspaper’s archives are filled with former city halls and former sporting venues and former schools all being turned to rubble to make way for progress. Two past episodes of Throwback Thursday covered the demolition of the old Busch Stadium and of the old St. Clair County Courthouse.
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So with visions of exploding bridges still dancing in our heads, today we throwback to 2005 and 2006, when "the round church" gave up its place at the heart of Fairview Heights to make way for a big retail development.
St. Albert the Great Church was distinctive, round instead of a rectangle and topped by a white dome. It sat right on the area’s busiest intersection, Illinois 159 and Highway 50 in Fairview Heights. The inside was just as impressive with a 1,500-pound sculpture of Jesus with short hair to symbolize a modern-day Christ. Behind the altar were 100 crosses representing different crosses through Christianity’s history. Hovering above the pews was a massive chandelier featuring a crown of thorns overlaid by a crown of Mary.
Parishioner Norm Geolat and his brother-in-law, Monsignor Clement Schindler, designed the church after visiting 14 others in the St. Louis area. The round design came from Priory in St. Louis County and the raised seating was copied from a Jewish synagogue.
Parishioner Joe Kinsella built it in 1966 for $650,000. It took 18 months for his company to complete, and he ranked it as his singular achievement as a builder.
His crews pounded 96 pylons 50 feet deep to form a base for the four large pillars that supported the church. The roof was about 3.5 inches thick and poured from 700 tons of concrete — a spectacle that drew folks to the then-farm community and even caused a few accidents.
The dome was topped with a white fiberglass lantern brought in by helicopter.
After 40 years of serving the faithful and students of the parish school, the congregation just couldn’t refuse the $8.25 million offered by St. Clair Square’s owners for their 7.5 acres. St. Albert the Great made way for The Shoppes at St. Clair Square.
Demolition began in December 2005 on the school and continued on the church through January 2006.
St. Albert and Our Lady of the Assumption had merged in 2003 to become Holy Trinity. They built a new school and church complex for $16 million to the north off Illinois 159.
The $16 million Shoppes at St. Clair Square opened in March 2007.
We await their eventual demolition to make way for?
Want to see more photos, that day’s newspaper and past episodes of Throwback Thursday? Visit us at bnd.com/tbt.
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