St. Louis - Celtic Cross Monument

Clayton Man to Erect St. Louis' First Celtic High Cross

Special to the Irish American Post

Plans have been finalized to erect a Celtic High Cross at St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist Catholic Church at 15 Plaza Square in downtown St. Louis as a monument to the Irish who immigrated to the city in the 19th and 20th centuries and played a substantial role in building the community.

This is the culmination of an idea that Joe McGlynn, founder of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in St. Louis, has long sought to bring to fruition.

This monument to the legacy of the Irish in St. Louis has the endorsement of the local archdiocese. Archbishop Justin Rigali said, "This cross will evoke the great contribution of so many of the Irish people to the life of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I am pleased that their contribution will be highlighted and linked with the Cross of Christ itself, which is the sign of our Savior's victory over death and sin."

Fr. John J. Johnson, pastor, St. John, Apostle and Evangelist Parish, said, "As a parish, we are honored to be chosen to have this magnificent memorial on our parish grounds. We were for quite a while known as 'The Irish Parish'."

"During the first 50 American years in St. Louis, the city gave a warmer welcome to Irish Catholics than any place in the world, including Dublin itself," according to Fr. Barnaby Faherty, S.J., St. Louis' premiere historian. "The memory of these men and women, clergy and laity, who came to St. Louis to build a home for themselves, their neighbors, and their descendants deserves a memorial to keep alive the memory of their achievements."

This will be St. Louis' First Celtic High Cross. Early monks placed the circle symbol on the "Celtic" cross to help in their conversions of the pagans.

The 18-foot granite cross will have the "classic Irish" ring joining the vertical and horizontal arms of the cross, a stepped base, capstone and elaborate carvings of Celtic designs, including knotwork, labyrinths, key patterns, and spirals. In short, supporters indicate that it will be a Celtic Cross of "grand proportions and elaborate design, capturing the best of Ireland's munificence of these Celtic monuments."

The Celtic Cross will stand on the Plaza Square Concourse in front of the entry to the church of St. John, which fronts the Plaza Square Apartments. The cross itself will be surrounded by a reflecting pool with four fountains. At night, it will be illuminated.

Immediately to the west of the cross bordering the concourse is a low wall on which will be mounted the panels carved with the names of contributors who have underwritten the cost of this memorial. All donations to the Celtic Cross Fund are tax deductible.

The cost to have one's family name memorialized is only $350, which entitles the contributor to one line on a panel. Each line will contain space for 30 three-quarter-inch-high characters, including spaces between names (the contributor's family name) and punctuation. There will be 28 names on each panel.

For more information, call Tom Gorman at 314-727-3339 or thomasgorman@thomasgorman.com. Joe McGlynn can be reached at (314) 727-1000.

The Celtic Cross Monument was installed and dedicated on March 13, 2005. Sponsorship opportunities remain; if you would like to have your family name engraved on a granite panel, see the contribution page.