St. Mary's Assumption Catholic Church
St. Mary's Assumption Church was built in 1858 to serve the spiritual needs of the growing German immigrant population of the 1840's. The stunning Baroque style architecture makes this church a focal point of New Orleans. This unique architecture allowed St. Mary's Assumption to claim a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. St. Mary's Assumption also houses the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Seelos, the Seelos Welcome Center, and the Seelos Museum.
Backstory and Context
New Orleans, Louisiana saw a large wave of German, Irish, and French-Speaking immigrants in the 1840’s. In 1842, Bishop Antoine Blanc considered the arrival of German-speaking Redemptorist Father Peter Czackert to be heaven sent. Bishop Blanc requested that Father Czackert stay and minister congregation and he agreed. Worship began at Kaiser Hall, which was a dance hall that was converted into a chapel every Sunday morning. Soon after, plans to make a temporary church were made. Right before construction on the church was about to take place, Father Czackert was called away. The building of the foundation of the new church was left in the hands of Father Joseph Kundek. The construction of the frame began on Josephine Street. The church was named St. Mary’s Assumption. The original church was replaced by the current church building in 1860.
A main feature of St. Mary’s Assumption is the National Shrine to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. Blessed Francis Seelos was a German-born priest who came to New Orleans to help render aid during the yellow fever epidemic in 1866. After his death in 1867 due to yellow fever, he was honored with a shrine at St. Mary’s Assumption. Located behind the High Altar there is also the Seelos Museum. The Seelos welcome center is located next to the church. St. Mary’s Assumption Church was recognized as a historical landmark in 1974 due to its beautiful German Baroque Revival architecture.
"A Brief History of St. Alphonsus Parish." St. Accessed December 21, 2016. http://stalphonsusno.com/our-parish/history-of-the-parish.
Goeldner, Paul. "St. Mary's Assumption Church." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places. August 12, 1971. https://focus.nps.gov/GetAsset?assetID=6b26685a-5e38-4c99-aa4b-e8642f6e523a.
"History." Seelos Shrine. Accessed December 21, 2016. http://www.seelos.org/shrineAssumption1.html.
Francis Xavier Seelos Shrine & St. Mary’s Assumption Church, Pilgrim-Info. Accessed August 13th 2020. https://www.pilgrim-info.com/seelos-shrine-st-marys-assumption-church/.
St. Mary's Assumption Church, National Historic Landmarks Program. Accessed August 13th 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20110308015004/http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1103&ResourceType=Building.
Borges, Ventola, Miller, Patrica, Courtney, Byron. St. Mary’s Assumption Catholic Church, New Orleans Historical. Accessed August 13th 2020. https://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/265.