The church of St. Patrick: A building without a steeple, by design


St. Patrick’s Church in York  celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1976. The base of a steeple to the right of the main entrance, background right, rises and then stops, not tall enough to be considered a true spire. But the church is OK with that. Also of interest: Hanover-area’s Conewago Chapel’s red-and-yellow umbrella awaiting first papal visit

Did you ever notice that the ornate and beautiful St. Pat’s in York does not have a steeple?

The church’s 200th anniversary book in 1976 handles the absence of a spire, pointing to the transcendence of God, this way:

‘What is a Church without a steeple? It may be a Church that is not finished. It may be a Church that remains on the ground, serving the people. It may be St. Patrick’s Church in York, Pennsylvania, which, in the last eighty years, has had more important things to do than build a steeple. In a sense St. Patrick’s Church is not finished. Just as St. Paul told us that we must continuously labor to build up the stature of Christ’s body, the Church; so the priests, religious and faithful people of St. Patrick’s are still building their Church.’

Did you know?
The cornerstone was laid in 1895, and the first mass in the Gothic building was celebrated in 1898. A cornerstone marking the first church bearing the name St. Patrick’s, dated 1810, is embedded in the north wall of the present church.

This lovely Last Supper sculpture in York sits in St. Mary’s chancel

St. Mary’s Church product of 19th-century York County language wars

Conewago Chapel mother church of Roman Catholics, west of Susquehanna River.

*Edited, 2/11/13

Photo courtesy York Daily Record/Sunday News

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Books & reading, Events, For photo fans, God & York County, Local landmarks, Unsung/obscure sites and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The church of St. Patrick: A building without a steeple, by design

  1. Anonymous says:

    vonderful!

  2. DBoothe says:

    It’s a beautiful church and I agree that I’m sure they’ve had lots more important things to do than build a steeple. The church is for the people in need…whether spiritual, financial or emotional. It will always be a work in progress, just like us.

  3. Betsy Baird says:

    WHAT drawing of the St. Pat’s Church? Nothing shows on this Blog.
    Although I went to St. Pat’s and to St. Mary’s Churches, and love the
    inside paintings and beautiful statues and layouts of each. And the
    paintings on the ceiling of St. Mary’s! Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    stay by all of us and pray to God for us. Amen.

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