Sunday, February 11, 2001

Church has renaissance


Mother of God parish thriving again

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — The inscription above the entrance of the church on West Sixth Street reads Mutter Gottes Kirche (Mother of God Church).

        Not too surprising since the church was built in 1870 by a German parish whose pastor was a native of Prussia.

[photo] Five murals above the altar were painted in 1890 by parishioner Johann Schmitt.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        Mother of God's parish quickly grew, adding a school in 1905 and increasing to 3,000 people by 1910.

        After World War II, parish families began a slow migration to the suburbs, and in 1962 the school was closed. By 1970, church membership had dropped under 200. The parish had to make a tough decision: tear the church down, or fix it up? Fortunately, parishioners voted to fix it up.

        Remodeling renewed in terest in the parish. The church now has more than 850 parishioners. And it is a Covington landmark, housing such ministries as the Parish Kitchen, Alcoholics Anonymous, prayer groups and organizations of divorced and separated Catholics, seniors, and singles.

        Its signature twin steeples have survived several brushes with disaster. In 1915, a tornado struck the church, damaging both towers. And in 1986, a storm ravaged the roof and dome. Six months later, workers repairing the roof accidentally started a fire, again severely damaging the steeples.

        Inside, five murals reach above the altar. They were painted in 1890 by parishioner Johann Schmitt, whose works also appear in the Vatican. Beautiful stained glass windows, imported from Bavaria, line the sides of the church. Above the choir loft is a magnificent organ made by Koehnken and Grimm, a Cincinnati firm; it was installed in 1876.

       Now and Then, a look at historic places in Northern Kentucky, appears Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer. To suggest a feature, call 578-5555.
       

       



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